Celebration together is an important part of life. And yet, so is grief and deep sadness. We cannot deny the pain and sorrow that life brings. If we try to deny it, push it down, or ignore it, eventually it will come out sideways or transform itself into anger and aggression.
If we acknowlege our sadness, share it, let it be, then its power is not so great over us and life and our heart expand to be able to hold more of both the sadness and the joy that life is.
Here on the border the sorrow is intense for many. Among our community and in Southern Arizona there are many who are involved on a daily basis with the pain our border and immigration laws are causing people. We see families living in fear and being torn from one another. We see dreams delayed and sometimes die. We see blisters and bruises. Some hear the stories. Some live the stories. Because we live here, so close to the border, if we are paying attention, we are affected. Some folks have been organizing and resisting for months at a break-neck pace, others for years.
We need space to stop, breathe, be together, maybe even cry, and say outloud, this is hard, and I am sad. And then know that we are heard and that there are others together with us in this.
Lament is a long-held, faithful response to the injustice of our world. In the Hebrew Scriptures, we see songs of lament. People crying out in anger, tearfilled grief, desperation, despair. People shaking their fists at the heavens, demanding that God listen up and—for love’s sake—do something!
Lament is not common in our world. Creating a communal space where our tears and deep pain and personal stories are really listened to is not something that most of us have ever experienced before. But in times like this we need community spaces for lament. We need to be together. We need to know we are not alone. We need to feel the sadness in our own hearts and bodies so that we can then reconnect to the love and compassion that made us start caring in the first place.
So, on Sunday we will host a communal space for lament. At 7 pm, Sept. 19, you are invited to come to the house. The back porch will be filled with blankets, pillows, and candles. That will be our gathering space for lament through music, readings, and personal story telling. The evening is open to how you want to experience it.
You’ll have an opportunity to wander about through the house and backyard and interact with art supplies, write, reflect on art, receive a blessing for healing and protection, and if you wish, to participate in an open communion led by an Episcopal priest.
We’ll also honor one another by deeply listening to one another. Those who want to can participate in a talking circle. We’ll pass a bowl of burning sage to one another as we sit on the back porch. If you wish, when the bowl comes to you, you can share your laments outloud. As your words mingle with the smoke, they travel up and outward, mingling with the others and finding their way to the sky. Sage is a herb long recognized for it’s healing and cleansing properties.
Whatever you feel is right for you—that is the correct way for you to particpate in this communal space for lament. The evening is for you. There are no expectations. Just come. And let’s be together.