Saturday, February 28, 2009

Doin' the DO Feb.28: More Whine, Please

Psalm 43 Judica me, Deus

Give judgment for me, O God,
and defend my cause against an ungodly people; *
deliver me from the deceitful and the wicked.
For you are the God of my strength;
why have you put me from you? *
and why do I go so heavily while the enemy oppresses me?
Send out your light and your truth, that they may lead me, *
and bring me to your holy hill
and to your dwelling;
That I may go to the altar of God,
to the God of my joy and gladness; *
and on the harp I will give thanks to you, O God my God.
Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul? *
and why are you so disquieted within me?
Put your trust in God; *
for I will yet give thanks to him,
who is the help of my countenance, and my God.

There are penitential Psalms. There are cursing Psalms. And then there are some of my favorites -- kvetching Psalms.

Psalm 43 is a fairly mild example; but you see what I mean. "Why are people so mean to me? Why is everything so hard? Why do I feel so bad?"

I'm typing this as I lay on the sofa, swaddled in a lovely quilt we purchased from our Ladies Aid (who never got the memo back in the 80's that this was a politically incorrect name for their group). I have a hoodie over my head, gangsta-style, and am sucking down a hot mug of ginger-lemongrass tea to break up the bronchitis that seems to be creeping into my chest. I'm bone-tired; utterly spent from spending the better part of today at the funeral home.

I have no profundities to share; no somber reflections on our fleeting mortality and the wisdom of numbering our days; no memories about my aunt that I care to write about now. Because, right at this moment, it's all about me.

To me one of the great things about Psalms as devotional tools is their bold honesty. There's no holding back even one's darkest lizard-brain impulses. Psalms whine; they pound an alpha-male (or female) chest-thump; they wish violent death on the little children of enemies.

But it's worth noting that, in all of this, the Psalmists don't stay turned inward on themselves; they always inevitably look outward to God. "This is me. This is my mess. Help me."


Crimson Rambler said...

I do so hear you -- the all time fave at my house is, I think, 88...

Diane said...

ooh, just led a class in Psalms, talking about the laments, I wish I knew your phrase "the kvetching psalms".

We had a good discussion of private and corporate lament.