How can we go on singing?

Honestly. Sometimes when I sit down to write my weekly column I feel guilty. Our shattered world needs infinitely more than I offer. But there I go, every week for more than twenty years now, flinging out my five-hundred words to a few gracious readers. That’s you, there. Unfolding your newspaper or clicking on your mouse(pad), taking five minutes of your irreplaceable gift of time to read Sunny Side Up.

Who do I think I am to imagine I could offer any fresh salve, anything that could soothe, much less heal, even the tiniest of wounds? How did I get this gig, anyway?

I know others who do this so much better. Especially during weeks like this one, in a pandemic season like this one, when much sad has been unleashed. Weeks that, nevertheless, are filled with a good life that demands living. A song that needs singing, paintings that need painting and children who need embracing.

And so, as at other times; Oklahoma bombing, 911, Humboldt, the South Asian tsunami; the devastating and disabling diseases, even deaths, of my own beloveds (two decades is a big pot), I find myself often singing. Whistling. Even laughing, as I did with my daughter recently, over five balls of yellow fluff, peeking out from under their mama’s ample wings, in the safety of their chicken coop. My daughter, homeschool mom of six, schoolbus driver—and her own heart is breaking over the macabre Kamloops finding of the remains of two hundred and fifteen residential school children. Enough to fill a small fleet of school busses.

God never intended the human soul to be so conflicted. To withstand the repeated tension of happy, sad, happy, happy, sad, sad. Nor the likes of me to fix it. But there he goes again. Handing me (and many other writers and speakers) a pen. Reminding us that he told us to write truth. Reminding us not to stop, even when the words come hard as iron in need of Holy Spirit fire for bending.

It’s so tempting to stop, isn’t it? No matter who you are, or what usually fills your days. Pausing is good, and necessary. To place two hundred and fifteen pairs of children’s shoes beside tiny lanterns all in rows. To say a prayer. To beg forgiveness. To remind ourselves to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our Creator alongside families who have hurt for generations over their lost children.

Mere words won’t help. But Jesus Christ, the living Word, Son of God, God himself, does, can and will hold hurting hearts. Will tenderly lead them through this sorrow; just as he has accompanied countless others through the ash heaps of their own lives. Weeping at the atrocities sin—even that of those who call themselves Christians, has caused in his beautiful, beautiful world.

That alone is what can carry us. That is how we can go on singing. We are never alone. We must live and speak truth. And trust that in God’s time, his justice will fall like rain.

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