A Good Cry
Death’s ropes bound me;
the distress of the grave found me—
I came face-to-face with trouble and grief.
– Psalm 116:3 (CEB)
In an effort to cope under our state’s stay-at-home order, everyone at my house employed self-organizing strategies. Mine included a day of baking three kinds of bread and knitting a shawl in cheerful colors. My wife started teaching our 15-year-old son to drive in the parking lot of the church she serves, across the street from our house. That child researched moving my online files between formats, and his older sister kept our kitchen clean and orderly.
Our shared Google calendars showed our online meetings and classes as well as our schedule for choosing evening activities – organized by our son – and a weekly family meeting – called by me to check in on how we’re all doing.
It was the calendar that got to me. My wife deletes previously scheduled activities one week at a time, which worked well until I looked ahead to the next week and couldn’t read my schedule due to the overlap of real events, cancelled events, and a mis-scheduled Zoom meeting. For days I had limited the growing pandemic to a closely guarded compartment in my brain. Looking at what would have been, I came “face-to-face with trouble and grief,” and tears flowed.
Psalm 116 goes on to assure us that the death of any person is a costly loss in God’s eyes. How hard this season is, then, for God and for us! When we give in and have a good cry, we are never alone in it. For this, I am grateful.
Loving God, thank you for weeping with us. Give us strength, please, for whatever lies ahead. Amen.
Martha Spong is a UCC pastor, a clergy coach, and editor of The Words of Her Mouth: Psalms for the Struggle, new from The Pilgrim Press.