• African American Women of Faith, Part 3

    Posted on September 12th, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments

    A Voice for the Voiceless: African American Women of Faith

    Part 3: Octavia Rogers Albert: Weeping with Those Who Weep

     

    Note: Taken from Sacred Friendships: Celebrating the Legacy of Women Heroes of the Faith. For more information on this book, please visit: http://bit.ly/YmaM1

     

    Note: For part one of this blog mini-series, please visit: http://bit.ly/T7Zas  and for part two, please visit: http://bit.ly/14aWH6

     

    Weeping with Those Who Weep

     

    Listening without feeling is rather worthless. Octavia Albert combines both as she ministers to Charlotte Brooks.

     

    “Poor Charlotte Brooks! I can never forget how her eyes were filled with tears when she would speak of all her children: ‘Gone, and no one to care for me!’”

     

    Octavia then weeps with Charlotte as she weeps.

     

    “I must say that she caused tears to flow from my eyes many a day while relating her hardships.”

     

    Octavia teaches us that it is not enough to listen (as foundational as that is); it is not enough to feel for another; we also must communicate our compassion.

     

    Octavia does so not only via her shed tears, but also through her expressed commiseration.

     

    “Aunt Charlotte, my heart throbs with sympathy, and my eyes are filled with tears, whenever I hear you tell of the trials of yourself and others. I’ve read and heard very often of the hard punishments of the slaves in the South; but the half was never told.”

     

    Charlotte’s response indicates that Octavia has heard her accurately.

     

    “No, half of it aint been told. I could sit right here and tell you the trials and tribulations I have had to go through with my three marsters here in Louisiana, and it would be dark before I got half through with my own; but if I tried to tell of the sorrows of others, what I have seen here in Louisiana since I have been here, it would take me all the week, I reckon.”

     

    Imagine Aunt Charlotte not thinking that anyone would ever want to listen, but Jesus. Thinking no one would ever care, no one would ever record her words, much less hear them. Then having this college-educated pastor’s wife weeping with her. Identifying with her.

     

    The Rest of the Story

     

    For the rest of the story, please return to this blog for part four . . .

     

    Note: Readers can enjoy the empowering narratives of over two-dozen African American women (and scores of African American men) narrated in Kellemen and Edwards, Beyond the Suffering. For more information, please visit: http://bit.ly/XvsTu

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