Today’s Word from Trinity Keyboardist Sheila Weidendorf…
Ah, such times in which we live! Political tension, racial injustice, misogyny still apparent in all directions, nations pit against each other, poverty and hunger still rampant the world over. How many of us find ample reason in our moments of lamentation to say, “Why me, Lord – why me?” And when we find ourselves in distress, lamenting our fates – or our follies – do we not supplicate God for help? When in duress do, we not seek comfort, or solace, or aid from the Creator, the source of everything in the heavens and on earth and in the waters beneath the earth?
When sorrow is all around us, or grievance, or torment do we not join with the weary as in the book of Lamentations (1:20/21), “Behold, O Lord, for I am in distress, my soul is in tumult, my heart is wrung within me… Hear how I groan; there is none to comfort me…” This little human existence, with all its ups and downs, can be very difficult in fact, and lonely. It is easy to feel forsaken, even punished by circumstance.
On the other hand, this little human existence, with all its ups and downs, can also be beautiful – even in the tearful times! – full of wonder and grace. And it is good to rejoice in those gracious gifts of life, to celebrate together when we are happy, just as we might grieve or mourn together when we suffer collective or mutual loss. It is also good to remember that our little human existence is fleeting, temporary as all things on earth are temporary. There will be good days and bad days both, victory and defeat, love and loss.
One view of enlightenment – we could say here “Christenment” – is the capacity to accept all things with equanimity. To celebrate and mourn in due measure, not expecting either to be forever. To develop a sort of patience in spiritual and psychological maturity so that we are not swelled with too much pride in the good times, nor laid to waste in days of loss.
But regardless of such ponderings, I think it safe to say that one response to the vicissitudes of life that can never lead us astray is gratitude. No matter our losses, do we not all have something for which to be very thankful? Are we not blessed beyond measure? It is so very easy to lament – perhaps we can practice gratitude so that it becomes our second-nature response to every day, come what may. We can join Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – we can “rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances…” Or, as written in Psalms 118:1, we can “give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever.”
To be sure, when the going gets tough, it can be hard to give thanks for the bumpy road, for the dark night, for the lessons learned. Perhaps the path of gratitude can lead us home along that path, can illumine the darkest night, can teach us humility and grace no matter what our little human existence throws our way.
In this light, I’d like to share an old country gospel tune by Kris Kristofferson called, “Why Me Lord.” It is NOT a lamentation, or a “woe is me” supplication. Rather, it is a “Wow! My life is amazing! How can I thank you? I can’t possibly deserve the myriad blessings I have received but thank you!” kind of song, arranged and performed here by me. Click HERE to listen.