You have an early meeting, your alarm clock goes off at an ungodly hour, you hit snooze three times, and by the time you finally crawl out of bed, you are 10 minutes behind schedule. You rush to get ready, put your shoes on as you pour your coffee, and reach into the refrigerator to grab the milk for your coffee. You snatch it out of the fridge, expecting it to be full, but it’s empty, and it almost flies out of your hand. You discover someone has left a millimeter of milk in the bottom for you. Come ON! SERIOUSLY, you think! But you’ve had this argument before. You know where it will end. They didn’t “technically” drink ALL of the milk.
Have you ever been there?! I haven’t; I completely made that up. We can joke about those moments now because we can see clearly after a bit of distance.
Oh, it ’s obvious to us now that it’s not about the milk. It’s not about who drank the last of it, or the one who forgot to buy more of it, or about who spilled it, or who always cleans it up! It’s never about the milk. Instead, the milk is the vehicle, the release valve, the object that points toward deeper feelings we’ve been carrying — frustration, grief, resentment, stress, helplessness and yes, even anger.
My friend Katie says, “Anger is like a signpost — it tells us something is off — or out of balance.”
Our differing faith traditions invite us in our unique ways to bring it all to God. It all belongs. Give voice to your pain, sorrow, hope and lament! God is big enough for all of it.
The past 18 months have been difficult in a myriad of ways for us as a people. But, like everyone who has journeyed through the wilderness of exile, we have had to merely survive and advance. Now that we have a bit of distance, have you considered how you have fared?
This month, take time to consider how have fared and reconsider all you have been through. Be honest with yourself and with God. And let your answer to that question be your prayer each day.
The good news is this: When we lament honestly and lift it to God, it is one of the most faithful things we can do. Offering our honest anger and our honest pain is a sign of hope. It’s a way of proclaiming that we believe that there is a better vision of the world, that there is a possibility that things can and should be different. In God, lament becomes hope.
With great hope,