As I tried to look for the relatively universal patterns and rhythms that seem a part of a good life, I focused first on the important range of options that we need to respond to life and all it lays before us. These options kept falling into three categories: celebrating, lamenting, and accepting. When any of these are missing or are undeveloped, there seems to be an imbalance in life – we cut part of ourselves off.
So these first three rhythms reflect our basic responses to life: to the world we inhabit, to the people around us, to the situations we find ourselves in, and to God. These responsive rhythms are all interconnected, even overlapping. Celebration is our acceptance and affirmation of the good and the beautiful. We ache when see the beautiful if we cannot somehow celebrate it. We must give thanks, partake, take note, engage with that which calls forth these kinds of responses. If for too long or too often we are not able to celebrate, the aching will make us shut down and deny the reality of the deep beauty in the world. We must give voice to our ‘yes’ about all that is right in the world.
Likewise, lament is the expression of our journey to accept the reality of suffering and pain. As we lament we work at sorting out the realities we fight to change and the realities we know we must accept. Either way we admit the reality of that which troubles us, smites us, and oppresses us. The shout, the dirge, the sorrowful song are the cries of the heart as denial gives way to truth. So the lament gives us courage—courage to work for change or courage to submit.
Strands of acceptance, then, are woven through all the responsive rhythms and, in a sense, sum them up. We enter into a deep honesty in how we face life, with all of its challenges and limitations, and come to peace with it all.
You can continue to explore these rhythms by checking out some of the quotes, films, books etc on the top menu or the related blogposts under categories on the right. If you’re interested in the book, you can find a link for that on the right as well.