In a conversation about what music the church needed, a prolific songwriter and worship pastor responded, “we need more songs of lament. I tend to write about happy things. Life comes with far more sadness than it does happiness. It is good to lament, especially together in our shared voice. We need to lament.”
It has been years since I heard this response, yet when darkness overwhelms me, life in all its glory pulls my life into places I do not want to go, I find myself longing to express my lament. I am not alone. We need to express our sadness, frustration, and sense of being overwhelmed by darkness. In my experience, the conversation is not designed to end there, at least in my case. I want to move beyond the darkness and into light.
The “but” in the conversation is the starting point. I know I need to lament. I need to call life, everything for what it is. Often laments include anger and frustration. They also include confession on multiple levels. In the midst of this a line from a David prayer echoes; “Forget that I sowed wild oats; Mark me with your sign of love. Plan only the best for me, God!” (Psalm 25.7)
The fact that there are dark spots in your life and mine is not a reason to worry or be upset. The reality of this life is that we will have moments, days, even years when it seems as if Evil is the only reality. Time and the touch by the Mother of Compassion are the only consistent answers I know of.
When I feel the darkness overwhelming me, it is the physical and mental process of lamenting that opens the door to something different. I find a relationship between the degree of honesty and completeness in my lament and the speed that hope and mercy find my heart.
In the quietness of a new morning filled with uncertainty and fear, I feel Compassion’s embrace. I have no idea what will come. I step forward with Hope.