I suspect most people experience a sense of loss and gain in varying, coinciding degrees. But for many, the loss can sometimes feel much bigger than the gain. This is often true of sexual trauma survivors who have felt the loss of childhood, the loss of innocence, the loss of dignity, and most crushingly the loss of the self. And yet, if we are on this planet to grow and to learn about love, there seems to unfortunately be no better teacher than suffering to educate us. And with such education, there is enormous gain. Indeed, it is no coincidence that so many of our greatest heroes have suffered immeasurable setbacks. I am reminded of course of the 11 women and 8 men who courageously and generously shared stories of recovery in my book, You Can Help. How thankful I am on this Thanksgiving Day for each one. Indeed, when we are reminded of the possibility of healing and redemption, we are all better for it. It is for this reason that we love stories where the underdog triumphs or the loser becomes the winner. We are those people. Today I was reading more stories of hope and healing compiled by Stacy Morrison for the Joyful Heart Foundation. I am thankful for these accounts too and the inspiration they bring. I am thankful to remember that large spiritedness, extraordinary sensitivity, and compassionate generosity frequently are born of horrendous pain. Loss and gain.
POETRY & PONDERINGS
I love poetry and I believe it provides an entrance into deep and difficult themes. For many who have been sexually victimized, their trauma has been shrouded in secrecy. By sharing my own struggles and aspirations, I hope to shed light on some of the issues we grapple with and most of all, I hope to encourage survivors as they courageously strive to create strong, healthy lives despite the obstacles.
Thank you for travelling with me on this path to healing.
Many of us are feeling heartbroken over the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh. The question is: what can we do now? On Thursday, it was the anniversary of the birth of St. Francis of Assisi. In June I was in Assisi and his sweet spirit permeates every winding street. The prayer for which he is best known seems pertinent today...
Where there is hatred, may I sow love,
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is despair, hope...
LUCK OF THE DRAW
For awhile now, I have found myself wishing to view the abuse I suffered as just one aspect of my life (albeit a very important aspect), rather than the major driving force it has been for many years. This change speaks directly to how much healing I have experienced. So as you read my recent poems, I beg you not to see them as some Polyanna interpretations of the horror that accompanies sexual trauma. Rather, may they act as beacons of what is possible when we tenaciously and courageously travel the path to recovery.
Within that context, I am sometimes astounded by the realization of how lucky I am. So many others on this planet struggle fiercely without hope. By embracing my blessings and gifts, I am fortified in my ongoing task to let go of the past and live in the present. May this be true for you also.
I asked it out loud.
Audible on the subway platform
amidst a sizable crowd
I asked it out loud ~
“How did I get to be so lucky?”
Like a sneeze it came
and I could not refrain
from voicing my wondering
how with all the loss and pain
I had been healed, cleansed of stain
while others, one in particular that day,
wildly struggle to somehow maintain
whatever shreds of personhood may
have salvaged their plight.
Yet I like a bird in flight
have flown higher and higher
even with my broken wing;
and she, or so it seems,
is stuck in city mire
Who is she, this lost lost lady
carting bags of used up dignity?
Did I imagine it or did I see
her look wistfully at me
all dressed up in finery?
Is it possible she silenced her demons
just long enough
to witness my vain entreaty?
If so, did she agree
and was her gibberish,
inaudible on a subway platform,
actually an anguished plea ~
“How did she get to be so lucky?”