Process theologians say that God is not a tyrant in the sky whose major preoccupation is with reward and punishment, but rather the spirit of healing and creative transformation at work in the world. God is Love.
In a beautiful music video commissioned by Arena Stage, the Bengsons show how the wounds of pain can become healing balm, revealing a Love that is all around us and inside us, too. It's not that there aren't tragedies in the world. It's not that all things are meant to be. It's not that the Love controls all things. The future is open, even for the Soul of the universe, even for the Holy One. It's that whatever tragedies befall us, there is a Love that surrounds us, a Companion to our suffering, offering fresh possibilities for new songs. The Bengsons sing this truth.
A Process Appreciation of My Joy is Heavy!
No need to pretend that all wounds, of necessity, become balm. There are traumas some people suffer from which they never recover, at least in this life. But some crises - miscarriages, for example - do indeed become balm, giving rise to what the Bengsons sing as "heavy joy." You can dance to this joy, and smile and laugh.
In a heavy joy, so we learn from the performance, the wounds are not forgotten, the memories are not erased. But something graceful and almost magical occurs. They are creatively transformed into something beautiful. The something beautiful may be a feeling, a perspective, a newly found peace emerges. Life becomes poetry again; we recognize that the whole of life is poetry, recognized or not.
I am reminded of the theology of open and relational or "process" theologians, who believe that the very spirit of the holy one, the very spirit of God, is the Poet of the world. And I am reminded that, as they see things, this Poet is present as the spirit of creative transformation at work in the world. Not creative transformation alone, God is also a fellow sufferer who understands. God the deep listening who listens, as the Benedictines say, with the ears of the hear. God shares in all pain, and all joy, too.
But in response to what She hears, so the process theologians say, God plants seeds of hopes in the world, recycled from the tragedies themselves, These seeds, these fresh possibilities, are not all-powerful. People can resist the lure of the spirit. But when embraced, something beautiful happens. A sense of wellness emerges: not the "wellness of the bullshit wellness industry." (thank you Abigail for this phrase) but a deeper kind of wellness: heavy joy. This heavy joy brings with it an insight: that "all of it is love." The Bengsons say this, and process theologians do as well. For process theologians this doesn't mean that everything is meant to be. It means that whatever happens can be creative transformed into some kind of beauty, into a "new song," to quote the Bengsons. And it means that at the heart of the universe there is a deep mind, a deep soul, a healing heart, who is with each and all, with, in Whitehead's words, 'a tender care that nothing be lost." In My Joy is Heavy the Bengsons remind us that nothing is lost. There is a Love that includes whatever pain we and others might undergo, and surfaces from whatever sad depths we might suffer with opportunities for new songs.
"The spiritual practice of transformation holds within its wide embrace the personal renewals that come with a spiritual awakening, a conversion, a mystical epiphany, or an enlightenment. It covers the deepening that takes place when we get in touch with our Higher Self or Spirit.
Transformation usually involves the shedding of old ways, especially those that have become burdens. This practice proclaims that no matter who you are, no matter what has already happened to you, no matter what you have done, it is still possible to be and do something new.
Transformation implies a marked change in your life, but you can practice it by making simple changes. Start by doing something different — walk to work by a new route, answer the telephone with your other than usual hand. Break a habit, any habit. Signal Spirit that you are willing to accept change in your life and to be an agent of change in the world."
- Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat: https://www.spiritualityandpractice.com/practices/alphabet/view/32/transformation