A letter for when the World is Weeping… (post-Orlando reflections)

by joelmckerrow

Dear friends,

Let us gather. Let us wrap ourselves around the frailty of each other’s light. Hold ourselves as flames in the cold of each other’s loss and confusion. My hands have been frozen by the immensity of this. I need you. You need me. Let us gather.


This world is not an easy place to call home. It is not as friendly as we once hoped for, more broken than we were promised, it crumbles violent around the edges and I do not know what to do with this. How do you hold in your hand that which is falling apart?

Lightly. The answer is lightly. You hold it like feather. Like nest. Like only the birds know. Like parchment. A white knuckled holding to the way we demand it to be shall only schism us further. And haven’t we colonised enough already.

Let us not also colonise the way forward.

Please, do not start with opinions. Not from me or you or any of us. Instead may we start with mourning. A weeping at what is. To lament with those who suffer and not feel the need to qualify our position in the face of their sorrow. No more playing politics with people’s crushed lives. We are sorry Orlando. We are sorry Syria. We are sorry Paris. We are sorry Nauru. We are sorry Palestine. We are sorry Israel. We are sorry.


The art of lament. It is a choosing that our tribe has lost. The truth of an authentic non-denial has been replaced by cliche, greeting card responses, by a silent passivity. Lament, it is the refusal to stay silent in the harsh reality of lost hope. It is not a denial but an embrace of the sorrow that comes with our reality. We may be on the top decks, but the ship is still sinking.

So may lament find its voice inside you. May it break you open. The sorrow and the outrage. The loss. There is so much to be angry about. Do not deny the hot tears that fall from your eyes to stain the ground. Apathy is only ever born of passivity and entitlement. Lament forces us away from this apathy and into a wider field. We call it empathy and it hurts and it breaks and it moves us forward. It calls us into action and change.


So indeed may we weep. May our tears gather like rivers. May we feel their pain. May it become our own. May it stir us into action. May it unfold our lives into something larger than ourselves.

With everything,

Joel Michael McKerrow.