I grew up on a steady diet of television. It was an affordable babysitter for my stressed-out and overworked single mom, it was a great place to launch my endless energy and need to sing, dance and mimic, it was common ground for my understanding of the world at large since my world at small was often too difficult for me to attempt understanding. And it implanted many things inside of me, including the great philosopher "The Fonz" and his call to "Just Sit On It". (insinuated multiple and derogatory meanings aside for today......thanks!)
Until this morning, it never occurred to me the necessity and importance behind the need to just sit on something - not solve it, not overcome it, not rage and war with it, but sit on it, with it, around it. I am fond of being a problem solver. I love fixing something. I can counsel a rabbit out of it's hole and a needy friend into a new career or relationship, and on many occasions have been known to bake a problem away or scrub a floor while solving any number of crises.
But yesterday, I just got hit with what I can only refer to as "The Great Overwhelm"!
In Krista Tippett's brilliant book Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living she writes:
"An African American pastor tells me that the greatest breakthrough was having a politician who was willing to sit with people's pain - just that. Not, in the first instance, to present a policy or a fix - but to acknowledge that damage has been done and dwell with it, let it be in the room, accompanied, grieved - lamented, in the ancient language of the prophets..........It sits uneasily with instincts we honed in the twentieth century to wage war on our problems.....War takes anger and ambition as its fuel, deferring lamentations, sidelining grief along with compassion."
And so today, amongst so much madness and sadness and grief I choose to sit with it, sit on it, sit in it and lament. Children being tormented for the sake of political gain, citizens of this country doing and saying things that contain not a single drop of empathy or humanity, hubris and bombastic rhetoric from politicians, the list goes on and on. My modern mentality is to wage war, but for now I am looking to the language and practices of the ancients and dwelling in the sorrow of it all, believing hope is present even in the grief and even amongst the overwhelmed.