[I wrote this as part of a splinter of writings for an ongoing lent series of posts. I'm not sure all of this really qualifies as "lent writings". -at lest to me. I hope you can gain something of value from them, anyway]
When I started telling a few people the darkest chapters in my story… well first off it was frightening. This was an “all about me” part of it. The root question was: “how am I gonna be effected?” Though it fleshed out as: Will they want anything to do with me? Will they tell anyone? Everyone? Will they feel the need to touch me? [since I tend to relive the abuse when I tell of it, I’m not very fond of direct skin contact with anyone. During, & for some time afterward.]
So after telling someone. They called me one day & told me that they found out that my abuser was going to church now. They were upset. I accidentally slipped into therapist mode. “So… how does that make you feel?” This person said: “I don’t want Jesus to save them.” Me: “…awe, I’m so sorry. That’s not how this works.” “But it’s not fair. They hurt you. They should suffer. I so wish I could erase it. I want them to die.”
I began to pick these apart. Which, if you don’t mind I will now do here.
“But it’s not fair.”
Dying on a cross wasn’t fair, either. The one man, who never did anything wrong. Died, for all the rest of us. Who will never get it right. If life wasn’t fair to it’s author… what do you think your odds really are?? If life was fair… we should all, right now, pack up & go to hell. All at the same time. Each of us by ourselves. THAT would be “fair”. So it’s ok to say “life isn’t fair”. We should just say it with a little more enthusiasm. Because thank God life isn’t fair. I get to live with God, in his kingdom… & that’s… not fair. [to him. Thankfully, he’s not complaining]
As I’ve been sharing more about me, I’ll add one more to this part.
A friend of mine, from high school, we… we “had it out”. Knock down, drag out, hate your guts fight. Minus fists. Years later, we sat in my car. At the top of his parents’ driveway. “B, how can you forgive me? I was so cruel to you. I haven’t been there for you. I caused you so much pain. How can you forgive me?” As tears ran like twin rivers down his face. I said the first thing that came to mind…as my own tears joined his.
“I don’t know….tell you what. The next time you sit & pray. Ask Jesus how he can forgive me….when you get my answer, you’ll have yours.”
They hurt you. They should suffer.
If I had the power to resurrect people from the dead. I could kill & resurrect my abuser, for the sole purpose of killing him in every way known to man.
However……. This would not make me feel any better. It would not take away what he did to me. How hurt I was. How damaged I felt [sometimes still feel].
Killing my abuser doesn’t fix anything. It does not heal anything. There. Is. No. redemption. In. This. Whatsoever. It erases nothing.
I told my friend this way. “what’s really gonna get you is this: Would I be the person you love… if I had not walked this path?”
Would I still care, so very deeply for others, if I had not been violated in this fashion?
Pain….. changes us. As much as I feel so weird about my story. The “heaven & hell” of it. I’m glad for it all. It’s helped me to listen to the things others don’t want to say. I have been able to let others “come out of their closet”. You would not believe how great it is… To. Just. Be. You. To let others just be themselves.
Thing is, I pushed down, I hid my abuse so well, I actually forgot it happened. On the surface, anyway. I hid who I was. What could possibly be helpful about that? I have great parents. I felt like I had no real story. So when one friend said to me: “my coming to faith in Christ is boring.” I could relate. [how weird is that?] Then, when I began to remember I told him. I worked up the nerve to loose him & then told him. For me, that’s what I had to do. Every person I told I thought: “This is the end. They won’t want me once they know.” I have been surprised at how wrong I was. It doesn’t make it easier. I could have told someone this year about it. Someone who could really relate, & I didn’t. And I drove home, an hour one way… partly sad & let down. Kicking myself for not waiting around for them to be done talking to other people so that I could talk to them. Really talk to them. And give them the chance to care. And I cannot get that back. I may not get the chance again. So that’s a “missed opportunity”. Yet, I got good ones too.
Ones where I got to listen.
To one person, when I was small. Tell me about an experience that I would later come to know as Emotional Abuse. “I wish my parents would just hit me, then I could get taken away from them.”
Another person, who said: “My Mom died 4 days before I turned 16. It was the best present she ever gave me.” She was emotionally & physically abused.
When I was a part of P.A.L.S. at school [PALS = Peers Aiding & Lending Support] a “peer counseling group”. I got to talk to someone, at lunch. “I don’t know why I’m telling you this. I just feel like I should, like I can. will you pray for me, B? I just found out I have cervical cancer.” A peer. A teen. A single teen. “I know why you told me. Can I ask my mother to pray for you? See. My Mom’s Mother died of ovarian cancer. When I was four. Her loss, her mourning, is my earliest memory. She will be able to pray in a way that I can’t.”
See? Your story helps my story. My story. Helps someone else’s story. Our stories belong together.
And Jesus’ story connects us all. He gives all of us, all of our stories value. He connects us all. Stories & all.
As great as those last sentences are. They are far easier to say, type, & post here….. than they are to live out. As I’ve read the book Purpose for the pain, I came to a scary conclusion for myself. This is one brave girl, letting others read some of her darkest thoughts/experiences. And. It. Helped. Me. Immensely. Now… I feel an understanding of why it might be important to write out my own story. To share my own “private hell”. I was asked on Pinterest: “If people know this of you why would they want to add anything more to an already troubled past??”
Me: “I'm not entirely sure I understand the question. No one MADE me read this book. I felt drawn to read it. [for years, actually.] Before I got it this January. I recently finished reading it. And have started over reading it again. I haven't even found a way to really describe what God has "done to/with/through me" as a result of reading this book. Sometimes reading a book like this. Watching a movie like Gimme Shelter or Short Term 12... [how do I convey this?] It's like needing dough. Massaging your soul. It takes the hard lump of clay & begins to make it pliable. So it can become more than it has thus far been. These stories don't "add darkness, or depression" to my "troubled past". They help me to let go of the "balloon" of that darkness so that it can float away. And, perhaps, one day my own dark story. Can release someone else. [scary as that feels to me right now] It's ok if this makes no sense what so ever.”
However. I think that one of the best reasons for watching/reading a hard story is best expressed by a story Jamie Tworkowski told once. He asked Renee Yohe why she wanted to watch Walk The Line. Her answer is priceless: “because if Johnny Cash can overcome addiction, than maybe I can too.”
This is what makes some stories worth the time. The courage of the character, can give me courage too.Well, I’m going to post a poem here, & be off.