Wednesday, March 4, 2009

hope - or not


My hopes have been raised and dashed in a matter of moments. I have hopelash.

My kid Vincent gave me this quote today as I left for work - from his TV watching last night. I didn't ask, but it was probably from the Simpsons or King of the Hill or some such intelligentsia program.

Emily Dickenson said it more eloquently, although not really more poignantly.

A great hope fell, you heard no noise -
the ruin was within;
O cunning wreck that told no tale
and let no witness in.
Lent is the season of honest lament, but it is not the season of hopelessness. I have been considering lament of late. What we don't lament, we are forced to live.
Every life has more than enough causes for sorrow. Dreams fall like branches in an ice storm. (Have you ever been in an ice storm? The eerie crackling sound is what is most un-earthly, portending a whole world crashing down.)
We lose. We hurt. We age. We are alone when we need people and with people when we need to be alone. The joy of today cannot be stored for tomorrow.
I was a girl when I first thought this about my grandma: I saw that she had basically lived outside of war and poverty and as she aged and got closer to the end of her life I thought it shouldn't bother her to grow old, since her past had been relatively painless. Fool! The thoughts of youth are so wrong sometimes. All the good days do not make the bad days less real.
So lament. Lament is an episode, not a lifestyle. It is communal, even when practiced alone. When we lament we join the weeping of every other soul on the planet. Lament is not self pity, or self sorrow, or self enrichment. It is communal at best, and is about finding joy, really. Lament is psalmnody - it is a part of the song of human life sung in honesty. Lament is about moving back to hope.

4 comments:

Karen said...

Those were brilliant observations, Marilyn. I may read them every day from now until Easter - and then maybe some more.

Anonymous said...

m -

well said.

Krissi said...

As I walked around town during that ice storm, the sounds of the moving, heavy-laden branches were indeed eerie to me. I wanted to write a blog post about the ice storm and perhaps I still should. I thought the eerie movement of the tree limbs with all the ice around them sounded just like the sound that stiff plastic makes--the kind that is used as wrapping for items and toys--when you are trying to take it apart to get to what you're trying to get to. It was such a starling correlation for me for some reason.

Are you writing more about this?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for those thoughts - for the encouragement. At times I have felt like sorrow and genuine hope cannot exist together in my heart, but there is plenty of room for God in there still...
-kirsten