Spiritual Affirmation

The Gift Of Healing In Times Of Grief

by Rev . Louis Mitchell

Sirach 38:16-17

My child, let your tears fall for the dead, and as one in great pain begin the lament.
Lay out the body with due ceremony, and do not neglect the burial.
Let your weeping be bitter and your wailing fervent; make your mourning worthy of the departed,
then be comforted for your grief.

Most folks I know were deeply jarred by the massacre in Orlando. And most remain traumatized by the heartless responses or absences of a response from their places of worship.

I imagine that it would be very hard for a minister, who has either been deeply homophobic or in that shadowy “don’t ask, don’t tell” place that many churches exist in, to suddenly speak up for a bar full of gay, queer, trans, ally folks who also happen to be predominantly latinx.

But isn’t that the courage that a life in Christ demands of us?

If the only thing that can be safely said is that we mourn both the losses at Pulse and the opportunities we lost to know and love these people and others like them—that would be a start.

Learning to hold grief and pain has been the graduate level lesson that many of us have learned—a series of tutorials that we neither wanted, nor consented to.

For some of us, we continued to grieve Orlando while remembering and grieving Charleston. Left to try to stand in the chasm of our intersectional lives, feeling set adrift from many shores. Trying to stave off the tears long enough to show the connections between the two to people who refuse to see us except as we meet the need of their particular cause.

Very different groups of people, but similar circumstances. 

One a gay club on Latin night. The other a Bible study.

Both places where people went to be in community together, to be safe, to be restored in some way.

Both killers spent time with their victims and were made to feel welcome.

Both came with an agenda to kill.

Both came with fear and hatred in their hearts and

both turned their fury on people who they had learned to see as unworthy to live.

I have no answers to our seemingly unrelenting grief, but I can offer space, a kind and tender energy, a word of prayer, a safe embrace. Will you join me in offering these things to those in your spheres?

It may be the only healing we feel on any given day. 

No deep theology here. No amazing feats of intellectual prowess. Just a simple gift. Offer it, receive it—may it begin or further the healing that we all need.

Photo via flickr user Victoria Pickering

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Comments (2)


What a wonderful reflection
What a wonderful reflection on grief, and how many times some of us have endured that same grief. All because a person feared us for our differences. To tolerate me for my differences is not enough any longer. But that requires a constant vigilance on grief and how it creates us into being fully human or destroys our souls. Thank you for reminding me.

Charles Pack

Thanks for the insight.
Thanks for the insight.

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