WorshipWeb: Braver/Wiser: A Weekly Message of Courage and Compassion

Called to Heal

By Melissa Jeter

“Healing doesn’t just occur in the present. When you heal a soul wound, you heal the people who came before you.”
―Resmaa Menakem, in My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies

The leaves are falling, but I live in what seed companies call Zone 6 and I can let the plants produce more vegetables if I hold out until the first week in November. I recall when I sowed, nurtured, and cultivated these seeds, in a small raised bed, to this present unwieldy bunch of plants. I had to hold on as seedlings broke through. Not all of the seeds survived. It took a while to get here.

A broad, green leaf held by a Black woman's hands. A small tattoo of a heart is on her wrist.

Here is the time and space where everything feels heavy: the fall is when I feel the anxiety and the heaviness in my chest. Fall is the time that one of primary caretakers died, my paternal grandmother. I was four years old. Here is the time I recall going to school for the first time. Here is when I went to a new school at thirteen years old and experienced pain and racial conflicts, and learned to deflect harm from all the bullies. Here is when my father died. I try to concentrate on my breathing, just to make sure I am breathing.

Here is when I heard Love say, From now on you will begin to remember. Somehow, love was planted in me. Now as I gaze at the ripening vegetables, I feel Presence and Wonder. I recall my father’s stories of his mother’s mother, and how I look and act like her. Love is reaching through the generations with expectations that I live through challenging times. Hold on, I tell myself. Heal these wounds.

This year is no different than past seasons of dread. Change. Anxiety. Culture Shock. I am not exceptional. No one is exceptional. Change is constant.

I’m gonna hold on in the transition. I choose to change. In the stillness, I reach back to reconnect to my first caretakers’ love: seeds sown in me long ago. I want the harvest of that love. I want everyone to have the Presence and Care of Love. It should just be permaculture for us all.


In the stillness of fall, let us harvest healing for ourselves. Let us hold on as we change. May we keep growing and changing and emerging. Let there be Presence and Care of Love for us all. So be it.

About the Author

Melissa Jeter

Melissa Jeter (she/her/hers) is currently a full-time seminarian at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio as well as a full-time librarian in Toledo, Ohio. Melissa is the student minister affiliated with First Unitarian Church of Toledo.


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