Last night I heard a news story about a baby Orca that had gotten separated from his mother. He was out in the ocean crying mournfully for her and fishermen heard the high pitched wails coming from the sea. Orcas stay close to their mothers throughout their entire lives so the baby was quite distressed.
To help the baby, they moved the whale along until it could join a pod of other whales.
As I sat listening to the recording of the little guy wailing, I thought, “How we all lament. If even an animal cries out in anguish, why do we not give ourselves permission to do the same?”
In today’s sanitary culture of cognitive behavioral therapy, where we are told our thoughts influence our feelings and behaviors and thus if we but master our thoughts, we can manage our feelings, I reflect on that little Orca and think, “What a load of crap!” Sometimes we need to just cry out. There are some dimensions of experience that can only be expressed in a moan.
A theologian friend of mine the other day, recognizing my rationalizing over a profound wound in my life quietly said, “You know, Lise. God does let us down. You can admit that. It is okay to say, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?'”
Perhaps that little Orca knew that he had permission to cry out. Perhaps he was simply acting from instinct. But there are places where the intellect has no defense. Where the only words that voice truth are those of the poet or the mourner. And sometimes that is, “Better than a hallelujah” (Amy Grant).