Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Psalm of Lament

For the last six weeks, I've been participating in a grief group at my church.  The small group was led by Rev. Lauren Efird, Minister of Youth and Congregational Care.  Tonight was our last meeting and I didn't want it to end.  The time has been good for my soul.

The weekly sessions provided intentional time for reflection, talking, crying, singing and writing.  It became a safe place and space to talk about all the feelings that have surfaced since the death of my mother two months ago.  There were various opportunities for faithful remembering, dealing with unfinished business, expressing gratitude and finding hope.

One of the most meaningful times for me was completing the weekly homework assignments which provided a creative outlet for expressing my grief.  One week I created a mixed media piece in an attempt to describe what my grief journey looks and feels like.  Another week I wrote a letter to my mother, expressing my feelings, telling her things I was never able to say, how much I miss her and how my world is different without her.

For the last session, my homework assignment was to write a psalm of lament.  I chose to first spend some time coloring a mandala, which I found to be a very creative way of illustrating my grief experience.  After completing the mandala, I wrote this psalm of lament.

I'm sitting here, O God, in this pile of ashes, waiting for you.
Where are you?
I'm listening for you, God, as I sit here in the darkness.
Do you have anything to say?
You know I want some answers.

I've been sitting among the ashes for a very long time - since I was eleven to be exact.
But you know that, right?
Was it not enough that my father died at a young age?
Was it not enough that my daughter left the world much too soon?
Was it not enough that I watched the cancer slowly take my mother away?
What more do you want?
How much more do you think I can take?
How long must I bear this pain in my soul?
Will this dark night of the soul ever become well with my soul?

All around me is grey and my world smells of death.
I am standing knee-deep in this pile of ashes.
My heart is broken.
I lift my eyes to the skies and all I see is darkness.
Even the stars have grown dim and sometimes it feels as if
  they have left the sky - much like it feels that you have left me
  sitting here alone with these ashes.

Is it okay if I raise my voice at you?
Is it okay if I yell and scream?
Is it okay if I raise my fist to the night sky, to the moon, and to you?
Much like Job, I feel as though you have given me more than my portion of grief.
It's not fair, you know.

Nevertheless, I sit and wait for you.
I trust that you will come and be with me.
I trust that I will let you be present with me.
I trust that the stars will shine brightly again in the night sky.

As I stand knee-deep in the ashes,
 I will wait for the peace that passes all understanding.
I will wait for you to wipe the tears from my eyes,
 to heal my broken heart.

Help me to trust that even when I can't feel your presence (or even want your presence),
  you are here, knee-deep in the ashes with me.
I can only pray that this time of barrenness and darkness
 will be made new in the springtime,
 the time when ashes will be placed on my forehead
 and I will remember that I am yours and you are mine.

One day I will rise from these ashes, and with strength renewed,
 I will soar on wings like eagles,
 I will run and not grow weary,
 I will walk and not be faint.
 I am waiting for that day.

The grief group provided a place and space to grieve, but it also became the catalyst that helped me start writing again.  Stay tuned for more regular posts here. I think Cottonhead Confessions has made a comeback.  Thanks for reading and sharing the journey.

1 comment:

  1. Emotions ROAR as I read and re-read your stimulated (and stimulating) expressions . . . I also have "stood in ashes."