It’s a witches’ cauldron: the Pandemic continues, PPE continues, sickness/death continue, numbers continue, experts continue, media continues. Questions thinned to the nub prick the malaise: Is this the new normal? Will life ever be the same? Have we lost it all?

Such an event dwarfs words, leaves unsavory tastes, stockpiles the many faces of grief within the psyche, and crowds everyone into liminal living, if aware of it or not. No amount of distraction can the mask the profound changes, already in place. Such may eventually spawn literary works, dance and musical performances, should there be sensitive artists to compose them.

Yet, history reveals other catastrophes and those who weathered them.

In 587 BCE, the Babylonian general Nebuzaraddan completed the destruction of Jerusalem, raised its Temple, and forced the Jewish elite into exile, leaving only farmers and the old to tend the land. Such devastation, however, caught the religious imagination of the prophet Jeremiah’s disciples who later composed the Book of Lamentations. With great pathos, they describe the mourning of the city and its people. Yet, their wholehearted repentance and unconquerable trust in God shine through the shards left askance atop each other.

Because of the conversion of life depicted in its five parts, Lamentations is a suitable response to any catastrophe: its truth assuages beleaguered spirits and breaks apart strictures that impede life’s development. If properly understood, such produces a new paradigm, far beyond the ordinary.

This is why our hearts are sick; this why our eyes are dim: because Mount Zion is desolate; jackals roam to and fro upon it. But you, Yahweh, you remain forever…Make us come back to you … Lamentations 5:19.