It’s my turn to write a blog for this page and I am stuck – at a total loss of words. The discovery of the bodies of 215 First Nations children at the Kamloops Residential School is too fresh, too raw. It has taken over mind, heart and spirit, making it frivolous to write about another topic as if nothing has happened, yet impossible and inappropriate even, for me to write about. So I am struck silent.
I realize that’s not a bad thing. Advice from an Oblate friend reminds me: “Sometimes,” he said, “things are so bad, so unbearably awful, that, taking our cue from the psalmists, all we can do is bow low, put our heads to the ground, and wordlessly, lament.”
To lament: to express deep sorrow, grief, or regret. That instinctively feels right – an appropriate response to this tragic discovery. But even here I am stuck. How do I express sorrow, grief and regret when I don’t have words? How am I to lament when I know the truth of the adage, “Talk is cheap.” I don’t want to add to the barrage of empty words that inevitably follows such events.
A second wisdom figure comes to mind. “Prayer,” St. Therese of Lisieux wrote, “is a surge of the heart.” That fits for me because, really, my heart is full – of such a complexity of emotions that they cannot be put into words. There’s a tsunami in there, truth be told, waiting to be let out.
So there it is – an inadequate response that is all I can manage. Be silent and bow low. Place my head on the ground and my lips in the dust. Allow my heart to surge. Know that I am in solidarity with all who suffer and mourn and grieve and cry out to God. And stay there, for as long as it takes.
By Sandra Prather, HOMI