Let the Lament Come

reflection of rain on a window

The grocery store has become my dirge. A lament for the life that no longer exists. Every time I go, I’m overcome by tears. While I’m grabbing the bananas I suck air into my lungs to prevent a total meltdown. By the time I get to the tortillas, I’ve lost it. I look around and wonder, can’t we all just cry together? These aren’t strangers, they know a bit of my life as I know a bit of theirs. Money slipping through our fingers, bodies in isolation, anxiety taunting us. When in history have we globally felt our vulnerability at the same time?

I’m reminded of the funeral procession of my friends who lost their baby boy years ago. The whole church was filled with moaning and crying. Not one of us held back. We all needed to give expression to the unanswerable question of “why?” Our tears held every age, every story that didn’t have an answer. There is no explanation for today. We each are confronting how quickly our lives can be pierced.

What do we do with this reality?

Despair insults the ways we have loved, fought for goodness, enacted visions of beauty and justice. Despair is wholly unattractive right now. Life has never been more valuable since encountering its vulnerability. Maybe that’s why my tears and yours are so close, the only honorable movement is lament.

Some of the best art I know comes from this place. The poems in Psalms, the album Bjork wrote after her divorce, Sufjan Stevens’ words from Carrie and Lowell, or Michelangelo’s sculpture, La Pieta. I feel my lungs grow as they receive this precious air and I bow before the Giver of life. I’m more human, more humble when grief is near. There’s nothing to prove, only to receive our humility as naked, idol-making, wildly lovely humans.

Let the lament come, it’s where we become “shrines where the presence and healing love of God can dwell.”*

*quote is from NT Wright’s recent article in Times