A Day of Lament

Today is Maundy Thursday, and I’m so glad it’s here. Finally, a day dedicated to lament and sorrow.

All my favourite people are broken. 

But there’s enough sorrow in the world today. Why dwell on it? Why give it any more space?

Optimism has its place, but so does lament.

Believe me, my heart should know.

Maundy Thursday saved me a few years back, when I couldn’t deal with all the joy, celebration, and sentimental hope of Easter. It felt too obnoxious, too in-your-face to my still-broken heart. The celebrants and messengers of hope meant well, but they spooked me to retreat further back into the darkness.

Is each wound you’ve received just a burdensome gift?
It gets so hard to lift yourself up off the ground.

In the darkness I found there was a place for me: a space for my sorrow, a language for my lament.

As for your tender heart, this world’s gonna rip it wide open.
It ain’t gonna be pretty, but you’re not alone.

For the uninitiated, Maundy Thursday is the night before his death when Jesus prays in Gethsemane, which literally means “the place of crushing.” He is being crushed under deep emotional pressure, because he knows the pain, betrayal and death that is coming. It is also known as “Holy Thursday” or “Thursday of Mysteries.”

I like “Thursday of Mysteries.”

Orphaned believers, skeptical dreamers step forward.
You’re safe right here, you don’t have to go.

There’s a time for everything, and optimism has its place for sure, but trying to stay positive in the midst of global-scale tragedy and catastrophe can be exhausting. So I am leaning into the spirit of this Thursday of Mysteries, giving time and space for grief and lament personal losses and disappointments:

  • I didn’t get to enjoy the cherry blossoms in Vancouver this year.
  • My favourite trip to Whistler for the World Ski & Snowboard Festival was cancelled… the whole festival and the rest of the snowboard season cancelled.
  • The spring motorcycle trip that is not to be, and being separated from my motorcycle that’s still alone in storage.
  • My summer of guiding adventure road trips on the east coast, that I have been looking forward to so much, delayed indefinitely.
  • Financial planning and goals for the year pretty much entirely out the window.
  • I miss my friends and family SO MUCH.

These things may seem trivial in comparison to the global scale of human catastrophe happening right now, and to the accompanying daily diet of anxiety and fear, but it’s important to give them space nonetheless. You have to breathe out before you can breathe in. Grief carves out a space for hope to fill. But you can’t gloss over the hard parts. As Robert Frost famously wrote, “The only way out is through.”

So on this Thursday of Mysteries, as we go through this together, I offer you space and a song.

The song is the one quoted here in the italic parts, and in full down below. It’s an absolutely beautiful song perfect for this day, read it over and/or play it on repeat today. 

The space to lament, if you wish, in the comments below.

We’re all workin’ the graveyard shift, you might as well sing along.


“All My Favourite People” by Over The Rhine.

All my favorite people are broken
Believe me
My heart should know
Some prayers are better left unspoken
I just wanna hold you
And let the rest go
All my friends are part saint and part sinner
We lean on each other
Try to rise above
We’re not afraid to admit we’re all still beginners
We’re all late bloomers
When it comes to love
All my favorite people are broken
Believe me
My heart should know
Orphaned believers, skeptical dreamers
Step forward
You can stay right here
You don’t have to go
Is each wound you’ve received
Just a burdensome gift?
It gets so hard to lift
Yourself up off the ground
But the poet says, We must praise the mutilated world
We’re all workin’ the graveyard shift
You might as well sing along
All my favorite people are broken
Believe me
My heart should know
your tender heart—
This world’s gonna rip it wide open
It ain’t gonna be pretty
But you’re not alone
‘Cause all my favorite people are broken
Believe me
My heart should know
Orphaned believers, skeptical dreamers
You’re welcome
Yeah, you’re safe right here
You don’t have to go
‘Cause all my favorite people are broken
Believe me
My heart should know
Some prayers are better left unspoken
I just wanna hold you
And let the rest go

fox in leaves.jpg
A rare glimpse into my journal. Artwork from “The Fox and the Star” by Coralie Bickford-Smith.

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