“I am half agony, half hope”: The power of women to create amidst pain
Last month, I spent a week in England with my best friends. While shopping in Bath, one of them rushed over to me with a necklace in her hand and a serious look in her eyes, “I found it. I found the perfect thing for you.” As I picked up the golden bronze dowel hung which on a delicate chain I read the words that had been stamped on:
“I am half agony, half hope.”
I took a sharp breath. You know when you are verbally processing with a close friend, and emotions and words are spilling out of you so fast you can’t keep up, and then your friend says something that perfectly captures what you are trying to say? This necklace just summed up my soul. I felt the gravity of the words hit my chest, and I wondered at how a phrase penned over 200 years ago could find its way to me at the perfect time.
“That is you, friend. That is perfectly you.”
Dear Ones, I’ve had a hard time finding that hope recently. Over this last month, my heart seemed only to beat agony. Between Kavanaugh, Trump, “Christianity” in America, and the recent shooting in Pittsburg, it feels hopeless. Women have been running towards a light at the end of a tunnel, but we’re being tripped again and again. And though we pick ourselves up, the light now seems so much further away.
Behind me is darkness, before me is dim, and I am tired and bruised. Some days it seems there is little reason to keep running.
Women have been in a cycle of re-traumatizing events over the last 2 years. We speak up, share our pain, and we are shot down and ridiculed as we stumble to floor. It’s exhausting and it’s agony. It gets harder and harder to pick ourselves up.
Sitting in my agony I think, “how can we keep going in the midst of this pain? How can we move forward when we’re still healing?”
So I took a breath and gave myself permission to rest.
And then my heart remembered- women have always been able to hold both agony and hope.
Sisters, suffering has never stopped women.
Women are, perhaps divinely, able to bear suffering and continue on.
Our vey DNA, literally our biology, allows us to bring the hope of new life into this world. I’m amazed by the power of women to push through the pain of childbirth, never succumbing to agony in their efforts to bless the world with a precious life. Our femalehood allows us to experience very real pain, without being immobilized and without giving up. We labor and we create.
Women are not trapped by pain.
Women are not chained by despair.
Women create amidst agony.
Women are half agony, half hope.
When despair threatens to darken our hope, may our souls remember the eons of women who have labored in suffering and have brought new hope into this world. May our hearts remember Mary, the embodiment of our universal call to bring our divinely inspired creation to life. Let us find hope in the work of the women who came before us: Alice Paul, Ida B. Wells, Millicent Garrett Fawcett, Malala Yousafzai, and countless others who’ve experience the agony of bringing progress. And let us remember Mother Nature, who even in the dead of winter busies herself preparing for the creation of spring.
We are allowed to feel the strain of the last two years. Our deepest wounds have been poked and prodded by cold and unfeeling hands. But we will not allow it to overcome us. In the midst of pain, we can and we will continue to birth a movement.
Go ahead and ridicule us
Continue to make jokes
Don’t believe survivors
Don’t believe women
Vote how you want
You won’t slow us down. We know how to create in the midst of our most painful moments. We know how to strike back while picking ourselves off the floor.
Have hope, sisters and brothers, women have been creating for millennia.