The last time I avoided all retail shops, I was a post-surgery patient. It's been surreal to experience this again (although gratefully under different circumstances). I wrote about this for the Philly a few weeks ago, something I've coined "The World of the Well is Learning the Ways of the Sick." Although quarantine itself feels somewhat familiar, I've begun experiencing something new.
In fact, it's our survival tip for this week. Lament.
I'll be honest: In years past, I've totally sucked at lament. I've understood it to be acceptance of my negative emotions and suffering, and a process of submitting all of this to God. Maybe I've neglected to lament because I didn't find myself spiritual enough. Or, I didn't know how. Some of the environments I've been in discouraged an attitude of lament. Simply put, I've not engaged in lament very much. Plus, my personality is one where I tend to fast-forward to seek out the positive, the happy and the light.
Yet this week, my heart kept growing heavy. I felt challenged to pause and lament. I began to name the sadness over not gathering with friends for Mike's birthday this week and the disappointment of feeling "stuck" at home for Easter. I recognized a deep grief on behalf of all seniors who are missing their proms and graduations, as well as an ache for the brides with springtime weddings. All around us, people are testing positive for a scary virus and some are passing away. There's been a lot of loss over the past few weeks.
This week is Holy Week, which feels like profound timing. For all of my life, I've experienced Easter as colorful and happy. Yet this year, I'm intentionally welcoming grief. The footsteps that led up to the cross are what I'm zeroed in on. The pain in every step. The difficulty of following through. The enormous loss. The agony.
I have no doubt that on Sunday, hope will arise. Yet I get a sense that this hope will only feel complete and deeply take root if I appreciate all that went into that empty tomb. In an odd, yet beautful way, it seems as though embracing our suffering is actually a key for all of us looking to survive.
More on Lament
Read my friend and fellow cancer survivor Jamie's article on the radical power of lament
Here's a lament writing exercise if you're like me and need a starting point.
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