This month's host, Karen, has invited us to reflect on virtues. She sent us a list of them and asked us to choose from the list or write about another virtue.
Last week my church group talked about the second of the Beatitudes, "Blessed are those who mourn." It was encouraging because I have been mourning lately for many reasons. It doesn't feel blessed to mourn. It feels cursed sometimes. Mourning isn't on the list of virtues, but Empathy is. Feeling the pain of others is not a comfortable experience, but it is a virtuous one. Sincerity is also on the list, as are Authenticity and Honesty. In times of mourning, we should aim for joy, but not for fake cheeriness.
When I read the book of Psalms, I see a true presentation of emotions that are not all positive. It's OK to express those emotions to God. In Psalm 69, David wrote:
"Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me. I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God. More in number than the hairs of my head are those who hate me without cause; mighty are those who would destroy me, those who attack me with lies. ... But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness. Deliver me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters. Let not the flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up, or the pit close its mouth over me. Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good, according to your abundant mercy, turn to me. Hide not your face from your servant; for I am in distress; make haste to answer me."
(And that's all before he gets to the imprecatory part, where he's asking God to make life difficult for the people who have wronged him. Yep, that's in the Bible too. Again, he doesn't have a problem telling God what he's really feeling.)
Here's to the virtues that hold on when times are tough. Here's to Patience and Tenacity and Fortitude. Here's to keeping on asking God for help, continuing to trust. Here's to climbing, muddy and exhausted, out of the mire, sometime really really soon.