By Dr. Lakeya Stewart
Brown and black bodies…. That’s what I see. Laying in the hospital struggling to breathe with Covid-19 or laying in the street with a knee on their neck…calling on Jesus has proven to be the only answer. I hear my brothers and my sisters calling upon the name of Jesus to rescue, to save….to deliver. If I could be honest, I have felt helpless when it comes to the untimely deaths of so many people. I don’t think I am the only one.
Mental Health can be such a taboo topic of discussion for the African American Community. I know this is true; however, African Americans have experienced psychological trauma and even PTSD as it relates to the recent deaths. What is missing in our communities is a safe space to process these recent events. These spaces need to include people who are nonjudgmental. It also needs to include people who will be present; yet, who will not fear our emotional response during such gatherings being viewed as hatred of another group. What I am saying is that African Americans have had to bury their feelings, their experiences, and their emotions for far too long. We have been silenced and subjected to the societal standards and expectations of what coping in times of trauma should look like. My professional experience is that the emotional response to trauma can vary for different people based off of things like culture.
Can I be honest? Many of “us” are walking around broken. We are broken in spirit and in mind. It’s evident as we have witnessed the silence of our brothers and sisters who we thought had our backs. It is evident in the demonstrations and protests for social justice in our cities. It is evident by our continued passion to “press on” yet we are empty. We are in need of a touch from the Holy Spirit to renew our strength, to renew our minds, and to renew our souls. We as believers understand that it only takes one touch from “The Master” who is our Savior whom we call Jesus Christ.
Although I may feel helpless, thank God I am not hopeless. We, as children of God, have hope in a Savior with the undeniable power to pull us out of the pit of our suffering…in the nick of time. Although I may be broken as I write this piece, I am reminded of a Savior whose body was broken and bruised for me. I am reminded of God’s endless love and His peace in the midst of chaos.
As we reflect on our current society, I am confident that “my soul will one day look back and wonder how I got over!” I am so glad that I have a Savior who is not limited and restricted by the limitations the world attempts to put on “us”. Through it all, I will rejoice… will you?
-Rev.Dr. Lakeya Stewart, D.Min