We’ve been playing it since the dawn of time and by now the Blame Game is in full swing pretty much everywhere on the planet. For many these days, the first reaction to anything that is perceived to be even slightly less than perfect is to start pointing fingers and firing away. The more tragic the event, the sharper the rhetoric becomes. The assumption being that if we can pinpoint how and why this horrible thing happened, lay that at the feet of the responsible party or parties and make them do something about it, then we’ll feel better and everything will be ok.
I wanted that more than anything when my husband was diagnosed with Grade 4 Multiforme Glioblastoma and died just two and a half months later. I wanted to know exactly what had caused this so I knew where to dump all my sadness and rage, and who I could force to “fix it”. This wasn’t supposed to happen, and the idea of making somebody (if I could just figure out who!) “pay” for it was very attractive. Except it simply wasn’t possible. There wasn’t enough time to search out all the dots, let alone connect them to document cause and effect. And while I hate, hate, HATE the fact that none of us (especially me!) saw this coming in time to do something about it, (and yes, I’m shouting! I’m shouting! I’m SHOUTING! just like Tim Curry at the end of the movie Clue), blaming myself did nothing to change the outcome, and it will not bring him back.
I’ve been reliving all that and more as I make my way through the last half of March, which is, for me, a train wreck of those anniversaries no one wants to mark, but you can’t stop thinking about. It’s complicated enough as it is, but this year I’m walking part of this path during Holy Week, which deepens the pain of all those experiences a thousand-fold. Not only am I mourning Bill’s suffering and death, in the Scripture readings for this week Jesus is suffering and dying too. Good Friday? What’s “good” about it? Not much from my vantage point. Except…. Everything. Without Good Friday, there is no Resurrection, and God knows I need one.
My emotions are all over the map: a curious mixture of anger, hope, relief, despair, anticipation, disbelief, sadness, joy, and anything and everything in between, much like the feelings Jesus’ disciples and followers experienced in the days between Palm Sunday and Easter. I never know which one will pop up next, which makes every interaction and conversation – even the ones I have with myself – an adventure. I’m treading carefully. It is what it is and I can’t change my circumstances, but I am working at being mindful of my reactions so I don’t make things even worse. I’m reminding myself to stop; to breathe; to pay attention to what’s swirling inside my heart and mind as well as what is going on around me, and to own whatever is there so I’m engaging life from a place of authenticity.
I’m also trying to remember that (especially when I’m already on emotional overload), I don’t have to take on everyone over everything. There are times when it is necessary to confront things head-on as Jesus did the moneychangers in the Temple. There are also times to play the “not my circus, not my monkeys” card. Or, as Solomon put it, there is “…a time to be silent and a time to speak…”
Some days are better than others. I’m accepting those as a gift, and for the days that don’t go so well, I’m hanging onto the words of the prophet Jeremiah, himself no stranger to adversity, suffering, loss, and pain:
“…the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; God’s mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning…”
Each day we are afforded a fresh start and another opportunity to treat ourselves and those around us with compassion, grace, mercy, honesty, and integrity; to “…do justice and to love kindness…”
How will you do that today?
How will you be a living, breathing manifestation of Resurrection and New Life in our world, which so desperately needs it?