A friend once observed that the world needed more songs of lament. Even though he was a gifted songwriter, he found himself longing for songs that expressed the angst of everyday life. When I think of lament, I find myself reflecting on the beauty, angst, and eternal hope found in the traditional music of Portugal. The simple combination of a string instrument with a voice telling a story touched my life in a way that few pieces of music have. It seems as though expressing lament is far more natural than anyone cares to admit.
Candidly, life taxes the strong and the weak. Chaos demands a toll, from those disciplined and less so. Evil captures those on guard and the innocent. I have yet to find anyone who escapes untouched. Life touches some with greater intensity. Yet, everyone bears a scar or two on their heart. It is one of life’s cruelest ironies. If it ended with the realization of pain, anguish, and loss, life would probably not be worth the effort, but it does not.
Life is far more than the attack, as cruel as evil can be. It is also about the struggle, grasping Hope’s hand, and realizing the beginning of beauty, wonder, and awe. Life is all of these things and more. I have expressed my frustration and anger, yet I always want to end with the realization of what will come. I know “I said, ‘I've worked for nothing. I've nothing to show for a life of hard work. Nevertheless, I'll let God have the last word. I'll let him pronounce his verdict.’” (Isaiah 49.4) There are far too many reasons to live than to give up. There are wonderful examples of hope. There are extraordinary opportunities for beauty. Each exists with the potential for an experience filled with awe.
Today we can lament with our heart. We can feel the loss and grasp Hope. We can be alive! We can engage in the fullness of living, which will include our laments. We can discover hope. We can find beauty and love.
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