My daughter needed my help this weekend. She has some holes in the wall of her apartment and needed to get them covered. When she first moved, it was important for her to decorate her room with pictures and lights. Realizing that she would be charged when she moves out, she had to hide the evidence of puncturing the walls. Spackling paste was a necessity. As we searched the aisles of a local store, we had to find the correct tools to apply the spackle to the wall. Spackle is a putty that allows you to fill holes and small cracks. What makes it special is that it dries quickly and covers up the damage created.
Spackling does not just apply to walls. Life is messy, complicated, and sometimes painful. Life circumstances can create holes in our spirits leaving us exposed and struggling in our hearts and minds. Instead of addressing the root cause of the wound, we often soothe it with temporary coverings. These temporary coverings can start off small. It is taking a bite of something decant here and there. It is smoking (legal or not) because it calms us down. It is drinking a few glasses of wine before we go to bed to relax. If we are not careful, these small moments of pleasure increase and become full blown addictions, but never really addresses the traumas that we endure. More and more organizations are becoming aware of trauma and its impact on its clients. Instead of focusing on what is wrong with a person, it focuses on what happened to a person. Yet, I do not think many of us think about all of the traumas we have encountered especially as Black people in America. We experience triggers and are re-triggered often without even knowing it. We do not feel safe. Our trust has been broken and transparency is often non-existent until caught on camera. As much as the church recognizes the need for healing, it is imperative that we acknowledge the trauma. It also means that many churches must pay attention to the trauma they have also caused through ‘church hurt.’
Trauma is not new. Throughout the Bible, there are examples of Jesus healing those who were blind. Some believed their blindness was just something that happened, others saw it as a sin the person committed or that someone else sinned and their decision impacted the person. In John 9: 3, it states, “As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” In Matthew 9:27-29 there is another example of Jesus healing the blind: “27 And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.” 28 When he entered the house, the blind men came to him, and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” 29 Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.” No matter how it happened, they were still wounded and suffering from the trauma of blindness. They knew they needed healing and something different.
When we hide our wounds with our choice of spackle, we are ultimately experiencing a form of blindness. We are unable to really see how the pain is impacting our lives and those around us. It is important to acknowledge our situation. Instead of covering it up, own it. It isn’t about staying focused on the wound. It’s about focusing on the healing beyond the emotional or physical. Our wounds impact our spirits. Are you crying aloud for help and going after your healing at all costs because you realize you deserve more than spackle as a cover? Do you believe that it is possible to receive healing and knowing that your belief will determine what happens? Believing that God is more than able “to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us…” (Ephesians 3:20-21) Are you working in your own power or in the power of God? If you are working in your power, the spackling putty will only temporarily address the issue. Real healing begins in recognizing that it is available for you-- “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5) Realize the trauma, go get your healing and leave the spackle where it belongs.