AN UNLIKELY BALM

I’ve been trying really, really hard to find joy these days. I take care of my soul. I take care of others. You know, all the right things. And they work. But it seems things are getting WORSE all around, so it’s hard to find joy “out there.”

Our world is reeling in profound pain, loss, hurt, and disappointment. Every day the news gets worse. Proverbs 6:16-19 is a list of things God hates. The news seems to be a daily vomit of those very things. I’m incredulous that we’re in this mess…and that massive nastiness is being inflicted on others.

I need a balm of hope right now. A healing salve. A guiding principle for the next few weeks. I prayed for this.

A few days ago, I read Charles LaFond’s piece called “On Disappointment.”

Here’s a summary.

“In order to metabolize disappointment, we need resilience…and resilience is like a muscle. It gets stronger as you use it.

We humans avoid feeling disappointment by grabbing some form of anesthesia to dull the pain. (But) we will continue to feel the pain until we learn the lessons.

Hurt and loss are “dark gifts.”

Perhaps if we feel our pain more, we will inflict it on others less.”

So God answered my prayer. He sent me an unlikely balm. I was looking for a way out of my pain and as it turns out, the message is to feel my pain. To understand hurt and loss as dark gifts. And to just accept that our country will continue to feel the pain until we learn the lessons.

People, dig deep. What do we need to learn? Nastiness, bullying, retribution, violence, and tit-for-tat pain infliction aren’t the answers. They self-perpetuate. They are never ending. Feel that. Accept that.

The answer is of an entirely different nature. It’s about a love that heals. Our country and our people need healing. An old African-American spiritual, based on Jeremiah 8:22, captures it best. And the wonderful Mahalia Jackson sings it best.

There is a balm to make the wounded whole. I believe this with all my heart.

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