Drs. Terry Ann Smith and Raynard Smith published in “Sacred Spaces”
September 28, 2017
The Mourning After: Leah, Loss, and Depression in Genesis 29
Terry Ann Smith, Ph.D.
Raynard D. Smith, Ph.D.
The family dynamics attending the story of Leah and Rachel in Genesis 29 particularly as they relate to Leah’s naming of her children (i.e. Reuben associated with affliction, Simeon associated with hatred, etc.) suggest that Leah maybe suffering from a mild but chronic form of depression called dysthymia, the result of her inability to win the object of her affection, Jacob. Leah’s story when read together with the rising rate of depression among women in general, and single African American women in particular, suggests the need for a heightened conversation within Black churches regarding circumstances, symptom,s and self-care for those dealing with this type of suffering. The pastoral implications suggest the need for engendering hope and healing when ministering to women who suffer from this malady of the soul in silence.
Sacred Spaces: The E-Journal of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, Volume 9 (2017)
This volume of Sacred Spaces, we are pleased to present a collection of wide-ranging essays that focus on the fruitful and transformative intersections between biblical interpretation and pastoral care. Whether singly or jointly authored, these essays model a dynamic, interactive reading of human situations and biblical texts in order to reveal the multivalent complexities of both. Drawing upon texts throughout the Bible and diverse psychological theories, the authors bridge the long-standing divide between the ‘classical’ and ‘practical’ disciplines.
Terry Ann Smith and Raynard Smith read the story of matriarch Leah in Genesis 29 as an example of a mild form of persistent depression called dysthymia. Because Leah cannot obtain the object of her affection (Jacob) her story may resonate with many single African American women who cannot obtain the object of their desire – marriage to a Black man. The Smiths suggest several pastoral care initiatives that Black churches may promote to address dysthymia.
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