A little over a decade, Moose Jaw SK experienced a huge fire in their downtown. Several beautiful historic buildings were lost, burned literally to the ground;there was concern about other buildings being structurally affected by the heat: what else would have to go? The downtown area was completely changed in look and feel. Some thought “oh that’s too bad” and switched to shopping at the big-box stores up the hill. Others lamented the loss, worried that other buildings would be structurally affected; what else would have to go? These folks stayed with the sadness for a time; they weren’t ready to simply “move on”. They sifted through the rubble… which changed the downtown positively. Check out tunnelsofmoosejaw.com.
Doesn’t Life often resembles that fire! Our village absorbed news of three significant losses this week. Some of us have already come up with how to work around the losses. Others of us are working through the sadness of last week’s news, so this feels overwhelming; we wonder if all that is left is “rubble” and what will happen to the rest of our community as a result? I’m usually in the first group, but this time I’ve decided it’s ok to sit in the sad and lament the losses. Really feel them.
I’m being re-affirmed that it’s spiritually helpful to feel the losses deeply. In lamenting, we come to realize just as deeply, what it is we do not want to lose. Feeling our brokenness, we experience a Presence which holds our sadness with us, assures us that abundant life is seeping through the cracks. Sometimes it’s an abundance of community support, or discovering a new skill, or a ‘crazy idea’ that sparks into something new. Sometimes it’s a feeling that We Are Not Alone. Lamenting is a birthing process.
We all have had deep losses. We all have ways of coping. And our culture is good at helping us avoiding the sad. Suck it up, get over it. What can one person do? And the wide variety of diversionary activities, and living vicariously through others: Go [insert team name here]! I succumb to that too, and it’s fun sometimes. But isn’t it only an illusion of life going on? Does it help build the resilience we need to meet and overcome the next inevitable challenge?
I am no Pollyanna; I’ve been cut before on some of the sharp edges of this rubble-sifting. But I don’t believe in quick answers, that all loss or change is a good thing, or that it was “planned” or necessary; I know it’s easy to become paralyzed to act. But even with these danger areas, the lamenting process gives the spiritual space to see the possibilities and face “what is” with a renewed spirit – and isn’t that resilience? Doesn’t there have to be a “death” before there is a “resurrection”?
Doesn’t resilience, resurrection of spirit, come from being touched by the loss and being reminded of what kind of community/ies we want to live in? As we sit with one another and lament these loses, may we discover among the rubble the holiness that we are Not alone, we’re better together, and Life Will Come Again.