“My soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, “Gone is my glory, and all that I had hoped for from the LORD.” The thought of my affliction and my homelessness is wormwood and gall! My soul continually thinks of it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases…” Lamentations 3:17-22
Bitter thoughts. Stewing from down below. Gurgling with stomach acids. Bubbling up. Burning the esophagus. Causing throat and breath to sour.
The writer of Lamentations uses strong metaphors. Wormwood, a plant smelling and tasting bitter. Gall, another name for bile. Words filling the air and us with pain’s felt presence in and out of our bodies.
But in the midst of severe affliction this writer dares to hope? What is it that this writer “call(s) to mind?” In the midst of smells so intense, so permeating that the writer curls. Caves in. What glimmers enough amidst affliction to speak of “steadfast love”?
Healing Practice: Glimmers
What gives you even a small glimmer of hope? A pin head of possibility? A fleeting thought of future?
What or who steadies you right now? Your therapist? The mail carrier showing up every day at the same time? The noon time factory whistle or downtown church bells?
Name these. Write them down. Even the smallest of the small.
The writer of Lamentations puts hope in God. Maybe you do too. Maybe you don’t. Or maybe God is a glimmer of what can be.
God of what can be, bring breezes filled with fresh air. Blow away bitterness’ smell. Settle my stomach. Give relief to my soured throat. Spark my imagination. Fill my thoughts with hope’s tiny glimmers. Amen.
Biblical translation: NRSV
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