“There is a balm in Gilead To make the wounded whole. There is a balm in Gilead To heal the sin-sick soul.”
-African American spiritual
Oh, dear God, how I need your balm. How we need your balm.
I was not expecting such grief. But I felt a deep sadness as I watched documentaries, read other perspectives, and listened to the stories of our brothers and sisters of color. These voices and stories are new to me—hearing about harsh experiences of Native Americans, Blacks, Latinos, and Asians. Maybe this is one reason that whites are reluctant to revisit history with new eyes. It is hard work.
In my training, I’ve learned that grief is the natural human response to change and loss. While delving into our country’s racial history, I realized that my understanding and beliefs have been challenged to change. It’s not that the history that I learned was necessarily wrong; it’s that it is incomplete. Wide swaths of human experience have been omitted, and a lot of it is heartbreaking and hard to fathom.
I am not who I thought I was. Our country is not what I thought it was. But I can be and we can be. With God’s help.
Our culture shies away from grief. But we ignore it at our own peril. If we ignore it, deny it, or numb over it, it festers. The only way through it is to acknowledge it and carry it. This is how we heal.
Thankfully, we don’t heal by ourselves. We have one another. The Holy Spirit is always at work. God is a Great Healer, healing our brokenness and repairing our relationships. Love is breaking through in ways we cannot see and everyone is invited to be part of the healing.
There is a balm in Gilead, and it’s among us and within us. Thanks be to God.
What grief are you carrying? How can you become part of the healing process for yourself and others? Bring it before the Great Healer.