The sun. It shines today, and for the first time in a long time, I can actually feel it.
It didn’t matter much if it shined before. It was hard to enjoy it. There was an ache in my bones that wasn’t warmed by the sun, and there was a rock in my stomach that I couldn’t seem to get rid of. But today, I see the sun.
I’ve been paying attention since this became a reality. My kids are outside playing and riding their bikes, which is so normal and expected of the warmth the sun brings. What isn’t normal is watching them watch their friends and not being able to play with them. They can talk, they can play separately. But we draw boundaries for them, remind them of the distance that is necessary at a time like this. While the sun is warm and comforting, it just doesn’t always do the trick when I’m reminded of the reality of our premises.
Something I have always been fascinated by is the idea of lamenting. Grief and sadness are often seen as something we should avoid, unwelcome feelings in the midst of life. We want to feel happy. When we don’t, we want to run away from it. N.T. Wright wrote an excellent thought on this for Time Magazine just within the past few days, and I dare say I can’t say it better.
The sun is shining. There is warmth. There is beauty today. But it isn’t all sunshine, either. There are thousands of people sick in my city. Thousands more will follow. More will die. I love the sun and what it brings. But I dare not ignore how I feel, either.
I feel without in many ways. I miss what was only a few weeks ago. I miss my mom and my dad. I miss being with family. I miss the trustworthiness of what is familiar. I miss knowing what to expect. And I lament.
We so often miss being in the reality we are in. Don’t we? For those of us who put our hope in Jesus, we mustn’t forget where we are now. We are to keep ourselves poised for eternity and yet uniquely positioned to be here in the world. The most important detail in this is significant: the promises of God for our future do not release us from paying attention to the present. This present moment is one of great suffering on a level that affects us all. Do not be deaf in your tone that you only offer hope without acknowledging the pain we are all feeling.
The warmth of the sun is an invitation to stand in it: we are all in this together. Truly. This is a historic moment of our humanity, and it is painful. The warmth of the sun reminds me. Outside of His palm I’ve never been found. He has me. He has us. And He laments with us as we grieve what is and what will be.