Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Last Sin Eaters Maiden

The Actress Gabrielle Fitzpatrick, who played
Bletsung McLeod

I have a dream, though. A dream to to be a Proverbs 31 Woman. A dream inspired by a movie which is seemingly irrelevent to being an ezer. If you have seen The Last Sin Eater, then I think, perhaps, you'll know who and what I am referring to in that movie. Just to be extra clear, I will explain this a little further.
In the movie The Last Sin Eater, which was originally a book written by Francine Rivers, there is a maiden whose name is Bletsung McLeod. She is a hermitess, or so to speak, due to the unusual circumstances of her life story.
Her life story goes something along the lines of this:
Bletsung McLeod lived with her abusive father. She found a safe friend, and the masculine leadership she needed in her child-hood guy-friend, Sim.
As Sim and Bletsung grew they found they met each others needs in emotional, psychological, mental and spiritual ways, and so their relationship became that of a sweetly tender romance.
Being first generation immigrants from Scotland to America, there was a great deal of superstition and past sins which hurt more than just their families and clan. The immigrant leader, along with the help of the other clan men, annihilated an entire tribe of Natives to the Appalachian mountains. Desiring to hide his sin and the true reason for destroying the tribe of Indians (which was simply because he did not want to share the resources of the land, and not because the Natives were dangerous, as he claimed) the clan leader took a pole with chicken bones to declare a new "Sin Eater," which was a superstitious practice brought over from Scotland.(The pole was very similar to "whoever draws the shortest stick gets to do the yucky job")

The Sin Eater was chosen, and Bletsung McLeod, from that day forward lived a life of singleness as a hermitess. She was ridiculed and scrutinized because she was relational with the Sin Eater and extended her knowledge of herbal medicine - the outcome was being called a "witch," despite the simple fact that she was no witch, nor sorceress, but a good steward of the resources God had given her for that time in her life - good soil, plenty of water and herbs.

She did not have a faith in God as a father, nor did she have knowledge of Christ. But she sought Truth, and then accepted it with open arms when it was offered to her.

Looking at the character of Bletsung McLeod, one can see many desirable qualities, as young women, as maidens and as ladies desiring to be ezer's and Proverbs 31 women.

Firstly, which is my favorite, Bletsung is Fearlessly Feminine. She wears a dress all the time. Now, this was the right and proper thing to do, especially in the early to mid 1700's. Unlike her peers, although they were worn out from bearing many children, losing several children through death (as was common in that day and age) and providing for their sometimes heathen husbands, Bletsung dressed as a lady. The movie portrays her as being an incredible seamstress (although not stated directly, she would have no one else to sew her clothing for her, she's an outcast after all). Her taste in fashion is portrayed as mastery in excellence. The design of her dress, color and style are simply breathtaking and modest! (I would take one of her dresses any day!).

And her hair! Oh my goodness! Yes, it is true, the actress of the movie is a natural beauty, I must say (many in this movie are, naturally beautiful in an innocent and pure way). I am basing this aspect strictly on the movie (as I have not read the book and have been told by several people that the movie is much better), Bletsung lets her hair run free with the wind. Although I would not suggest curling your hair for every day activity (as I believe the actress did to her bangs), I do hold high regard and respect for those who take the time to fix their hair in an attractive way and take care of it properly (conditioning it when necessary, trimming it when you need it etc., and in a "fixing it up" way, styling in it such a way as to keep it out of and enhances your face, everyone wants to see your beautiful eyes and bright smile! Hair is beautiful, but sometimes it is overwhelming and hides one's facial features, making it hard to converse and takes away from Paul's teaching that a woman's hair is "her glory," not place to hide :)

Although I don't think either dress or her hair was practical, having worked on outside building projects in Appalachia for a week in the middle of Summer, I do think Bletsung McLeod is a wonderful example of what feminine modesty is in a fashion sense.

Secondly, the woman was a good steward. She had skill and worked to enhance those skills. She lived off the land and provided for herself - no one else would and she had no family.
She studied botany and was an herbalist. It shows in the movie and talks a bit about in the book Bletsung tending her garden and working with wild bees for honey.

She obviously used herbs for healing, as she prepares naturally based medicines (she had nothing else) to tend to a boy with broken ribs and other serious injuries - he heals beautifully. (Read the Epilogue of the book)

In her knowledge of botany and allowing her maternal instincts to shine through, instead of stuffing them inside, or exchanging them for "toughness" as so many woman in our culture, Bletsung McLeod was used as a tool to bring physical healing to a character in the story, bring emotional healing and companionship to a persecuted outlaw of the cove (or clan) and was capable of inviting redemption and personal healing to herself.
Bletsung mastered the art of natural living and found contentment in this simple-lifestyle; and so she had truly conquered the concept and state of being an "Earth Mother."

Thirdly, which is perhaps one of the most beautiful and incredible aspects of her role, Bletsung McLeod was a true, marked ezer. She wasn't a Christian, but she knew her place in the world as a whole, and then also in society. She was unafraid and openly identified herself as a lady, helper, friend and nurturer.

She befriended her seemingly "worst enemy" - the Sin Eater. (Who, according to the superstition, was unable to touch or be seen by anyone, otherwise that person would too take on the sins of the world. As I said, this is a perfectly family-friendly film about an entire Celtic clan's redemption, forgiveness - of one another and the past generation - for themselves, and then basking in the love of the Lord)
The sweet romance she had with Sim as a young woman, had died. In it's place an unquenching, deep and definite love resounded between the two characters.

They could not have "romance" in the worlds standards, and certainly could not have a "passionate 'I'm in love'" twitter painted infatuation that comes over many young people during puberty and young adulthood. (Which has taken the place of the love Paul talks about when he tells husbands to "love your wives as Christ Loves the Church." This is an Agape, or Caritas and Eros, or "I love you because you are you" love, as C.S Lewis puts it. This is very different from a "Venus," or sexual love.)

As the movie progresses, it becomes more and more apparent that Bletsung and her friend share an Eros love for one another. A love that expresses "you are who you are, and I love you because of that." This is intertwined with an Agape (or in Greek, Caritas) love.
Bletsung tells her love to his face;
"If I cannot be your wife, and bear your children,
then I will be no mans..."

She is unshakably committed to this lion-hearted man, dispite his complete inability to care for her as a man ought care for his woman.
They cannot touch each other.
They cannot look at each other.
They can only speak to one another - communicate through words, share a mutual love in verbage and share dreams using limited language.
How pure their love must have been when Bletsung "became his wife" and "bore his children"

How special their relationship must have been; how deep their loyalty to one another when, after years of waiting, life-altering hardship, and the extremities of the world pressed down on them, they share an intimately romantic life. Not only intimate in the physical sense (as defined by so many), but also in the emotional, intellectual, spiritual and mental sense.

She may not have been able to be close to the man she deeply loved physically, but she waged war for him by being his help meet and loving him for who he was - with Eros love, and in doing so she was even closer than any two sexually involved lovers could ever be, they knew each others' heart. For providing for herself and telling him she cared enough about him, despite what the word said, to wait for him.

In the end, her loyalty, faithfulness and commitment to be courageously feminine, an excellent steward and passionately committed to the man she loved paid off, despite the world telling her "she couldn't do it," "he's not good enough," "you deserve better," "you act as a witch," and "why don't you just give up..."
You can be a Proverbs 31 woman too!
It takes just one small step at a time.
What step is God asking you to take?

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