You may have noticed, I haven’t written a whole lot lately. I am struggling to come out of the season of lament I have been in. I feel a bit like a flower with buds, that cannot bloom. I want to open my face to the sun but I am not ready. My passionate expression of grief and sorrow is still riding just below the surface. Being in this state of mind and heart for over a year is exhausting and eye opening. It is a burden that is heavy by definition.
Lament is not the same as depression. Depression steals motivation and delves deep into the shadows. The thief of hope. Lament is sorrow over a state of being or of errors committed. Lament is more like deep repentance. A deep sorrow, too deep for words. It is an emotion which causes introspection with the hope that seeing what lies within, can bring forth transformation without. It is the seed of an outward change for the better.
Lamenting is work. It is sack cloth and ashes. It is tears. It is face to the ground. It is becoming small in your own eyes. Lament partners with humility, honesty, and hope. Facing reality. Recognizing wrongs. Hoping for restoration. Lament is a season to come face to face with God and allow him to show you things which you do not know, that are too lofty for human understanding…mainly, that he is God and I am not. In this kind of season, he reveals my heart and opens my eyes to the truth. I am nothing and he is everything. Without him, we are all lost.
He uses different circumstances to bring seasons of lament. A pandemic is one way. Nothing like isolation to expose dark areas of the heart. All the ugly comes pouring out when I am forced to face myself without distractions. Public unrest is another. Opinions, so set and so strong, show up to divide what I say I believe from what I actually believe. Without lament, I would go along thinking I am following God when I am actually doing the opposite. Funny how avoiding lament causes blindness. I do not like the pain this kind deep sorrow brings and so, I take every chance I get to avoid facing myself until I can avoid it no more. Then the rubber hits the road and I am forced to look at the painful truth. I am not what I think I am.
For me, it took the combination of these circumstances to bring me to my knees. My breaking point was the murder of George Floyd. I forced myself to watch the tape even though I wanted to turn my head away. To turn away would be using my privilege, a privilege that his family did not have. My heart, which had been cracking since Ferguson, split wide open on this day a year ago. It broke to pieces. My lament began in earnest. The undoing of my foundations. The scales falling off my eyes. The face to the ground repentance at what I said I believed vs what I actually lived. God shook all that there is to shake in me. He is shaking it still.
Though restrictions are being lifted and lock down is over, my heart is still in sack cloth and ashes. It is still reeling at what has been revealed within it. There is hope that transformation is coming. That God is faithful to finish the work in me he started this past year. That the ruthless pruning he did will bear fruit in the future. I look forward to that day, but it is not today. Today lament is still my cup from which to drink. And as much as I look forward to the day of un-lamenting, I hold loosely my version of reality since it has been proven faulty this past year. I embrace the hope that is coming but has not yet arrived. I turn my face to the sun in expectation that the blossoms will open not just for me, but for all those who lament with hope.