Last week was a really long one for me. I come from a family of animal lovers, and on Monday we said goodbye to one of our furry family members who had suffered from a debilitating condition no vet was able to definitely diagnosis.
For the rest of the week, I felt like I was dragging my heart around behind me, weighed down by sorrow over this loss and by grief for the world in general.
Sometimes those of us who call ourselves people of faith try to diminish the feelings of pain and injustice we feel when we look out at the world. We do this by giving ourselves heart-numbing reminders, like telling ourselves “Someday God will make all things right,” or “This world won’t be my home forever. It’s all just temporary.”
Those things aren’t necessarily untrue, but when did God ever say we couldn’t grieve about really sad things that exist and happen on this planet? Why do we think we need to squash our emotions and put all our focus on the future?
For a while, it was enough for me to just remind myself of God’s promise of a sorrow-less future whenever the world’s messiness got me down. That is, until I had bucketful after bucketful of the world’s sludge dumped over my head, and I couldn’t just brush it off. I was completely drenched in it, and no amount of “heavenly” thinking was going to take it away.
I’ve learned through experience that it’s okay to let your heart be broken and grieved by the world’s fallen state. I’m no less of a Christian for feeling my God-given emotions, and neither are you. So today, I’m choosing to let out the pain weighing on me.
Even though there are so many things I can’t change, I can change how I let myself react emotionally to what’s unchangeable. I’ve accepted that it’s okay to let myself lament and feel the weight of the world, because I know it ultimately helps me to let it go again.
What is it you’re feeling today? What’s weighing down on you? Or alternatively, what’s lifting you up? Good or bad, I challenge you to invite your emotions in, then name out loud or write down what it is you’re feeling.
Emotions are not right or wrong, friends; it’s about what you do with them. Below is my attempt to let out and wrestle with mine.
A Human’s Lament for the World
It is wrong that innocent animals contract horrible, fatal diseases.
It is wrong that so many animals suffer at the hands of humans.
It is wrong that people abuse the ones they are supposed to love the most.
It is wrong that children die from the violence of adults.
It is wrong that children are sexually abused and their innocence is taken from them.
It is wrong when sex is forced upon others.
It is wrong to make others live in fear.
It is wrong that religion is used to manipulate people.
It is wrong to judge someone before you hear their story.
It is wrong that young kids are taught to hate their bodies.
It is wrong that kids are bullied.
It is wrong that children want to kill themselves.
It is wrong that lives end prematurely from cancer…
…And it is wrong that those left behind have to figure out how to go on without their loved ones.
It is wrong to base human worth on human sexuality.
It is wrong to deal with the heart through terrorism.
It is wrong that mental illness wreaks havoc on lives.
It is wrong that our justice system is often an unjust system.
Right now these things grieve my heart. This is my lament for the world.