March 23, 2005

A Girl and Her God

While in therapy the second time in my life, and after having to share quite a few specifics of the ugliness and dreadfulness of it all, and after being given an especially trying assignment, my therapist, a woman, a Christian whom shared my own religious perspective, ended the session with prayer. I had learned in this 45 minutes that it was God who was the focus of my anger; that I couldn't find it within myself to believe that He could save my soul, but neglected to protect the innocence of my girlhood. I was seething with bitter anger and disappointment. I hadn't taken communion in months, conveniently finding a reason to slip out of the services to stand somewhere in the building and quietly mock the Sacrament of the Body and Blood that had saved that which I couldn't see, had never seen, but could so painfully feel.

Many times when Lindy prayed, I left my eyes open, staring at her, watching her bowed head, amazed at the sincerity of the words falling out of her mouth. Other times, I would look at my hands in my lap, wanting to listen, but still stuck in the summer of 1980, finding reasons to stay away when the contractor, hungry to consume my innocent, pubescent body for himself, would come to texture the walls while listening to Pink Floyd and helping himself to other consumables in the fridge. Like most predators, he could smell the wounded from afar. I still remember the way he eyed me, my mother completely unaware, while explaining what he would with the beams and walls. The amen was a powerful trajectory, throwing me through time to find myself 27, able to defend myself against any antagonist I now faced, but was I finding that I couldn't even see the One whom I felt to be my most avid pursuer.

She started the end of our time just as always with "Well, let's pray." For some reason, maybe tired from the soporific effects of such time travel and epic realization, I closed my eyes, not following any of her words, until I heard her voice stop for a moment, catching the silence, then returning to her conversation with God.

As I so often do when I am contemplative, I stood in the doorway that night and watched my sleeping girls. There was just enough moonlight illuminating their little pajamed bodies entwined with sheets, comforters kicked crookedly to the side. I listened to the softness of their alternating, rhythmic breathing. Here was perfect innocence before me. Each night these girls went to bed with the security of knowing they were loved, cared for, taken care of. The only occupation of their minds was the business of the day's play. I recalled E's first grade teacher sending home a paper my little girl had recently written: "I know my mommy and daddy love me because they play games with me and read to me, and we have fun together."

It wasn't God who had failed me, it was my mother. My young, overwhelmed, single mother who was desperately running from her own suffering and disappointment. Her youth, her stress, and her marital status weren't excuses, but rather clues at helping me understand why she deserted her parenting. I had withheld my anger from her because she was the only tangible, concrete evidence of my miserable existence. Showing ingratitude for all her "sacrifices" would only throw the bolt on the already closed door of her heart. She had subconsciously molded me into the perfect defender of her at-arms-length love.

Here was my opportunity. Here was my choice: to either see my childhood as a sordid mess, and to be destroyed by it, thus ravaging yet more souls, dragging them along with me, and perpetuating the ruin, or to take the painful source of my wisdom, and ensure that it finally ended here. Now.

There wasn't any magical moment where a girl and her God were reconciled. There was; however, a point in time when I recognized that there was still a girl and her God.

Posted by Rae at March 23, 2005 05:34 PM | TrackBack

Rae, I am honored to have read this piece of writing. As one upon whom similar pain was suffered, I find deep and poignant meaning in these words. Thank you for sharing this so eloquently and so freely. I am grateful to be given the gift of your insights.

Posted by: Alisha at March 24, 2005 07:05 PM

"...I recognized that there was still a girl and her God."

My experience is *very* similar to yours regarding mom. I want to encourage you that the statement I quoted IS a magical moment. It doesn't ring of a jubilant epiphany and goose-bumps but in reality that one statement is in and of itself probably one of the most profound you will have in your walk. That's probably why you put it as your title.

It's reflective of the redemptive pain on this side of the cross.

The mark of true faith is not when we are glowing like Moses as puddles of water divide to clear a path for us. The mark of faith is what a famous saint once said, "true faith is found when given every opportunity to not believe and yet we still do."

The Lord knows violation by His very own family, His very own Bride, He even knows what its like to feel as if His Father had turned his back on him. I pray that this Good Friday's meditations will take you to a place of identifying with Him in the pain that can be redemptive in purpose.

I hope I have not been to forward but I see this as *hugantically* important and BIG step. I am sorry for the pain but rejoice as I see true healing.

This is *the* point of healing. I love Jesus even more for taking care of you. :)

Posted by: Randy at March 24, 2005 07:10 PM

I am inspired by your honesty and courage. Your words are a salve for women like me. I pray that you fully realize the impact of your eloquent sharing.

I too have been in a place of rejection of God because of what I perceived as His refusal to protect me. I am so thankful that He is such a forgiving God and that his faithfulness is true!

May God continue to bless you and your blog.

I am a new reader but I will be back often.

Posted by: Victoria at March 25, 2005 08:54 AM

Wow. Just . . . wow. You write very well, and the power of your testimony is magnified because of it. Likewise, your love for your daughters is evident and enviable.

Posted by: Steven at March 25, 2005 09:20 AM

She (your mom) did the best job she could, now it's your turn. Thought you might like this..

Under A Swift Sunrise.

Posted by: Dennis at March 25, 2005 10:59 AM

Very touching. Brought tears to my eyes. I understand the loss of innocence and I can't count how often I weep with joy to know my daughter is in a far different world than the one I traveled through. Lord be with you. I do recall during severe trial and anger that, like you, I was his daughter. :o)

Posted by: Beth Ellen at March 25, 2005 12:40 PM

rae, i came here through blogs by women, and i'm so glad i did! your writing mesmerizes me. this post is - beautiful, wrenching, haunting, and so achingly *true*. and that final line resonates deep within me (as it seems to have with several other readers). thank you, thank you.
wishing you a blesssed and peaceful easter season.

Posted by: romy at March 28, 2005 12:22 PM

by the way, forgive this totally irrelevant comment, but you have a beautiful color scheme and i like the way the links shine all pink when the cursor touches them. pretty! :)

Posted by: romy at March 28, 2005 12:23 PM

Thank you all for your encouraging thoughts. AS always, I only hope that someone reading will find the courage and will to see hope and not despair.

Romy, thanks for the reminder about blogs by women. I need to get a link up and announce the site and provide a link. I perused your site (quickly, I admit) and saw that you also have Greg Hammond linked, so we have probably passed one another on the 'sphere highway.

Also, thanks for the color-scheme compliments, too :D

Posted by: Rae at March 28, 2005 12:38 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?