Blessed Ceremony

Tomarra - Bronx, New York
Entered on April 2, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30


Yes, I will head home for the healing ceremony, for the ring shout, for the opportunity to scream my grievances to the heavens and roll over the course of events that has happened; that has brought me to question my faith. For the last two years I have lost loved one after loved one, family members and friends. The one that always returns to the forefront of my memories is the first, the sudden and preventable death of one of my greatest advocates and family members, Michelle. I think of her on holidays, birthdays, when I attend events that I am sure she would have been involved in, at a major accomplishment and of course, at the sound of sudden laughter—constantly—and, of course at the moment of new lost. Whether that lost is of someone or of something, my memories turn to her and the tears and grief began anew, as if a well spring in my soul has opened and within the darkness, and the sheer complexity of my being I am unable to find the source and cease the tears.

Instead, what I find during the search is a lingering memory of Michelle. I do not know why, perhaps it is because I cared for her, held her hand, prayed and fasted for her. I have accepted my loss, our loss as a family because it has taught me the rareness of individuality, of our willingness to give at peril to ourselves, and most of all that those spectacularly wonderful, amazing, personal-characteristics are forged in fire and not in leisure. It is when I arrive at this realization that the hostile, abiding, dank memories of Michelle’s final days are laid to rest in the recesses of my soul, it is then that a feeling of invigoration, of newness, of seeing the first wild flowers in an unkempt field blossom into the pureness and majesty of spring. If a situation arises that we are unable to adequately address, that is fine, because in a moment—of desperation at seeing our worlds clash there is an opportunity for silence: for peace if we just allow it to come.

I am able to breath and know that this moment, of restlessness, neediness, and discontent, it is a moment of ceremony filled with sacrament, observance and finally—celebration. Yes, celebration, one of healing, one of faith, of introspection, and one that confirms that I am indeed alive, pulsating with possibility—viable for healing. I believe that painful loses, battles we are forced to surrender: instances were our finger nails dig in the flesh of our hands; when anxiety mounts in the pit of our stomachs; when we fill that there are no more options; when we are in a sense filled with a discomfort so great and cannot take another sip from sorrow’s well—the healing ceremony has materialized.

Healing in a place of pain seems to be an oxymoron, but it is an altruism that I have come to accept.

It is perplexing that we return to the places riddled with pain, sorrow, aggression, anger, discontent, unrest, to receive a word a from God, to honor those lost only to find ourselves in a healing ceremony. To stand in the midst of a burial ground where those were tortured before being placed in their graves, concentration camps, and caverns built that echo horrific cries of burdens untold. But when we arrive with a prayer and a spirit of thanksgiving for the deceased, I find a peace unknown in the shades of sunset. Brethren and family I am preparing to join you in place of celebration, jubilation, in the ups and downs of life—a place of a blessed healing ceremony.