I watched the funeral for His Grace Bishop J. Delano Ellis, II and marveled. I was sad, crying, and grateful. In the same week of his passing were the passing of Superintendent Eddie Whitelaw, husband of the incredible teacher/preacher Prophetess Sharon Seay Whitelaw, and the announcement of the grand jury’s decision in the Breonna Taylor case. It was a tough week, to say the least. Add to this also the news of departures of people I did not know whose announcements were on my social media timelines.
I attended an evening meeting on the day of the Breonna Taylor grand jury decision announcement. The facilitator opened by asking this meeting of African American women how we were feeling, and gave us space to share if we wanted. My turn came and I told them, “I decided I am not crying today.” The grief for me hasn’t stopped since Botham Jean and Atatiana Jefferson, although it’s eased some.
In my prayer and meditation time I sat before the Lord. I asked what is really going on right now. I asked how I should govern myself when I am out in public in my city. I asked Him what He is going to do about all of this. I acknowledged that He must have a bigger plan at work; He just has to have a bigger plan.
The broader you are in your mindset, the more adaptable you are in God’s service.Bishop T. D. Jakes
Bishop T. D. Jakes eulogized Bishop Ellis and among many perspective changing statements said, “The broader you are in your mindset, the more adaptable you are in God’s service.” I will likely be working through this statement for years. But for now, it hints at the formative work of grief and grieving. In the process of adjustment and recovery, I learn to release, receive, grow, and thrive again. I learn to respect the void that a departure brings — however close or distant an acquaintance. I allow for the homing of new ideas and a renewing of the mind.
We cannot escape grief and grieving. That is, the event and the process. I find that the grieving I have done over the last three years or so have carved out places of care in me that force me to pay attention. In my 20s and early 30s I prayed for God to temper my speech. What discipline could not do, grief and grieving accomplished. I am aware of and sensitive to the grieving process like I have not been before. COVID deaths. Natural cause deaths. Violent deaths. Trafficking deaths. The Lord is KIND to touch our hearts to extend care and prayer to others.
During this same eventful week I listened to a meditation. It was called Connected from the Inside. Change happens from the outside in, and from the inside out. The initial breathing exercise was to imagine on the inhale that I was breathing in support from my huge network of people I’ve ever met directly into my heart. Right! My defenses were gone! The idea that as one part of a HUGE network or web of all the people I have ever met… I had to imagine all the people in my life who supported me. All the people whose actions inspired me, pushed me… breathing their support into me. It helped. It helped a lot. And became a fast tool for the grief and the grieving. On the exhale, I released care and gratitude.
This is the Word made flesh. Selah.
Dr. Shaunta Scroggins is the founder of The Bereans’ Commentary.
Educator - Advocate - Writer
"In the darkness of night, I wait expectantly for understanding and knowledge for your people."
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