Monday, April 13, 2009
You'll Never Walk Alone?
April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain
-- T.S. Eliot, from The Waste Land
One of the most terrible aspects of grief is the sense of isolation it produces. You'll never walk alone? Hah! You think that insipid Footprints poem is right? Hah! You subscribe to the "If you feel far from God, guess who moved?" school of comfort? Well, I am a fucking rock of immobility, and you don't know shit about either theology or human hearts.
Guess what? I haven't moved. I'm standing my ground, and I'm holding out hope for the God who has numbered the very hairs on my balding head, the one who is intimately involved in the everyday, mundane details of my life. And sometimes I catch fleeting glimpses of that kind of God, and sometimes I don't. But I figure that if "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me. The best, the most proper response I can offer right now is to cry out, to yell. That's the stimulus/response package that is shot through the Psalms. Shit happens, and you cry out. But you cry out to God.
Right now people are not cutting it. Even the most kind-hearted, well-intentioned people -- and they are out there -- are not cutting it. And it's simply because the words don't help. I appreciate them. They are meant to soothe, to let me know that others care. And I am grateful for the fact that they do. But the loneliness is suffocating. No one else can enter in to this. No one else can walk through this. It's the God-shaped hole. Humans cannot fill it. And, for whatever reasons, God sometimes chooses not to fill it. It's just a hole, a big, cavernous abyss that echoes with questions like "Why?" and "How long, O Lord?" Everybody dies. We live in a fallen world. I get the theology. But the theology doesn't help when I look at my sister, or her husband, or my 13-year-old niece. I'm willing to stand still and live with the pain. But don't you dare tell me that I moved.