My wife tells me that she mourns daily. I know, sounds weird, but then I inquired as to why? ‘Why?’ she asked, “because it helps me to move beyond the ways that you and others have not met my expectations. It helps me to get beyond the way I haven’t met my own expectations. And, well, its just plain healthy.”
Plain healthy? To mourn daily? But then it hit me, yeah, it must be. If I had nickel for every time something that happened in the past came back to hit me in that emotional-I have-never-really-dealt-with-you kind of way, I would be a bit richer. That is at least until I bought the most recent Apple product only to have a newer version released two days later. Talk about mourning.
But mourning and releasing are nothing new really. It seems as though in the context of faith, particularly within the context of Christianity, mourning and weeping, wailing and sackclothing, forgiving and examining are critical to the worship of God and to the process of faith. Take for example Psalm 126:
We were like those who dream.
2Then our mouth was filled with laughter
And our tongue with joyful shouting;
Then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
3The LORD has done great things for us; We are glad.
4Restore our captivity, O LORD, As the streams in the South.
5Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.
6 He who goes to and fro weeping, carrying his bag of seed,
Shall indeed come again with a shout of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.
Again, from weeping to joy, from captivity to freedom, from barreness to plenty and back again.
I guess the hard work of finding the hope of mourning is taking time to do get through all the years of emotional, psychological, and social baggage at least once before it can become a more regular venture. I have friend who tells me he does a “disk scan” once per month, where he meditates over his entire being, seeking to find where there is any fault in him, or at least any residue of hurt caused by others. As he says, “if I don’t do it monthly, I just get bogged down with bad habits when it comes to the way people think about me, and the way I respond to them. We are,” he says, “reactionary beings. We respond very sensitively to all the stimuli we received. And it changes us, most of the time, for the worse.”
I’ve never really thought about it in this way, but maybe that is something of what Jesus was getting on about when he told his disciples very clearly, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you…For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return” (Luke 6:37-38). Forgiveness it seems starts with self and then moves on to others. For it is really only when we are able to see and love and embrace ourselves, that we are even remotely capable of seeing and loving and embracing others. Sounds like good fruit to me. Or at least the kind of approach to relationship I am interested in.
Hmmm, maybe there really is something to this mourning daily. Maybe there is something to the process of coming home to oneself, and therefore to God and others. Maybe, that is the hope of mourning; namely, that once certain things are owned and taken out, we can start to rebuild in a healthy more sustainable way. And while I am certainly not a theological foundationalist, I must certainly be closer to a practical one than I thought. For the reality of trusting that there is a bottom to the unhealthy in our lives, seems brings great comfort. And maybe, just maybe, when we have found the bottom, we can discover not merely the hope of our mourning and longing, but a great place to start (re)living the rest of our lives.
See Rogation Monday Reflection here.