“How long must I bear pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all day long? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?” (Psalm 13:2)
In his book, My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies, behavioral therapist Resmaa Menakem writes, “Trauma is the body’s protective response to an event that it perceives as potentially dangerous. We can have a trauma response to anything we perceive as a threat, not only to our physical safety, but to what we do, say, think, care about, believe in, or yearn for.”
In danger’s wake, our brains embed trauma in our bodies, which can manifest for years as pain, fear, anxiety, reactive behaviors, even violence. Trauma remains until it is exposed, named and addressed.
To heal from trauma, our minds and bodies must embrace and experience a sense of safety. We have to disrupt the narrative of threat. The promises of God’s love, grace and provision can serve as our disruptive, healing story. The Easter narrative unfolds a dangerous plot with a brutal death. But life emerges after brutality. Resurrection restores us to healing and hope. God’s love and grace have the last word.
Examine: Sit with your trauma narratives of threatening danger. Breathe. Notice thoughts and feelings that arise. Notice your body’s response.
Imagine: Pay attention to your breath, pulled in through your nose, filling your lungs,, released through your mouth. Experience the life-giving quality of this breath. Imagine this life-giving oxygen as God’s love surrounding you, within you, flowing through every deeply held trauma. God’s love protects and provides for you. Feel God’s embrace. Relax in this space of safety.
Pray: Free me from pain, O God, so I can live with healing.