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“Falling Through the Cracks”

We have learned throughout this Lenten Compact that a sense of wellbeing begins early in life.  Early experiences of trauma have lasting effects on one’s physical, mental and spiritual development.  Early messages of rejection, incompetence, and failure become the recordings that shape one’s self-understanding.  We live in a society built upon competition and standards and the pressure to succeed.  We have accepted the “Bell Curve.”  Some will exceed and succeed; most will survive; some will fail and “fall through the cracks.”  Though we shake our heads in pity and sorrow, we seem powerless to fill the cracks.  We talk about “falling through” as if that is “just the way it is”–as if there is no other option.

But beneath the acceptance of the “Bell Curve” is an assumption that some people (and some people groups) are superior and others are inferior. In the U.S. which has been built on an assumption of White European superiority, those who fall through the cracks are most likely to be members of communities of color, non-white immigrants and those living in poverty.

A society that accepts the reality of “cracks” and the inevitability of some “falling through” is a society that is mentally ill at its core.  Racism (White superiority) is a mental illness.  Classism is a mental illness.

Is it any wonder that the U.S. has the highest prevalence of mental illness in the world?!  According to the World Health Organization, 27% of Americans will experience a mental health issue each year, and over a lifetime more than 50% will suffer a mental disorder.

Until we name the demons and cast them out, the cracks will continue to exist and we will continue to watch children “fall through them”  As people of faith, we must rise up to stand in the cracks until we can fill them with policies that better reflect God’s heart of justice and mercy.

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One Comment

  1. Well said, indeed…and Freud was right when he wrote ‘The Psychopathology of Everyday Life’ before our time. I, personally believe, this is especially true of males — as we’re too often rigid and out of balance. When someone disagrees with us, we, too often resort to vulgarities and even violence.


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