Can we visualize lament?
A few weeks ago, at the start of our Good Grief series that wraps up this Sunday, I got an email with an interesting video of Martha Graham performing a liturgical dance titled Lamentations.
I invite you to watch it here: https://youtu.be/GUaqexyv4B4
Even though this decades old video is grainy and the color is old, I found it powerful and moving against the piano music in the background. There were times where it seemed as if Martha was being swallowed alive by the fabric surrounding her and I was moved to see with my eyes what is often felt inwardly with grief. Then there were times Martha was pushing out as if trying to be born or reborn and it is not certain she is going to make it out of the purple cocoon surrounding her. I watched stunned because that is what grief can feel like too. Part of us wanting out, trying to be reborn into a new life apart from the grief and not sure if we will make it out of grief.
The video ends without emergence. Martha returns to the beginning position more fully enveloped than when she began. No happy ending here. While the ending is unsettling, it is honest. Grief is a journey. It changes us, challenges us, consumes us.
I have seen and experienced God’s deliverance from grief. It is a rebirth, a whole new day and there is no rhyme or reason when that deliverance comes but in the meantime for those in cocoon of lament, I find this blessing from Susie Larson helpful:
May God give you the grace and grit to keep walking, one foot in front of the other, no matter how impossible the mountain feels to climb. May He lead you by streams of living water, refresh your weary soul, and give you just what you need at every twist and turn. May He take your burdens and give you a new song to sing. May he renew your faith to believe that fresh blessings await you just around the bend. And tomorrow when the sun comes up, may His new morning mercies feel as miraculous as they are.
Remember you are not alone in your grief. I, and your fellow pastors, and church family see you and sit with you faithfully as we pass through the darkest valley.