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A retelling of Psalm 116: For when you can’t go on

Photo by Isaac Quesada on Unsplash


Beloved, awaken my soul to your calming presence. AHH! I am NOT CALM!

Beloved, I have run out of words. Really, I have run out of polite words.

Beloved, I want to scream, “This f**king sucks!”,
but your people in your holy place tell me that’s not allowed.
Unbecoming of a young lady.
Not appropriate.
Not pastoral.
Not prayer.
Not good.
Not ok.

Beloved, I love you because you will not forsake me, even when I am wretched.
You call my feelings valid, and my deepest, truest self, loved.
With you alone, I can be upset and scream and cry and pound the ground.
My grief does not make you uncomfortable. My pain doesn’t make you squirm.
It would be a lie to say I’m fine. Everyone is a liar. I am tired of these lies. just. so. tired.
I’m tired of injustice and racism. Tired of systemic poverty. Tired of disease and death and war.
I’m tired of the hate, the violence, and I’m really tired of the apathy. Have we all gone numb?
Death surrounds me and shackles me with depression and doubt. I am so tired of these lies.
Beloved, save me!

I can’t go on.
I can’t work like this anymore.
I can’t function at home like this anymore.
I can’t.

I’ve tried all of the things.
I’ve diffused lavender essential oil to calm the air.
I’ve binged watched the “Great British Baking Show,” again.
I’ve eaten another pastry and put on my comfy pants.
I’ve taken another walk around the same stupid block.
I’ve downed another glass of water with lemon and lime and cucumber.
None of the things are working. Nothing is working. I’m not working.
I’ve taken three deep breaths… ok, not really… but I am breathing.
Breathe. Beloved, just let me breathe!
Beloved! Breathe. In. Out. Just breathe.

There you are. As close to me as breath. As near to me as my beating heart.

My soul finds rest in you, Beloved.
In you, there is calm, assurance, love, and peace.
In you, there is righteousness, mercy, kindness, and grace.
In you, there is enough. Enough breath. Enough space. Enough.
You love and protect ordinary people, like me.
Again, you save me from self-destruction.
My tears dry up, my hands stop shaking, and my feet find solid ground.
I can smell the lavender now.
The water is refreshing.

I will walk by your side in the land of the living.
I will invite others into the awareness of your presence.
I will pour wine, and pray and sing, worshiping you, Beloved.
Holy is your presence among your people from generation to generation.
I will light a candle as my mother and grandmother did before me.
Beloved, let my candlelight the way for your people to gather in your presence.
May my offering to you be thanksgiving and praise because you dwell in every heart.
I will tell of your goodness to me in all your holy places.
I love you, Beloved.