Sometimes it’s something we see on the news in our media’s Whac-A-Mole approach to pseudo-reality. Sometimes it’s happening in another part of the world – absurdly horrendous and obscenely blasphemous violence in Iraq, Syria, Gaza, Ukraine, Honduras, northern Nigeria, South Sudan, the Central African Republic.
Sometimes it’s the everyday inhumanity nearer to home – a neglectful disdain toward the working poor, an open scorn for the homeless, the incarceration of immigrant children, minimal and minimized wages, wage theft.
Sometimes, to use an outworn biblical phrase, it’s time for us to gird up our loins. Sometimes we summon up the strength of purpose to work with allies to resist violence and injustice. Sometimes we discover within us the sturdiness of soul to stand in solidarity with the most neglected, ignored, dehumanized, or abused. Sometimes we dig deep into our emptiness to bring courage and compassion to our loved ones when they most need it.
And sometimes we become deflated. We ask with the Psalmists: how long, O Lord (Ps 13:1)? Why do you stand so far off (Ps 10:1)? We make the words of the Book of Lamentations our own: I am the one who has seen affliction (Lam 3:1), and I can’t do a thing about it. Sometimes we have nothing but our weakness to share, nothing but our paralysis to prod us, nothing but our spiritual exhaustion to breathe life into others.
Sometimes we hear the echo of the famous third chapter of Ecclesiastes that to everything there is a season. And sometimes, as it says, it is nothing but a time to weep (3:4). Sometimes, some nights, some days, for a part of last night, for a part of this day, it’s that time for me.
And yet I know that sometimes something about such nights and days is holy.