What do you do when your world is shattered, or your heart is broken?
Life was not the same after her spouse died. They had been together for 44 years when he suddenly became ill and died by the end of the week. Suddenly, everything in life changed and she wasn’t sure where to turn next. Who would do the things at the house he always did? How would the impact on finances impact her life? Who would be her sounding board, comforter, comedian? At times like that, words don’t even adequately express everything that races through one’s heart and mind.
One day I walked into the living room and saw her staring out the window. “Mom – mom – mom,” I called. Finally, she turned around, looked at me and confessed just how disorienting everything was once dad died.
Walter Brueggemann’s powerful book, Spirituality of the Psalms, tells us that throughout the book of the Psalms we see three movements that provide us with a reality that reflects our life. Brueggemann teaches us that there are psalms of orientation, when life is good, and praise is all that fills one’s heart. There are psalms of disorientation, when things have fallen apart, and life is no longer what you expect. And there are psalms of re-orientation. These are psalms that reveal not a return to normal, but a re-orienting to a new reality.
It seems to me now that GC2019 has happened, with the decision of the Judicial Council that followed in April, that our church feels as if it is in a season of disorientation. I read on Facebook the many opinions about what The United Methodist Church should do now. What I read reflects many of the conversations people are having throughout the East District.
“What do we do now, O Lord_________?” “How Long, O Lord__________?” (You fill in the appropriate words in the blanks.)
If we thought the UMC was holding its breath until after GC2019 made its decision, it seems to be even more so now. If Brueggemann is correct, perhaps what we need to do is to understand that we are truly in a season of disorientation and accept the fact that for a time things won’t always make sense, that people will behave in ways we don’t understand. In seasons of disorientation we may find ourselves complaining about the current state of affairs. Disorientation is not easy, nor is it comfortable.
Re-orientation can’t be forced into reality. It can’t be rushed. So, what do we do? How do we make it through this time? Perhaps what we need to do, as we stand and stare out the window, is to realize that God stands behind us, calling us anew: “Church – church – church, turn around and look to me.”
Every act of discipleship is preceded by a hearing of that call. So, in faith, let us choose to listen. God is calling to us. And that changes everything.
Know you are loved.