Before I begin, this entire post comes from the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v Wade. If you celebrate that decision, this post has nothing for you; we have no common ground in that regard. You can also add other existential threats revealed by the January 6th Commission, the stripping of vote rights, and six-year-olds telling five-year-olds how to respond to an active shooter unprompted yet we do nothing to increase the safety of our already born children.; if all that sounds like political “Left Wing Conspiracy” stuff to you, this post also has nothing for you.
Today I can do nothing to help or improve the situation. I can do lots of things — write, post on social media, call my congressional leaders, even march and take up a sign — but none of it will actually help. Others have already written the words, social media does nothing but echo and antagonize, my congressional leaders do not care about my opinion because I do not have their letter nor lots of money or influence, and marching today seems like a fools errand if marching weeks ago did nothing.
Some of these things may help tomorrow, or next week, or next month, or in November, but today I cannot change anything.
This sounds fatalist, like I have resigned to this world created by powerful people who claim my religion in name but clearly believe different things about God, government, and love of neighbor — and, for that matter, the nature of our savior — but I have not. Even in my knowledge of the uselessness of action today, my mind continues to run through what I can do tomorrow, next week, next month, whatever. I planted seeds before today that sprouted into small changes in hearts and minds this week. I have started finding the voice I lost over the past two years, and I have started using it.
But today none of that matters. We crossed a line, and today we cannot cross back. I can scream in outrage, I can point fingers and blame, and I point out all the obvious lies, hypocrisies, and wrongs we have pointed out for months and years, but none of that will change today.
So today I cry out to God in anger, in mourning, in sadness, in fear. I cry out to God, asking why our leaders failed us. I cry out to God, asking why people allowed themselves to believe lies. I cry out to God, asking why God’s church has so distorted its reading of the Holy Scriptures to get to this point. I cry out to God, demanding answers and furious at why God allowed this to happen.
Psalm 44 comes to mind. A couple of select verses:
11 You’ve handed us over like sheep for butchering;
you’ve scattered us among the nations.
12 You’ve sold your people for nothing,
not even bothering to set a decent price.
13 You’ve made us a joke to all our neighbors;
we’re mocked and ridiculed by everyone around us.
(Psalm 44:11-13 CEB)
To everyone who will find themselves wanting to call me the awful names you call advocates for women’s reproductive and bodily autonomy rights, this goes so much farther than just abortions. We have no constitutional right to privacy. We have no constitutional right to marriage equality, including interracial marriage. We have no right or expectation that the Supreme Court will follow precedent if it conflicts ideologically with the members of the court. In the immediate term this hurts and threatens everyone physically capable of having a child, but the repercussions will hurt and threaten all of us who do not wield power (which, if you read this, includes you).
God, why did you let your church get sold to the highest bidder, and not just sold to the highest bidder but without actually gaining anything in the process? *
I lament today because all I can do is cry out. I cannot fix it today, I cannot even improve it slightly today, I can out cry out to God and ask why, even if God will stubbornly refuse to answer and refuse to intercede.
We lament to acknowledge, to name definitively our pain and suffering, and to name it out loud for others to hear. We do not lament to fix, and, even if lament can start the healing process, it does on have to. We lament to name, aloud, wrong and evil.
I do not purport to have the absolute prescriptive correct response to today; I did not have my bodily autonomy threatened today, so I cannot begin to say anyone who did should do anything I say. I can suggest, though, that doom scrolling, burning energy writing opinion pieces that echo pieces written over the last fifty years, and getting into yelling matches on social media — unless a couple of those truly help your processing of these things — will only drain your energy and change nothing for the better.
I recommend a day of lament, a day of rest (if you can), and a day of mourning. Action will not help the situation today, unfortunately, but lament may help your heart and soul.
My two cents while I try to process all of this.
* This interpretation of Psalm 44:12 is influenced by Justin Welby on the Everything Happens Podcast.