Tears can be healing. As women especially, I think that many of us know this. There are also women who can’t seem to cry, won’t let themselves, or see it as a sign of weakness. But as humans, we are mind, body, and soul. We have intellect, emotion, and will. Living a fully integrated, human existence requires us to acknowledge our emotions, whether good or bad.
Don’t get me wrong. Experiencing and sometimes releasing our emotions, however, does not mean being completely subject to them. Our decisions and actions do not need to be and should not be driven solely by our emotional whims. This is why I love how real the person in Lamentations is. We find her weeping and expressing a soul in tumult, a heart poured out in grief. She is authentic and raw and honest with God, like I mentioned in an earlier post.
The prophets and idols and fortunes that she chased turned out to be false and misleading. They led to her demise because they were not God.Are you idolizing anything or anyone other than God right now?
For women, society is constantly battling for our attention, desires, and idolization. We are bombarded with images of “perfect” women, “perfect” men, relationships, diets, educational milestones, career opportunities and advances, athletic achievements, fashion trends, political successes, etc. Some are shadows of a truer reality, some are intrinsically neutral to our moral good. But beyond determining if they are good or healthy, are they our idols? That’s the important question to ask because we are called to be detached from this world, and even good things can become detrimental if they replace God as number one.
This is precisely why Lamentations is so good to read and why it’s so relevant. It gives us the snapshot of what we tend to do during suffering, and it gives us the blueprint of how to turn it around. Because of original sin, throughout human history we have always had to struggle against making false idols. We do things that separate us from the infinite Love of God, and they give us false hope, love, and satisfaction. Yet in Lamentations we read,
“Let tears stream down like a torrent day and night! . . . Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord! Lift your hands to him . . .”
This is teaching us to be real with God about our struggles but still praise Him because He’s GOD.
We praise His name because He is Lord and Savior, not because we understand everything
He’s doing. In St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, he talks about rejoicing in suffering because it produces endurance and character and ultimately leads to hope. How can you be more real with God? Do you find it difficult to “pour out your heart” before the presence of God? Why or why not? How can you rejoice in suffering?