Friday, May 14, 2010
I read not too long ago that Elie Wiesel, the author of Night and survivor of the Holocaust, struggled for years (50 or more) with the decision to forgive God for the crimes and sins committed against him and his family. I've read Night. It's a terrifying story, but the word story isn't a word that does it justice. It's more than a story, it's a life that was ripped to pieces over and over again.
So, I was curios as to how Elie might find it in himself to forgive. The answer he offered was that he was tired of being separated from God, whom he loved after all and after all. He asked God for answers and one day an answer came. God spoke to Elie and said just as any parent is sad when their children hurt each other, God is sad when humanity, his children, are cruel to each other. This gave Elie peace and he, in the article that I read, was able to reunite with God (who he loved and missed) again and was ultimately able to forgive. Unity was restored through the act of forgiveness.
I know not everyone is a Christian and I am certainly not trying to impose my personal beliefs on you, but I do believe in God. I believe in life and the earth. I also know that harboring feelings of hatred and fear against someone that hurt you separates you from unity with the higher power. In my case, I call my higher power God. Call yours what you will...
You may have noticed in a previous post I admitted something quite personal here. I urge you to read the information in the link that I provided within the post. It's fairly accurate, speaking from experience. Once you read it, you'll know what life has been like for me for a long long time.
I've missed out on a lot because of that event. I struggled with it for so long I can't remember how on earth it feels to be normal. I spent the years that my kids were infants dealing with this. For me, it was due to lack of education. Then, one day, relief finally came. I covered a court case when I worked as a reporter and it was all about a sexual assault charge. The guy on trial was accused of sexually assaulting a girl. They were about the same age. Bravely she testified. She spoke about things that seemed so familiar to me. She had trouble sleeping. She couldn't hold down a job. She had issues with intimacy. The list went on and on. I couldn't believe it. She was describing me! That was my life! Everything she spoke about resonated with me. I just had no idea there was laws set in place to protect people from these kinds of events. That's how sheltered I was. It was a hard pill to swallow, but a necessary one.
Then, a memory burst into my mind like a freight train. I had buried it down deep. But, there it was, front and centre. Finally. I remembered it all. Everything from then on started to make sense. So many times I felt like I was coming apart at the seams with no real explanation as to why. I was always skittish with people. I trusted no one. Now I had a reason for it all. A name. It starts with r. Ugly little r.
Now, here I am, two years after that day in court and finally able to openly admit my personal truth. I want my friends to know it. I want them to know why I've acted so strange, why I've been so difficult to be around for so long. I didn't understand it myself until now.
I finally got the help I needed. I finally was able to gain perspective. I finally am able to wander the halls of my mind without my memories hiding from me. I am starting to heal.
But, with healing comes forgiveness. It must come. I cannot ever begin to compare what I've gone through with what Elie experienced. But, I do know that forgiveness must come in my case, just the same. I do not forgive because I am hoping it might make the life of the perpetrator better or worse for that matter. I do it for myself because I want to be close to my Higher Power. I want to live the life of beauty and love that is just waiting for me to take hold of. I don't want to be angry anymore and I want to forget about all that lost time... All those years I spent wondering what was wrong with me. I want to enjoy the love and adoration my husband pours out on me every day. I want to enjoy my children, my life, my home, my friends. I think I can do that now. Now that I have chosen to forgive. And I have. It is truly a choice and an action.
Incidentally, the guy in the court case I covered ended up spending a year and three months behind bars for a lesser charge than the crime that was committed against me. Had I chosen to press charges and had I won my case, I often wonder how many years my victimizer would get. Probably enough to ruin a life. The gravity of that thought is enough to break my heart.
I've been a prisoner of the event for about 14 years... But I think I am finally free now. I think I will live to see better days.