A friend and songwriter casually made a remark in a workshop many years ago.
“The church needs more songs of lament. People need a voice for their pain. They need to groan, cry, and moan.”
At the time I thought it was an odd comment from someone that usually wrote songs of happiness. In the years since, I have come to appreciate what blues do in touching one’s heart and soul. Fro me, in giving pain a voice, with music that support its expression in ways that touches others deep within themselves, I find myself embracing hope. It may be counterintuitive for many, but singing the blues makes me feel better! Songs of lament reflecting the different aspects of my life are, in their own way, expressions of spiritual trust and confidence.
I listened to a friend sing a tribute to the blues recently. I was struck by how much I identified with the words and music. I have not heard many of the songs for decades and yet they were like catching up with old friends. Each was familiar and comforting. It was as if the introduction in the first few bars brought us back together. We remember each other with fondness. Even as I tried to shoot a photo essay of the evening, I found myself singing along, letting a tear flow, and embracing the sense of hope.
As the evening progress, I found myself letting go of the pain within the lament. I had given it away in the music, knowing that my God was big enough to take it from me. It was a great reminder that the moment to come can be different. In the present, “God keeps an eye on his friends, his ears pick up every moan and groan.” (Psalm 34.15) In the act of letting go, I had taken part of my ordinary life that is toxic and left it at the altar of the ultimate purifier.
The challenges that were overwhelming are still here but I see them differently. It is good to lament and move on.