Lamentations. The Biblical chapter, tucked between Jeremiah and Ezekiel, wails at the fall of Jerusalem, because Jerusalem has become a filthy thing among them. If you replace “city” with “country,” a certain mood might be set for this brumal season.
How lonely sits the [country] that was full of people! How like a widow has she become, she that was great among the nations! She that was a princess among the cities has become a vassal.
The markets are soaring (along with gas prices) and much ink is being spilled on the prospect of the future (of civilization?) (democracy?)(nuclear war?)(human rights?) Some relish the idea of toppling, deconstructing and laying waste to a civil society that has become (in their view) depraved, unholy and unorthodox. Words have had their day. Truth is subservient to the loudest and most repeated voice. Facts are subordinate to convenience; whether or not it serves an end.
In a reading of Lamentations, depending upon your point of view, the current state of affairs is the perfect upheaval needed to right transgressions. For vast as the sea is your ruin; who can restore you?
Who indeed? We are crossing a frozen river in the middle of a thaw. Ice, that has piled into heaps, is unstable, footing treacherous, constantly moving, making each footfall a decision, like Eliza’s passage to freedom. With wild cries and desperate energy she leaped to another and still another cake – stumbling – leaping – slipping – springing upwards again! Her shoes are gone – her stockings cut from her feet – while blood marked every step… (chapter 7, Uncle Tom’s Cabin) But she made it across on her journey to freedom.
Who indeed? In President Obama’s farewell address, he made it clear. We the people. We determine our morality first through moment by moment awareness. We, who are individuals first, then connect as families, communities, nations, humanity. Keeping the vision close, examining our own motives and actions is a daily practice, provides some solace when uncertainty challenges stability.