-Pastor Melissa Fain-
Yesterday, I watched season 5, episode 6 of the Handmaid’s Tale titled: “Together.” There will be spoilers, so there's your warning.
I was late on the “Handmaid’s Tale” bandwagon. Some of that was our watching habits. Our family doesn’t get all the streaming services. We rotate, and we didn’t start doing that until a couple of years ago. We were Netflix all the way. This meant I missed some great programming. Now I see most of it; it just might be late. Right now, though, we have Hulu, so I’m watching “Handmaid’s Tale” as it drops.
Before yesterday’s episode, it felt like the story was about everything happening to our main character: June. Something changed yesterday. Sure, the world is still out to get her, but now her role has changed.
Moving from wounded to healer:
Every victim has a moment. They can either choose to heal or stay broken.
Those who choose to stay broken often become our future’s abusers. This is why it becomes all the more important to deal with abuse when it happens, because (as I often write and say) brokenness breaks: always.
Those that choose to heal are the ones that can help others through the process. Let me just say, it is not required for those who deal with their trauma in a healthy way to become healers for others. No one is asking that of you. I am going to say, those who have walked through it, can explain what’s going on in a way that those who haven’t, can’t.
It’s this caution I have about religious leaders. So many are so bright and shiny. There’s this disconnect when real trauma hits. Maybe they know the right codewords, but people dealing with trauma can tell right away if they understand the words they are speaking. (Then there’s the ones who don’t know the right words, and cause more damage, but that’s a post for another day.)
June became a wounded healer in episode six. Before it was just the world against her. Now, the world is coming to her for help. She had a choice. She could tell Luke to rage against the world. She could break Serena like Serena broke her. Those were choices she would have made in the past. Instead, she tells Luke to always find hope in the darkness. Instead, she tells Serena, “May our children make better choices than we did.” In her brokenness she could have further broken two individuals. Instead, in her moment she had the opportunity to either break further, or move beyond it. In the darkest places, she chose to move beyond it.
That’s what most ministers don’t realize when they talk about hope. No one can see hope when the sun is shining, and the world is all lollipops and rainbows. It’s too bright. Hope is seen when the world is falling apart, and it seems like the future is a futile wasteland. It’s the widow taking a light to find the lost coin in the darkness. It’s the wounded choosing to want more for the future than what they themselves had. It’s June, choosing to pray for peace.