The Weight of the World


Sometimes I feel like the character May in The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. In this fascinating novel, May is either emotionally high or down-in-the-pits low. When she’s feeling sad, her sister August tells her to go out to her crying wall. In the chinks of this stone wall are many pieces of rolled-up paper on which May writes down whatever is troubling her at the time. It’s her family’s version of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.

I don’t have a crying wall exactly, except for my journal and sometimes my blog. (Apologies to my friends who have read more than one variation on this theme.) Maybe it’s just the weather today…I’m looking out my office window at yet another gray, gloomy sky…but I am feeling weepy today. I suspect it’s more than the weather, though.

The thing that gets to me is that I think about a lot of stuff that happens in life—to the point of obsession. I suspect the reason I’m feeling weepy today is that I’ve seen too many pictures of devastation in Japan, I’ve passed too many homeless persons, I’ve read too many accounts of  friends suffering losses or facing eventual loss, I’ve seen too much meanness in the way we humans treat our fellow citizens on this planet. I take these things into my heart. I pray about them and try to release them to God, but sometimes I just have a hard time letting go of the sorrow.

I have decided that rather than deny my sadness, I might as well accept it. Incidentally, while I was thinking about this very subject, my eyes fell on a magazine on my desk. It’s the current issue of Alive Now, a publication for people who enjoy poetry, photography, art, quotations, and short articles about the spiritual life. Today this magazine is my friend, because the theme of the March/April issue is “The Gift of Sorrow.”

Sorrow as a gift? Hmmm…it doesn’t sound like a very pleasant gift to receive. It’s not something you ask for, but definitely something every person gets in this life.

I read the last stanza of “The Gift of Tears,” a poem by Marjorie J. Thompson. It was the medicine my soul needed today:

What is it that makes me weep?
The tears of grief weigh down a soul
but tears of joy buoy up the heart
with gratitude to heaven’s very door.
There is so much more.
–From Rhythm and Fire. Copyright © 2008 by Upper Room Books. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

This weepy feeling will pass. I hope my heart will always be tender toward others. I resolve to explore some creative ways of expressing my emotions so they don’t stay locked up in my mind and make me crazy. Writing is definitely an outlet. Soaking up poetry and art and nature’s beauty are other sanity preservers. Now, if I could just encourage my inner artist to come out and play a little more . . . stay tuned for Grandma Moses. 😀

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3 thoughts on “The Weight of the World

  1. Anne,

    I have often compared myself to Mary in “The Secret Life of Bees,” so I completely understand your feelings. Sometimes the devastation in life can seem like a lot; not just in natural disasters, but even in, as you mention, how we treat one another. But happiness can be just as overwhelming, in a good way, as Marjorie notes in her poetry. Thanks for expressing something in writing that I have only ever thought about in my head.

    Joanna

  2. Pingback: The Weight of the World | Alive Now Blog

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