Saturday, May 28, 2005

lament: a lost art

Those of you who know Joe & Laura probably follow Joe's blog updates on baby Ira's progress. It's a roller coaster. Sometimes the posts are positive. Sometimes they're not. Sometimes they're so carefully matter-of-fact that it's heartbreaking.

There are always comments. Part of me is glad there are. Part of me is horrified by them, as previous posts on this blog testify. It's hard to know how to respond. I think part of our problem is simply that, as a culture, we don't know how to grieve with people. We don't understand this. We think that to be sympathetic means explaining more clearly to someone how things will get better tomorrow or the next day or next month--or whenever, but definitely sometime. But that kind of comfort can be oppressive. Sometimes it doesn't get better, and that's what everyone who hurts, in whatever way they're hurting, is afraid of. That it won't get better. To insist to them that it will, and that they must believe it, is cruel when they're hurting so bad they just can't do it. It makes them hurt worse, because it tells them something is wrong with them.

So here's a
link to a prayer of lament. A prayer that doesn't shortcut to the happy ending, but just expresses the need and desire for a savior and a people to suffer with. May we learn from this model how to sympathize and move slowly with the hurting through their pain, instead of insisting on denying or anesthetizing it.

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