It is late in the evening and the car's tires begin to slip from the rain that covers the road. Slowly, but in the blink of an eye, the wheels catch the edge of the road and the car is pulled into the ditch where the driver begins to lose control. The momentum of the car carries it into a parking lot where the weight of the car pushes itself into other parked cars and dislocates them from their resting place causing damage and injury to those who were returning to their parked cards.
The pursing scene is full of mayhem as the first responders try to determine who is the most severely injured and if everyone is accounted for. People who witnessed the accident have gathered around and are helping to pull people from the crash scene and take them to the surrounding ambulances. It will take some time before this long night comes to an end and all the unknown pieces can be put together to determine what happened.
Then, suddenly, the driver of the car climbs on top of the hood of his car and starts to yell to everyone that it is time to heal.
There is talk brewing about how it is time to heal our nation. While healing is never something we would reject, is does beg the question "is now the right time to expect healing?"
If healing is the process of making or becoming sound or healthy again, where does the process of healing begin?
Does healing begin at the crash scene or does it begin in the hospital once all of the victims are receiving care and their wounds are identified, addressed, and given time to begin to close?
Or, does healing begin when those victims of the car crash take their first step towards home knowing that they are safe, the crash scene is far behind, and the risk of being in another accident is gone?
We all long for healing. We all long for things to be made new again.
We know that restoration does not mean that we will not carry the scars of the crash.
However, can we heal if the wounds are never addressed?
Can we heal if we don't understand what caused the driver of the car to loose control?
Can we heal if we don't address the systemic need for guardrails on roads like that one where the crash occurred?
Can we heal if we do not acknowledge that there were victims at the crash scene who will carry those wounds back home? Once they are home, do we understand that those wounds will continue to affect others in their homes and communities for potentially years to come?
Healing takes time.
Healing requires space to acknowledge the full impact of the crash.
Healing requires that all of the victims have the things they need to begin the process of being made whole again with an understanding that some may never be 100% again.
Healing requires we address the things we can control to ensure they can be prevented in future.
Healing requires we understand why the driver was on that road traveling at that speed that evening. Was it carelessness? Were they qualified to drive? Did the car have mechanical problems? Was the car stolen? Did the driver fully understand the power they were responsible for?
It feels like this accident happened yesterday, the day before, last week, last year, sixty years ago, and has been happening over and over again for the last 500 years. It is obvious that we still are in great need of healing, but it is also obvious that we are far from finished at the scene of the cultural car crash we are all experiencing.