As a christian writer, the temptation when disaster hits, is to get to the illustration.
I want to be able to write not only “hard and clear about what hurts” as Hemingway so powerfully suggests, but I also want to write about the redemption of that hurt. I want to be able to write the beginning, the middle and the end – making sure that the end has a message, that it shows that the pain endured had some meaning. Ideally, I’d like to be summed up neatly with three points (with a bonus for including alliteration!)
However, as the coronavirus has raged through the world, leaving lives and livelihoods destroyed, we cannot rush the redemption.
There are wounds to be tended, losses to grieve and rubble to be sorted through before we get to that point.
Everyone, to a greater or lesser extent is living with loss in these strange days. But our grief is not just for ourselves: but for those losing loved ones without the chance for goodbyes, those enduring illnesses alone, those shielded but separated from the world.
We are writing from the middle of the story; we don’t know when it will end or what that ending will look like – all we have is the hope that “this too shall pass”.
And in this hinterland, we are living in a Holy Saturday, not knowing when Easter will dawn, but living with the realities of darkness.
The challenge for today, is described beautifully by Beth Allen Slevecove in her book Broken Hallelujahs.
“How can I honour the reality of brokenness without losing the memory and hope of wholeness?”
Honouring brokenness is important, but done without holding the memory of God’s redemption and the hope of seeing wholeness leaves us languishing in grief without a way forward.
It is when we honour our brokenness alongside holding our hope in Jesus, that we are able to enter into lament.
And this is the time.
This is the time for grieving
For raging against the dying of the light
This is the time for tears
Which cleanse our souls and bring release
This is the time for anger
At the injustice pulled into sharp focus
This is the time for honesty
An end to false smiles and ‘I’m fine’
This is the time for reorientation
For hearts fixed high
And knees bent low
This is the time for lamenting
For the thousand little losses
And the hearts broken open
This is the time
Not to rush redemption