Friday, January 27, 2017


       One of my favorite Far Side comics is that found above. On the surface it's simply funny, especially when you note how small is the questioner's head; it wouldn't seem to take Mr. Osborne very much to fill it. Yet I think that we often do run into situations where our capacity to take things in is smaller than that amount being given. Or, to use a different, and more current, analogy, my suspicion is that many of us, these days, are feeling a bit like a boxer who has been in the ring several rounds too long. Whether its a matter of the political climate, racial or religious tensions, or, has been the case at DU over the last few weeks and days, deaths of community members -- regardless of the circumstances, we want to yell "I yield!" or "Enough is enough" or "My soul is full. May I be excused."
      And as I've tried to imagine what a good response might be to situations such as these, two things among the many suggestions for stress relief have stood out. The first seems very appropriate for Coloradans, and, I think I have mentioned it before:  Hiking!  Getting outdoors. I've added a video clip below on research from a couple of years ago from some Stanford scholars addressing the benefits of being out of doors. 
       A second, probably much less employed, response these days is the "lament". A "lament" is a prayer that arises out of grief or pain. About a third of the biblical psalms are laments. Indeed there is an entire book in the Hebrew Bible titled "Lamentations". And one of the features of the lament is that anger, pain, frustration are all directed to God. My experience, however, is that many people today are not ready to be angry at God, or at least to let that rage be expressed. The biblical writers had no such qualms. The big questions of "Why?" or "Where are you, God?" are often so much at the forefront of our feelings, but repressed out of some false sense of religiosity.            A practice I've tried in the past, and I think I'm ready to start again, is to take the opening verses of Psalm 22, and add to them my own lament. It has helped me get my feelings of frustration and anger out of my heart and onto the page. And once I can see them, their power over me diminishes a bit.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
     and are so far from my cry
     and from the words of my eistress?

O my God, I cry in the daytime, but you do not answer;
     by night as well, but I find no rest.

Of course, if writing/journaling with these verses as a prompt doesn't work for you, option one above is a good fall-back. Taking a hike is always good medicine.
       Be well, good people.      



PS:  If you would like to comment on this reflection, please surf on over to my blog "On a Bike and a Prayer" at

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