Recently, a friend asked for prayer after receiving bad news from her doctor. As I read through my “quotes notebook” for something appropriate to write in a note to her, I came across advice from Anne Lamott I had copied from one of her essays, “Wailing Wall,” which helped me write my own note and is helping me in my daily dealings with my friend.
“What can you say when people call with a scary or heartbreaking prognosis? You say that we don’t have to live alone with our worries and losses, that all the people in their tide pool will be there for them. You say that it totally sucks, and that grace abounds. You can’t say that things will be better down the road because that holds the spiritual authority of someone chirping, ‘No worries!’ at Starbucks, or my favorite, ‘It’s all good!’ at the market. It is so not all good. And I’m worried sick.
It’s fine to know, but not to say, that in some inadequate and surprising ways, things will be semi-okay, the way wildflowers spring up at the rocky dirt-line where the open spaced meadow meets the road where the ground is so mean. Just as it’s fine to know but not to say that anger is good, a bad attitude is excellent, and the medicinal powers of shouting and complaining cannot be overstated.”
Some thoughts to think on this Thursday evening…