Some days are harder than others.

I won’t go into detail, except to say I was recently witness to a relational meltdown. It was loud, ridden with expletives, and incredibly sad. At times I stood between my two friends. Near the end we found ourselves seated, one crying, another staring into space and me, quietly and painfully aware of having no idea what to do or say.

I wanted to help. I hoped to calm the tension. I desired to speak the kind of words that might shift the conversation into being constructive versus destructive. I opened my mouth a few times, but not much came out. Instead I ended up listening. I heard things that made my heart hurt, and they weren’t even directed at me. I started to silently and repeatedly pray four words: “wisdom, safety, healing, peace…God give us wisdom, safety, healing, peace”.

Some days all I can do is lament.

On Sunday we sang a song that includes the lyric, “how long before the weeping turns to songs of joy?” That’s what I want to know. That’s what I’ve been asking since my friends and I parted ways, each in a different direction. That’s what I pray for in my own life when things are just heavy and hurtful and hard. I suspect that many of you can relate.

I sometimes fear lament. I wonder if I’m a failure at gratitude if I lean toward despair. But somehow I think the two go hand in hand. And on a day like the one I’ve described here, lament seemed the only thing I could do. Having been tongue-tied through most of the situation, I was able to weep and whisper to each of them about how sorry I was for their pain. Nothing was fixed. My four word prayer hung heavily in the air.

Like I said, some days are harder than others. Some days call for lament. And some day, I hope the weeping really will turn to joy.