I'm in a tunnel now, it's one of the grossest ones I've ever been through. By gross I mean extremely muddy and incredibly smelly. It's a tunnel full of sewer that represents the lies, cover ups, manipulation, and deception that has been a part of my life since I came out of my mother's womb. But, I have seen a light at the end of this tunnel. Oh, it's faint alright. It's the size of a pin head right now, but, believe it or not has ever so slowly grown a bit bigger than the pin prick size it once was. It grows with each day I give credence to all that I lost. I've actually been in this tunnel before and found my way out. I had forgotten that the way out was to acknowledge all the crap I had to wade through in order to move forward towards the light. Had I known that I would have to get back in this tunnel again after the first time of going through it I would not have gotten on my knees to crawl through it the first time. Ah, crap, no pun intended here, the truth is that it's probably only the second time of a thousand more I'm going to have to endure. I've now realized that this is just life. Well, at least if I want to actually have a life. A life that can have sanity, peace, serenity and freedom from the past. If I continue to honor my life altering, painful experiences than I will walk into the loving warmth of the light and the truth for longer periods of time. Yep, something else will inevitably come up again that I will have to grieve, but the louder and prouder I am in those moments of heart ache the longer spells of walking into the light I will be blessed with. The abundant life that God promised me is hard won because it takes the courageous step of picking up the crap that fills the tunnel and grieving over each loss that it represents. I am so thankful God has also provided others to go through this tunnel with me. Some of you know who you are, and some of you are my "secret" angels. You may be a stranger to me, but you have said something profound from the radio of my car speaker, or simply gave me a warm smile when we passed in the mall. These things, however small they may seem, were gifts to me. They were arrows pointing the way out of the darkness. I cherish them and pull them out when I'm feeling particularly afraid to take the next step forward. Then there are those of you who have willingly gotten into this tunnel with me. I am forever changed by your Christ like love and compassion. You have been Jesus to me. Your sweet embrace of all of me is the very fragrance of unconditional love. It fills my nostrils with a heady aroma of hope and goodness and kindness. You have held my hair when I needed to "barf" up the broken pieces of my life and you have held my hand as I wept over it all. And now, here I am again, needing to take another step towards the light. I decided to do this on my blog today. I'm afraid of the consequences, but I don't want to hold this in any more. Somehow that makes it feel more like a lie, because a lie is essentially hiding the truth. When the truth is hidden there is a covering over. There is darkness. So, for this moment, I am going to uncover the truth. I am going to take another step towards the light.
I was born to a mommy who didn't know how to bond with her children. She tried her damnedest, bless her heart, but she was so broken from the neglect in her own childhood that she was never able to truly connect with me. Oh, she could sure make me look pretty on the outside by buying me nice clothes and she could brush my hair until it shone, but those are all very robotic types of activities. What I'm talking about here is a heart to heart connection. An ability to reach into my heart and wrap it up with hers. When I became a mama that was the first thing I noticed.... I felt such a tremendous connection with my babies. And I felt them connect with me immediately. I could see in their eyes that their world revolved around me and damn if I wasn't going to do EVERYTHING in my power to really KNOW them. And that's when I had to grieve again because I remembered that I never felt truly "known" by my mama. I always felt like I was falling when I was a child. I remember such insecurity. Who was going to catch me? Mama, mama, where are you? My heart cried out for her. Will you come and hold me? Will you come and just sit by my side? Will you listen with your heart and not just your ears? OH, mama! I needed you. Perhaps this is one of the reasons I am so intrigued by the research that I discovered this year. It seems that when a child is able to bond with a strong and confident mama who models strength and resilience they have a much lower chance of being abused. OH, snap! You see, I was molested starting at the age of four and it continued until I was 17 years old. There is a long list of horribly damaging situations I faced and I will spare you the details, but it radically changed my life. Now, I have experienced healing and I've come to realize that part of that healing is recognizing that my innocence was taken from me. God heals and restores, but the fact remains that there are consequences that can't be reversed. Once you have been violated it is seared upon your brain and your heart. It hurts like I imagine hell to be and it leaves one feeling so naked, vulnerable, and really pissed off. I was violated in a way that NO child should ever have to endure. It felt as though they reached inside and pulled out my spirit, trampled on it and then threw it away. The great news is that it only felt that way and isn't reality. I know who holds my spirit in His loving hands. But, I wouldn't be "in the truth" if I didn't share how it felt. So, these horrific sexual crimes that were committed against me have been looked at extensively. They have been pondered over and responsibility has now been placed where it belongs, on the offender. And now I am in a new and different place. Now I find myself walking down this same journey with my nieces. I watch as they have begun to take the first steps toward the light. It sucks. I know it is the way out, but it sucks. It rips at my heart because I know how painful this process is. And yet I am so proud of them for their incredible bravery and courage. Where does that come from? OH, if I could only express the intense love and commitment I feel to them. There really aren't any words. There lives are so precious to me and I want to cover them with the gift of affirmation. I want to shout from the roof tops, "Vera and Gretchen, I BELIEVE YOU! And I am so angry at all that you have lost!!!! Oh, Dear God, rescue my precious ones." Most of all I want them to know how incredibly sorry I am that I wasn't able to intervene sooner. I would give my right arm to turn back the clock and swoop up my little Vera girl the moment she confessed that she was molested by her father. OH, Lord, it makes me sick to even write that. I have to hold back the vomit. What betrayal! Is there any other betrayal more horrific than this? I am shattered inside to say that there is because there is the betrayal of a mother who never took the steps to stop it. And this means it was allowed to happen over and over and over and over again. And because there was not a swift and immediate end put to this horrific crime there was another precious girl brought into this world who also fell victim to the same heinous crimes. Why???? oh, why???? Do you know how good it feels to call what happened to them a crime? It was not allowed for so long to speak the truth of what occurred in the home of my beloved girls. But what sweetness it is to hear the Prosecuting Attorney state the facts in black and white. Well, really, he is speaking the truth. The truth is that, oh if I can even write this without puking! The truth is that the crimes committed against Vera and Gretchen were child rape and child molestation in the first degree, people! I mean, come on! How in the world do I wrap my brain around this? Well, I have to! I have to go there so that I will give them the honor of grieving this horribly destructive thing. It is so painful to realize that the people you love were also stolen from. Their innocence has been taken and now they will have to crawl through this shitty tunnel as well. AAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHhhhhhhhhhh! That is the sound of the primal cry of my broken heart. I will cry for you, Vera and Gretchen. I will hold your hair as you vomit all of this heart ache and hold your hand as you weep over all you have lost. I will be strong for you and I will embrace you every day for as long as I have breath. I will walk into the light with you.