09. Why?

Why: the practice of lament and agony, surviving through abandonment.

4 responses to “09. Why?

  1. A Prayer

    Why?
    For a while, I pretended everything was fine.
    I tried harder, finessed my formulas, perfected
    My faith-technique.
    I was sure the setback was momentary.
    The regularly scheduled program would soon resume
    Broadcasting, and all would be fine soon.
    Soon took too long.
    My denial didn’t work.

    Turning to you didn’t work, so then
    I turned on you.
    My hopes, I feared, had been misplaced.
    So I raged.
    Something had to give.
    So I made my demands clear.
    I issued ultimata.
    I threatened infidelity.
    I tried my best to back you into a corner.
    You neither gave, complied, negotiated, nor
    Capitulated. Nor did you retaliate.

    I played my last, best card.
    You won.
    I fold.

    Why?
    Why does it have to be this way?

    I am not demanding an answer.
    Through my why, I am expressing the fact that I have no answer.
    I am not damning the apparent senselessness of things.
    I am accepting that if there is sense to be made,
    I don’t have it.

    So even now, answerless,
    I am still talking to you, or toward you at least,
    Or toward the memory of you,
    Or the hope of you,
    Still hoping you hear.
    Disappointed in the God I thought I knew,
    I pray to the God who may be.
    In my unbelief, I believe
    Still.

    Why have I been abandoned?
    Why have I been disappointed?
    Why must this be so hard?
    Why must it be this way?

  2. “Psalm of the Survivor (Song of the Blackbird)”

    O God, where were you?
    Did you not see?
    Did you not care?
    Could you not stop it?

    I was victimized and terrorized
    My enemy was not supposed to be my enemy
    So my enemy wounded my soul even more deeply
    The violence denied my joy, masked my beauty, and stole my hope

    My enemy violated me in ways that blocked out the sun
    And brought forth the rain, wind, and thunder
    It shook and cracked my foundation
    And did damage that could never be totally repaired

    Suddenly, in the midst of that storm, Jesus became a kindred spirit
    He, too, was beaten bloody by his enemies
    He, too, was in a fight that was not fair
    He, too, prayed for God to protect him from abusive powers

    Jesus and I cannot mystify the violence that was done to us
    It was wrong
    It should have been different
    It must never happen again

    Our silence will not protect us
    That is why I must cry out for justice
    For me
    And for Jesus

    We know the pain of being strung up on our crosses
    Such torture and humiliation tamps out everything that resembles real life
    The suffering caused by our enemies isn’t virtuous or character-building
    And it wasn’t part of God’s will for our lives

    Salvation doesn’t come from violence
    It never has
    It never will
    Salvation comes from resurrection

    Resurrection is love, not fear
    Resurrection is compassion, not control
    Resurrection is resistance, not acceptance
    Resurrection is advocacy, not passivity

    Resurrection celebrates acts of resilience in the aftermath of violence
    Resurrection squeezes out hope from places where it may not typically thrive
    Resurrection opens up the process of forgiveness for the sake of wholeness
    Resurrection senses God’s presence in moments of healing and strength

    Resurrection is the song of the blackbird
    Sung from the rawness of shadow and pain
    Yet managing to find a tune of hope in the discord of despair
    A song written on the journey from the depths of hell to the heights of heaven

    The song of the blackbird is for people like Jesus and me
    People who refuse to let our enemies steal our lives
    People who know the power of resurrection firsthand
    People who praise God for every scrap of salvation that comes our way

    The song of the blackbird declares that there is a balm in Gilead
    It inspires me look back with disgust instead of hatred
    It empowers me to look forward with purpose instead of emptiness
    It calls me to prayerful anticipation of a better future

    God joins me as I boldly sing the song of the blackbird
    And I will sing that song as long as I have the breath of life
    It’s the most sacred hymn I know
    It’s a hymn of survival that even blackbirds like Jesus and I can sing

    O God, I trust in your steadfast love
    And rejoice in your salvation
    You have brought me moments of resurrection
    And those moments grow longer and more powerful each day

  3. “Of Lament and Hope (Psalm 13)”

    How long, O God
    Will you keep me waiting here?
    How long, O God
    Til You recognize my tears?
    How long will I bear grief in my soul,
    Carry this sorrow night and day?
    How long til I am whole?

    God, look at me.
    Don’t turn Your face away.
    God, answer me,
    Before darkness overtakes.
    Before my path is overcome,
    And all that oppose me rejoice.
    How long will you be gone?

    But as for me, I trust in Your love.
    I rejoice in the help that You give.
    To You I sing for Your goodness to me;
    In You I trust, in You I live
    In You I trust, in You I live
    In You I live

  4. Lesley Gaspar

    These two have me dead to rights… thanks, Brian, I can’t tell you what a relief is it so see my own heart is not a secret, that this knife edge is not a dead end… “God joins me as I boldly sing the song of the blackbird / And I will sing that song as long as I have the breath of life / … It’s a hymn of survival that even blackbirds like Jesus and I can sing”—gave me a good, healthy cry, and I feel a little more sure of my step.

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