Lamenting the Unspeakable

The shootings in Colorado, call us again to face what we can only call the Unspeakable.  To name it gives it shape, to fight it definition, when in fact we are up against the borders of being–the abyss that eats away at the Good creation God has given.  Our only response can be the response of our ancestors in the faith–to lament.  In lament we mourn, we do not answer, we do not reason, we do not try to make sense of what is senseless–seeking some motive that might give a twisted rationality to it all.    In lament we sit, weeping in sack cloth and ashes, called again to the humus from which we came.

So today, resist sitting around and speculating, wondering why such things could happen or why the gunman did what he did.  Instead seek silence, it is in seeking silence that we answer the Unspeakable by saying its name.  And then out of the silence pray the only prayer we can ever properly say, “Lord, have mercy.”  Make this prayer a prayer you try to say with every exhale.

Go slowly.  Today is a time to take time.

About Ragan Sutterfield

Ragan Sutterfield is a writer and Episcopal seminarian sojourning from his native Arkansas in Alexandria, Virginia. He is the author of Cultivating Reality: How the Soil Might Save Us, Farming as a Spiritual Discipline and a contributor to the book Sacred Acts: How churches are working to protect the Earth’s climate. Ragan’s articles and essays have appeared in a variety of magazines including Triathlete, The Oxford American, and Books & Culture. He works to live the good life with his wife Emily and daughter Lillian.