Saturday, May 21, 2016
Should I weep or should I laugh?
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; Ecclesiastes 3:1-4
I listened to a program about Viktor Frankl last night. He managed to avoid becoming bitter and dried-up after spending years in Nazi concentration cramps. Once out, during nine intense days of processing his experience as a prisoner, he wrote Man's Search for Meaning, a book about transcending suffering that still inspires and gives hope seventy years after it was written.
When I write about heavy, I'd like to try to keep it light.
I need to get inside the heads of all people in a conflict, even those whose positions are most odious to me, if the light things I write about heavy things are to be anything more than flippant, silly escapism. (Not that there isn't a place for that....) To be listened to and understood, one has to listen and understand. Can't say I'm enough of a saint, dear Francis of Assisi, to desire one more than the other, but I do consider both to be important.
Achieving that level of Understanding requires, for me anyway, engagement of both the mind and the emotions, and that can lead, for me anyway, to tears on the pillow at night.
Sometimes they are tears of frustration. This happens when I listen to white Supremacists. The popularity of Mr. Trump has emboldened them. I hope someone with a pen mightier than mine can convince them to lay down the deadly weapons they plan to take up to "ethnically cleanse" America.
Sometimes they are bewildered tears that come from taking on the burdens of both liberals and conservatives, of weeping with all those who weep over very emotional, faith-challenging issues. This happened last night, after I read comments, specifically those about LGBT issues, including ordaining and marrying homosexuals, posted at the United Methodist's website after the Church's General Conference.
Crying really isn't so bad, if it takes the form of a prayer, leading to Divine courage rather than despair and nihilism. Just so long as my sense of humor is back in the morning.