My spiritual director wanted me to work on lament this month. She sent me these wonderfully detailed directions, even.
I don't want to be that client who won't try anything new, so I gave it a shot.
I'm not sure it was supposed to turn out like this, but I have Sharpies, and I'm not afraid to use them.
I adapted the basic outline and used a new Sharpie color for each stage of the lament:
Address God (pink)
Make your complaint (purple)
Affirm trust (blue)
Express deepest desires (green)
Receive assurance (yellow)
Express gratitude (orange)
And finally, because I needed to use my red Sharpie to complete the rainbow, and I wanted something to hold it all together, I wrote out my favorite benediction.
As often happens, when I journal, I end up seeing things when I'm done that I don't know are happening when I'm writing.
I look at this now, and I see the great Love at the center of everything, and the darkness that threatens to overcome it: fear and anger and control and oppression and abandonment, all the things that leave us alone, alone, alone.
And then the comfort and the presence and the assurance, and finally the ability to look outside of our own lament, to see that the rest of the world's lament is so much like our own, and then to consider how we might move from our own pain into the pain of the world, with courage and strength and support and help.
Lament, I think, should connect us.
Connect us to the reality of our own pain, yes. But beyond that, connect us to one another, to the lament in each other.
Dear God, Great Love that holds the universe together, give us eyes to see the beauty in one another, ears to the hear the music of our souls, hands to receive the infinite mercy of your Love and to extend it to one another.
Do not leave us alone.
It's Juneteenth today.
On June 19, 1865, union soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas, carrying news of the end of the Civil War and of freedom for enslaved Texans.
Of course, those people had actually been free for two and half years already, with President Lincoln's signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.
With the Philando Castile verdict this last week, it's a bit hard to feel triumphant about Juneteenth. It's a pretty lamenty kind of time right now.
How much are we, as a nation, still trapped in that dark circle of power, fear, anger, control, oppression and alone alone alone?
"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." Nelson Mandela
Go into the world in peace.
Hold onto what is good.
Return no one evil for evil.
Strengthen the faint-hearted.
Support the weak.
Help the suffering.
Honor all persons.
Honor all creation.
Love and serve the Lord,
rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit.
And may the love of God, the light of Christ,
and the power and communion of that Spirit be with you all.