The Language of Lament – A Deeper Family


There are days when I feel immobilized by all the pain in this world. I’ve had quite a few of those in the last few weeks. Days when despite the sunshine, I see clouds of gray. Days when I wonder where God is, where hope is to be found, when relief will come.

Sometimes this is personal pain. More often, it’s pain carried by someone I love. And then, there is all.the.angst — the burdens borne by our big, wild, crazy world. I’ve lived long enough to see too much ugliness, too much suffering, too much.

I’ve tried cutting myself off from news sources. And that helps for a while, at least until reality intervenes at some other juncture in my life. You can only hide for so long, it seems.

I’ve tried focusing on the small graces of every day life. And that helps considerably. Counting gifts is good therapy, and a habit that I’ve lived with for a very long time now.

But, in and around the thanksgiving, there are those other days. The days that feel like —

massive overwhelm,
uncertainty deep in my soul,
tears beneath the tears,
knots within knots within knots.

And on such days, words escape me, gratitude is much harder to find, and I sense myself suffering what Madeleine L’Engle used to describe as the flu-like symptoms of atheism, the temporary variety.

          Where are you?
          How could you?
          This is too much!

These are the words that rise, the only words that seem to be appropriate in the midst of the ‘slough of despond.’ And these are also, by some miraculous gift of Goodness, the words that slowly but surely open the door to grace and truth.

These are the words of lament.

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  1. I followed you over here from Deeper Story and had to leave a comment because your ‘lament’ piece was powerful and beautiful, but then I read your ‘credo’ and was drowning in it. It is exceptional.

    • Thank you so very much, Joanna – for coming back here to leave kind words and for reading that page. Not many ever do. :>)

  2. Diana, I have been overwhelmed with the same feelings of late. Willing ourselves out seems near impossible. Honestly, I have been a slug this summer. Spending much time in a “relaxed” state, trying to turn off the constant drum of bad news, the angst as you call it, the pain of the suffering and the sufferers and the great needs for healing and rescue and the unimaginable becoming real, and crying out “Why?” “Where are you?” “How could you?” “This is too much.” And, just like you said, that is when he “opens the door” to more, more of him, more of love, more of grace, more of truth. This is lament, and this is our journey of faith. Praying that we will all look upwards in the midst of upheaval and we would receive what he is offering, just enough for the day each day to keep on walking.
    By his grace,

  3. So beautifully said, Diana…and I hear you. In fact, I’ve written about “sorrow overload” before and reposted a year later ( ). Earlier today my daughter and I talked about the complications that our advanced technology brings. Less than a hundred years ago, we’d be exposed to the pain and suffering around us (and often that is almost too much to bear alone) but only rarely would we have heard the news from around the world – much less be exposed to the images. I don’t think God designed us for such sorrow. It’s not only the news. I scroll down my news feed on facebook and I could spend all day scrolling and praying. scrolling and praying. You Deeper Story posts just keep getting sweeter and sweeter, my beautiful friend.

    • Thank you so much for these good words here and at ADF. And you’ve touched on something real with that comment on technological overload. Much as I love the connections I’ve made and the good being done (and there is a ton of it!!), I really do feel like all.the.time is just enervating and exhausting. I’ve spent more time on Facebook tonight than I have in quite a while and I’m tired! And I have a class assignment to get done. That’s part of this, too – it can interfere with the life that is ours to live. And that is not a good thing. At all. Thanks again for your encouragement, friend. I’m clicking over to read your post and will do so tomorrow.

    • Couldn’t leave a comment on that blog post, Patricia – but I loved every bit of it and so understand that sense of overload. Acknowledging how heavy it is, and then walking through it to gratitude and praise is the only way forward.