It is not OK. It is not well with my soul, and no manner of things are well. Not to disparage Julian of Norwich, but this is how I feel. I am so used to hearing of men, women and children being gunned down by evil, that my heart has become crusted over with scar tissue, barely able to allow another arrow of sorrow to penetrate. When I hear of these mass murders and do not stop in my tracks to wail and pull out my hair, when my soul has become so imbued with these horrors that I am able to move on without tears or outcry, then I know I too am lost. This must be how it feels to live in a war zone where death and carnage are daily fodder, where people go on living as though nothing happened because what else can they do? They feel helpless to stop the machine of death.
This morning I read Psalm 42 and 43, both are prayers of lament. The second time through, I changed the I and My to We, Us and Our.
Psalm 42; 8-10
Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your torrents,
and all your waves and breakers
sweep over [us]
By day may the Lord send his mercy,
and by night may his righteousness be with [us]!
[We] will pray to the God of [our] life,
[We] will say to God, [our] rock:
“Why do you forget [us]?
Why must [we] go about mourning
with the enemy oppressing [us]?”
Psalm 43; 1-2
Grant [us] justice, O God;
defend [us] from a faithless people;
from the deceitful and unjust rescue [us].
You, O God, are [our] strength.
Why then do you spurn [us]?
Why must [we] go about mourning,
with the enemy oppressing [us]?
It did help somewhat to have the pain put to words. We all need to be able to lament. The Jewish Prophets and writers of the Old Testament sure knew how to shake their fists and rail at Yahweh. The Prophet Jeremiah is often called the Lamenting Prophet. And we all know of Job and his lamentations.
But along with lamenting our condition, I feel we must act. There are men and women in power who could make sweeping changes in the laws that would protect some of the people some of the time. And there are spiritual leaders who could begin great crusades like Martin Luther King in the 60s, demanding that changes be made NOW. And so I will continue to support Everytown For Gun Safety and Mom’s Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and lament our collective sorrow, hoping that eventually change will come, and break through the hearts of men and women whose brokenness and sickness keep them from seeing or understanding or even having the will to see truth, that the senseless gun violence will not stop until we begin to change our minds and hearts and force change on every level.