I’m not sure what to write about today, so I’ll just write. It may be brief today since I’m feeling a bit like taking a nap, however I’m curious to discover what story is trying to break through fertile ground that feels like the seedling of a prayer.
I’m sitting in the Holocaust Museum’s lobby in Los Angeles waiting for my husband who is screening a feature film about the Holocaust, and then leading a discussion. This is part of his job distributing a film for the production company that produced the film, which has been a blessing in that he’s met many brave Holocaust survivors and their passionate advocates. I’m sitting on a black leather couch writing since I’ve already seen the film several times. Before me is a wall of television screens of interviews with a hundred or so Holocaust survivors. All I see when I look up is a mosaic of faces with mouths moving since the volume is muted. I don’t even need to hear their stories, the images of these elderly survivors with moving mouths is enough to know this is a wailing wall. The wall is like a voiceless poem, or a silent prayer.
The Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, actually called the Western Wall, is a limestone remnant of the Second temple Rome destroyed in 70 C.E.. Although its most holy to the Jews, it’s also a place where visitors from worldwide follow in the tradition of stuffing written prayers in a crack in the wall. I’ve read that every few days a caretaker collects hundreds of prayers, bringing them for burial in an ancient cemetery on the Mount of Olives.
It seems its human nature from generation to generation to share our prayers in sacred places and spaces. Today in America we write prayers in private journals, worship in fellowship or create hymns and songs to commune with our God. Our Jewish forefathers recited prayers throughout the day and met in temples as many observant Jews still do today, or like King David, wrote Psalms filled with sacred poetry, song and laments we’re blessed to read today.
Sometimes this blog for me is a wailing wall of sorts, a place I reach deep into the silent cries of my soul for words that make meaning of my suffering, of faith and faithlessness, or of the world’s pain. Or it’s a place I worship the shining light of God’s truth, where I search for truth in the Word of God. Our blogs become places we gather to tell our stories, and these stories in turn become like prayers. Stories, whether in the form of poems, blogs, movies, or song make sense of the human condition, of both our suffering and our joy. And it’s in these stories we reach one another across centuries, borders, or through the Internet like we’re holding hands, as if in communal prayer, trying to make sense of it all.
It’s said the Bible is the greatest story ever told, a story of creation, of rebellion, redemption and resurrection and new life, it’s like the great grandparent of wailing walls, and of prayer.
What is your wailing wall? How do you best pray? What is your story and how can you see it as a prayer?