I wasn’t really expecting to start a blog today, although it has been on my mind as of late as the fashionable thing to do (see below)…
Anyways, now that I’m here (and hopefully you are too), I would like to lament a bit. As harsh as that sounds, there is a reason and a purpose for this despair, although where we will start is simply to complain. To complain to God about the things that are wrong with this world. To ache over the unnecessary loss of life. To feel the bitter knife of disappointment. And yet, to recognize that there is hope that one day this world will be set right, and that eventually “there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain” (Rev 21:4).
The reason for this lament is the passing of my friend’s father this afternoon, on the cusp of his daughter’s wedding. I was never very close to him, but he was one of those jolly, older men that everyone knew and loved. He was there, at every theatre performance, even after his son graduated. He gave valued words of encouragement and the best hugs. And now, he is gone.
Under normal circumstances, even a great loss like this would not necessarily push me into the realm of the blogosphere, but regrettably, his was not the only tragedy that rocked our world this weekend. First, a freshman at my college campus, seemingly healthy and fit, had a cardiac arrest on Friday night while playing Capture the Flag with his choir. Now he is in the hospital, unconscious and unresponsive, waiting for the Lord to either resuscitate him, or to take him home. He is 19. Then, this morning, we learned of a young alumnus who died in a car accident on Saturday night, en route to visit his equally young wife. They were just starting life together, and now, he is gone.
The process of lament was introduced to me earlier this semester as a way to grasp with the unimaginable. It is a spiritual practice that does not intend to merely gripe at God, but instead to provide a healthy means of being saddened by the pain of this world. We must first confess what we see wrong with the world around us, repent of our own sins, and pray that God will sanctify us. This does not mean that things will immediately be made better, but it can help with the in-between time. Sin is too widespread to think that we can have a perfect life here and now, if we only have enough faith. One day, however, I do sincerely believe that we can.
My thoughts and prayers reach out to each of these families now afflicted with grief, and I join with them in addressing that pain. For as long as we are in these earthly bodies, we will ache, and we will suffer. And this current season of Easter reminds us of that! Jesus, sent to be a sin offering (Romans 8), suffered immensely, and caused those around him to suffer immensely. Even being fully divine did not save him from the pain of living on this earth or the horror of death. But then, “bursting forth in glorious day, up from the grave he rose again!” The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross made it that these deaths, these tragedies, do not have the last word. Because he rose, we can live with hope for tomorrow.
Between these three devastating events, my (now petty) load of homework, and my persistant struggles with identity and relationships, I’ve been pretty downcast today. Even still, through these trying circumstances, the girls on my floor and the members of my dance group have shown me today just how incredible the body of Christ is, as well as the beauty and power of tears and lament.
And yet, there is work to be done, and stories to create. It is my hope that this blog can thereby be a means of catharsis during the former, and a place to share about the latter. So until we meet again, and on hopefully happier terms, tchüss!
(below): My inspiration, and hesitation, for writing this blog come from my friends at:
Check them out if you have the chance!