I think almost all of us have felt grief during the current pandemic, even if we haven’t experienced the death of someone close to us. At first, it was likely the loss of our normal way of life.
Lent has a way of interrupting my life. I would even go so far as to say that most years lead up to Lent for me. I suppose that’s the point.
In his book, “Losing Susan: Brain Disease, the Priest’s Wife, and the God Who Gives and Takes Away,” Victor Lee Austin recalls how in the midst of all his suffering, he was able to find joy, in the everyday rituals of caring for his dying wife.
We were too young for something like this. Only 22 years old, and we had buried our own child.
Life is hard. Loss is part of it. Pain is part of it. But: the one who watches over us neither slumbers nor sleeps, and we are not alone. The psalmist certainly knew that sometimes it’s important to look back at where we’ve been and what we’ve been through, so that we can see how God has “brought us out into a spacious place.”
I’m haunted by the ghost of Li-Young Lee’s father. He’s there, in Lee’s poetry, tromping around upstairs or reading aloud so we can’t sleep. He lingers by the pear trees at the corner of our vision and in the stories we tell and the words we speak. Yes, I know I said “we.” Li-Young Lee’s poetry is intimate. It draws …
I approach texts like Psalm 31 with great fear and trepidation. I am drawn to them like a moth to flame, which is to say, warily, for I know these Psalms of lament can be devastating if you take them seriously.
How can we sing and believe the words “it is well with my soul” at times when it feels anything but? How can we walk through the “valley of the shadow” when it feels like another trial or loss might be the one that finally breaks us?
Even as Christmas is a time of heightened joy and excitement, the moments of grief, pain, and sadness can feel all the more powerful. So how do we navigate grief at Christmas?