*In my country, Canada, we have been bleeding truth. Using radar, 215 bodies of buried Indigenous children were located on the grounds of a former residential school, and we know there must be more. Every country has a turn at bleeding truth, though, doesn’t it? So this prayer is ours.
Spirit, sometimes I can’t find the right words anymore—Words calling us to holy love, holy healing, holy justice. Words including and respecting, seeing and grieving. Words saying that we care about what we didn’t care about before. Words holding people close while You speak truth that collapses us, undone, unhappy, and unable.
Spirit, sometimes I don’t want to find the right words.
Who will we be once they’re spoken? How will we be when the great task we’ve carried and nursed and protected and saved all these years and last week, too—toiling against too little of everything we need and grasping after every scrap of familiarity we can to manage a lonely faith filling up with fears and illnesses and death and old powers gone. Platonic crevices opening up between people over what is real and what is not real and we fall in pointing fingers all the way down and down and down.
But I’ve always loved the words, Spirit. Loved them so much. They went out one day speaking and I heard them and never looked back. Holy love, holy healing, holy justice are why I’m here at all. They searched for me and found me and told me something I never imagined for myself, that Your story was about me and I could take Your hand and step into it. You showed me it was also about him and her and them and everything in all creation.
It is a good story, still. A loving, healing and just story. A story strong enough to search for graves of dead children in my country, my province and find their names and carry them to families mourning for decades uncomforted, families who said from the beginning their children had vanished and asked, “Where are they?” Holy, holy, holy.
Spirit, give me words, holy words of love, healing and justice to open sacred wounds wider for cleaning and dressing and closing with grace. It’s what I do. I do words.
But not now.
For now, Spirit, give me humility to make my silence sacred, listening to those who had the words before, already, and still.
Diane Strickland is in her 33rd year as an ordained minister now serving in The United Church of Canada as retired clergy. She is a Certified Community and Workplace Traumatologist, Compassion Fatigue Specialist-Therapist, and Critical Incident Responder, Author and Creator of Trauma Informed Ministry Resources.