Healing During the Holiday

February 21, 2023

BATON ROUGE, LA. – For many, the holiday months of November and December can be the most devastating and loneliest. It was this mindset that prompted the Faith Seventh-day Adventist Church’s pastor, Darriel Hoy (pictured center), to host the recent Sabbath afternoon seminars “Surviving the Holidays with Hope and Healing” and “Mourning and Manhood: Black Males and Grief.” The presenters were Allen Mitchell, D.Min., New Orleans Children’s Hospital senior staff chaplain and wife, Jacqueline Mitchell, Chaplain and Bereavement Coordinator of Serenity Hospice, LLC in New Orleans (pictured left and right, respectively).

Jacqueline Mitchell’s “Tips for Making Change” included “advise those in distress to stop comparing their situation with everyone else’s, seek professional help by having critical phone numbers readily available, recognize and utilize the strength in your own faith.” She emphasized, “God sees and cares about what we are experiencing and wants to help us; so there’s no reason to grieve as those who have no hope. And don’t forget the children who need an outlet to express their grief.”

Allen Mitchell began by identifying the emotional upsets Black men face beginning with detachment from family. Churches can change this mindset, being careful to avoid incorrect discipline. We were reminded that Jesus experienced trauma as evident in Isaiah 53:5, thus He can identify with our pain. Many men avoid grief through silence, secrecy, action or anger. But everyone [who is] grieving is not depressed. Men learned that crying can be therapeutic. Black males have been taught to suppress grief, a factor in depression. Mitchell’s remedy for helping others overcome depression begins with “building rapport, identifying the issue, giving the person in pain an opportunity to tell his story and dealing first with one’s own issues before tackling somebody else’s.” His closing remarks included a quote from Allen E. Lipscomb, PsyD, LCSW, the creator and writer of The BRuH Approach to Therapy: Bonding, Recognition, Understanding and Healing, “Grief work is hard work, but worth it.” We thank Hoy and her guests for their seminars of healing. 

By Evelyn M. Edwards