If you read through the book of Jeremiah, you’ll find out quickly that this man is full of anguish and sorrow for the people of God. Verse by verse he paints the dark and torrid picture of the state of Israel. The people were so wise in doing what was wrong, they didn’t even know how to do good deeds anymore. There were no boundaries for their evilness. Jeremiah was called by God, before he was born, and sent as prophet to the people of Israel. As a warning of judgement. As a lamenter for those who are hurting and continually wronged. As a honest articulator of what is really going on within the hearts of people and the effects of their evil deeds.
Jeremiah’s eyes were a fountain of tears. His heart was sick. He mourns not only for the judgement that will come upon them, but for the marginalized and the oppressed. In the book The Prophetic Imagination, Walter Brueggeman begs for an ‘alternative consciousness’ to overthrow modern culture’s mindset. One of the main arguments on forming this alternative way of thinking is the importance of grieving and embracing the experience of death. Modern day culture’s response to an individual’s experience, good or bad, high or low, fun or scary, is numbness. This was true then and is definitely true now. Are you in the midst of a trial or in a season of extreme sorrow? Don’t show too much emotion or you will be considered annoying or in need of professional help. Any authentic form of emotional expression can cause others to feel uncomfortable. Numbness is encouraged and is manageable. Most people don’t want to know, they turn their eyes away and lock onto what isn’t real. We scroll away from pain or vulnerability and distract ourselves from what the driving issue is because we don’t have the imagination or courage to come alongside others and face the bottom line.
It’s extremely critical to shed light on the the important issues of today. It is equally necessary to make known to others what is troubling us so that we can aid one another. This is missing in culture. We don’t suffer through or even in our problems. We choose to bandaid or numb ourselves through experience or our vices. It’s important that we don’t dwell on what isn’t being done but turn to what needs to be done when there’s a cause to pain. Often the issues that arise up within me are problems I’ve never dealt with in the past that I chose to numb over, stuff down, and push forward like a good soldier. What’s more important is that we don’t turn a deaf ear away from those who are suffering in grief or mourning. When people cry out, it’s painful to listen but we must endure. We are worried about control and keeping things together. We don’t want to inconvenience ourselves. On the other hand, if it were us, we would be the ones seeking an empathetic soul. I believe that if we came along side others who are in a state of grief we could change the world. Even if we don’t agree with them. Misery loves company, let’s make that true and huddle together to bring unity and healing. To receive ultimate healing personally, as a nation, or within our communities, there is “no possibility of newness until numbness is broken” (The Prophetic Imagination). Brueggemann continues that as long as the “empire” pretends and pushes that everything is okay, there will be no real lamentation and no serious criticism. I don’t think I need evidence from the medical community that if we continue to pretend a broken leg isn’t broken, there will be serious ramifications. Brueggemann finalizes the point that Jesus wept to show that weeping is real because endings are real, and weeping permits newness.
My challenge to you is if you are grieving and have been ignored, don’t stop until someone listens to you. This is an important line to my depressed, suicidal, and despaired friends. I see you, I hurt with you, and I know that something must be changed. For now, go down the road of processing and healing. Find a community that will weep with you, but whatever you do, don’t go numb! It won’t fix anything. It’ll only continue to create chaos within. For those who don’t mourn or grieve or weep at this time, open your eyes and grow aware of those around you. I guarantee there are many out there who are grieving. Respond by listening, continue to research, know, and learn what’s truly causing anguish and sorrow among humans on the earth. If you think that there’s no reason to weep and that people should just “get over it” and move on, that is where you should be afraid of what’s become of you. We all know there is not unity and wholeness and that is frustrating for all of us. Without the unity, without the grieving and realization of what has come and for the suffering, there will never be progress. For there to be a new beginning, a turning point, we have to “embrace the ending” and admit things are not as they should be.