There’s so much to lament these days.
There are also reasons to be thankful, of course, and the practice of gratitude is both a sign of, and a way toward, wholeness. In ways we don’t often recognize, lament is such a practice, too. The Psalms, long-considered to be tutors in the ways of prayer, are full of lament: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1).
Lament is giving voice, without overanalyzing or editing, to what we most deeply and truly feel in our bodies and souls. It’s admitting, with as much specificity and honesty as we can manage, our outrage, disappointment, losses, griefs and anxieties. It’s visceral and raw; It often sounds like complaint against and accusation of the universe or Mystery or God for injustice, indifference, arbitrariness, and pain.
This prayer of lament speaks from my experience. Saying these things in this blunt way opens me to healing. Maybe listening-in will help someone else.
Inexhaustible God, I am weary. And weary of weariness
Healing God, I am sick. And sick of sickness.
Sister Fanny Lou Hamer said she was “sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
I am. Many are. The earth is.
Cancer kills because it will not die, cancers of
blood, bone, breast, and brain
prostate and pancreas
kidney and colon
liver and lung
throat and tongue
And malignancies of
deception and suspicion.
illusion and separation.
Fear shatters because it will not yield, fears of
power and weakness
inability and vulnerability
freedom and responsibility
not enough and too much
being alone and never alone
remembering what hurts and forgetting what heals
laughter and joy.
And dread of
loss and tears
the outsider and the other
shadow, darkness, and dark
the unknown and the unknowable
living death and dying before living.
Hear our sighs rising from beneath words:
We’re sick and tired of being sick and tired.
Damn sick. Damn tired.
And You? You give a damn, don’t You?
Damn, we pray, illnesses of body, mind, heart and spirit.
Damn diseases of community, culture, and creation.
Damn false fear and fretful fatigue.
It’s either prayer or surrender,
so we surrender to prayer and in prayer:
Give us courage to die to death
Gentle our anxieties.
Anew and again, persuade us that you love us..
Draw from us love for neighbors, strangers, and enemies.
Lure us to love Your creation and Your creatures.
Fashion us to be Your partners in working for justice,
Your collaborators in making peace, and Your companions in showing mercy.
Your truth frees.
Your way is peace.
Your touch heals.
Your presence is rest.
I believe; help my unbelief.
I trust; restore my broken trust.