In the past 24 hours, waves of loss and worry have swept the world– the world out there and the world closer to home. As with any disasters, personal or global or anywhere in between, I feel a bit at a loss under the weight of all that pain and sorrow. The best I can do is lift a lament:
for the waves of violence and bloodshed washing over Libya as the forces loyal to the government crush uprisings and lash out against civilians
for the waves of political tension and the apparent collapse of workers’ rights in our country as Wisconsin passes and other states consider legislation to deny public workers the right to collective bargaining and pass the “savings” on as tax cuts to large corporations
for waves of trembling, quaking earth, devastating the islands of Japan in the worst earthquake they have seen for 100 years
for enormous waves, crashing through the Pacific, as the quake’s tsunami reminds us how interconnected we all are
for little waves on the rivers and runoffs around my home and my church, as the people of Montpelier brace for a massive thaw and prepare (we hope in vain) to weather a potential flood
for waves of grief beating against and within those who have lost loved ones, today, this week, years ago.
I’ve seen several people write on Facebook and Twitter today, that in light of the earthquake and destruction, they feel petty in complaining about their problems, their griefs, the waves that wash over them. I think perspective is good, and seeing a big picture is good. I think thankfulness that things are comparatively okay or the distance of time as a healer are healthy things.
But I don’t think we need to compare our sorrows and struggles against those of others, and then dismiss our struggles (or those of other people) as unworthy or petty or small. They may be little waves to some, but the waves we weather mean the world to us, and that is important, and sacred. I believe that in God’s sight, our laments, no matter how small, no matter what they are compared with, are heard and held.
Two years ago today, my husband and I miscarried. Compared to the loss in Libya and Japan today, that seems such a small thing. Compared to the joy of the baby who would not have been born otherwise, it seems very little indeed. And yet it is loss, it is grief, and it is it’s own thing, not to be measured against anyone else’s yardstick, not to be bargained or traded away. Simply to be held, side by side with other griefs, side by side with abiding joy, and honored as a part of living, a part of my life.
Whatever waves wash over you today, may you be unashamed to name them. They are yours.