The Sorrowful Path: Embracing Grief in the Shadow of Dragons
It is evident that our world is beset with perils and evil, akin to the dragons and serpents that serve as potent symbols of death and devastation in the Old Testament. In contemplating the conflicts and chaos that plague our globe, it becomes a sorrowful exercise to acknowledge that such strife seldom spares the innocent and often consumes the lives of the young and defenseless. Nonetheless, it is also true that, were we to cast our minds back a century and a half, our awareness of global sorrow and strife would be far less immediate. The intricate details of tensions and conflicts in lands distant, such as those between Hamas and Israel or Ukraine and Russia, would not be as readily at our fingertips. News would travel slowly, and our concerns would be more local, more intimately tied to the lives of our immediate neighbors and their individual challenges and quirks, rather than the broader strokes painted by the actions of national leaders.
In reflecting upon the current state of our interconnected world, it occurs to me that we may be attempting to reconstruct the Tower of Babel in a metaphorical sense. The advent of continuous media coverage and the expansive reach of the internet have woven our lives into a tapestry of global immediacy. The trivialities of celebrities’ lives are as accessible to us as the air we breathe, yet we often remain uninformed about which shampoo we use daily. The bizarreness of legislators is at our fingertips, but the stories of those in our immediate vicinity, like the man who seeks food on the street corner, remain veiled in obscurity. This thought leads me to consider our collective ensnarement within a virtual matrix, raising the question of whether extrication is possible. While some may suggest that the solution lies in the Christian faith, a discourse emerges on the authenticity of the representations of Jesus within the socio-political arena. The Jesus presented by various political and cultural factions, which seems to wield religion as a means of asserting dominance and moral high ground, appears to diverge significantly from the essence of His life, death, resurrection, and his teachings. The challenge, then, is to discern the authentic message of Jesus amidst the cacophony of our politically and socially charged interpretations.
Building on this notion, I believe the path out of the ‘matrix’ may indeed lie in embracing sorrow. This thought is encapsulated in the briefest of verses from the New Testament: “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). Facing the news of the death of his friend Lazarus, Jesus showed us that before action, there is a time for grief. As someone who strives to emulate the way of Jesus, I find myself too often rushing to action—eager to solve, persuade, donate, shelter, or declare. Yet, I’m reminded that the first step towards healing may simply be to share in the sorrow of those who suffer, to weep alongside them, acknowledging their pain. It’s in this shared humanity, this collective mourning, where perhaps we begin to find our way out of the shadows cast by the proverbial dragons and serpents that surround us.