Always at dusk, the same tearless experience,
The same dragging of feet up the same well-worn path
To the same well-worn rock;
The same crimson or gold dropping away of the sun
The same tints—rose, saffron, violet, lavender, grey
Meeting, mingling, mixing mistily;
Before me the same blue black cedar rising jaggedly to a point;
Over it, the same slow unlidding of twin stars,
Two eyes, unfathomable, soul-searing,
Watching, watching—watching me;
The same two eyes that draw me forth, against my will dusk after dusk;
The same two eyes that keep me sitting late into the night, chin on knees
Keep me there lonely, rigid, tearless, numbly miserable,
—The eyes of my Regret.
~Angelina Weld Grimké “The Eyes of My Regret”
How granular they feel—grief and regret, arriving, as they do,
in the sharp particularities of distress. Inserting themselves—
cunning, intricate, subversive—into our discourse.
In the long night, grievances seem to multiply. Old dreams
mingling with new. Disappointment and regret bludgeon
the soul, your best imaginings bruised, your hopes ragged.
Yet wait, watch. From the skylight the room is filling with
soft early sun, slowly sifting its light on the bed, on your head,
a shower of fine particles. How welcome. And how reliable.
~Luci Shaw “Sorrow”
It’s now been a interminably long three years: millions of people sickened by a virus that could kill within days or simply be spread by those unwitting and asymptomatic. We’ve lived through shut down of businesses and schools, hospitals and clinics being overwhelmed, and hoarding behavior resulting in shortages of products addressing basic needs.
Now that I can look back with a bit more perspective, I know my first reaction was fear for myself and those I love. My words flew out too quickly, my anxiety mixed with frustration and anger, my tears spilling too easily. Like so many others, my work life forever changed.
I ended up lying awake many nights with regrets, wondering if I should be doing more than just telemedicine from home, yet wanting to hide myself and my M.D. degree under a rock until the unending viral scourge blew over.
Yet amazingly, miracles of grace in many places:
generous people full of courage made a difference in small and large ways all around the world. Some took enormous personal risks to take care of strangers and loved ones. Some worked endless hours and when they came home, they remained isolated to avoid infecting their families.
Such grace happens when hardship is confronted head on by the brilliant light of sacrifice. I am deeply grateful to those who have worked tirelessly providing care and compassion to the ill. Their work is never done.
We know, in His humanity, Jesus wept, in frustration, in worry for His people, in grief.
His tears still light the sky with a promise of salvation as He assures He won’t leave us alone in darkness – our regret dissipates with the dawn.
This year’s Barnstorming Lenten theme is taken from 2 Corinthians 4: 18:
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.