Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Child Abuse Legend- A Journey of Healing

I turn to you who have known pain and fear
And failure and despair,
And in your eyes I read companionship
And though your cloak be threadbare,
Half of it is mine.
You are my friend.
Lila Cabot Perry

Can't help wondering...what you're wondering about as you look at this little lost dog who took a long journey far from home and wanted nothing more than to find his way?

Healing from child abuse is a journey. Along with the freedom to choose healing, we choose a journey that like any other will be filled with byways, hills and valleys. At times the going is easy and we celebrate our successes with joy. At other times, the going is hard and we stumble, even collapse, under the weight of it. Then we may cry out in torment to whatever gods may be for us: Why me? Why struggle? Why go on?

But at every step of the way we need to remember that any journey is a passage. From there to here, we do not make it alone. With every step along the way we are changed…and we change the world. Sometime we know where we have made a positive difference sometimes we
never know just how some little choice we make may make all the difference for another.

Yesterday I saw a little dog walking along the road…alone, lost and confused. It was later in the day, I was tired. A large part of me wanted to ignore her and her plight. But I made the harder choice and rescued her. No collar, no clue...I’d never seen her in the neighborhood. She was definitely a stranger in a strange land.

Which way to turn, to go to help her find her way home?

First things first, I thought as I picked her up and carried her to my house…give her water, food, and rest. She is so weary.

I understand weary...understand feeling lost, alone, hopeless. It is how I feel many times. I’ve been weary it seems since early childhood. A time filled with ongoing physical, emotional, sexual abuse and chronic neglect. Barely aware of death by age seven, I already sought death as my only escape from hell on earth. From my limited perspective on ways to kill myself, I plotted, schemed, planned and tried many ways but always some fear or something else, interfered. Swimming as far out into the ocean only to have the sea throw me back onto the shore, running to throw myself in front of a train but slipping on the rocks with my outstretched hands inches from the sparks that flew from the train, jumping into a canal known to kill children each year, running into traffic. My last attempt came when I was 15.

That night, I slashed my wrist twice with a razor blade as cold and steely as my determination to not fail again. Then, as blood shot everywhere, I lay down with my bible, at ease, prepared to die and sure that my God would welcome me home.

Anger flooded through me when I awoke. And searing pain. And quiet desperation. The mess was incredible…I had to get to my job as a car hop. No time to clean. Who would notice anyway? The wounds were bad… what to do? I ran to a friend’s house, her mother was a nurse. She cleaned and pulled the wounds together with tape to work as stitches, wrapped my wrist in gauze, found a wide Indian beaded bracelet to cover the bandage… gave me love and encouragement and sent me off to work.

As I walked along, head down, raging in anger at being alive, devastated that God didn’t let me escape to come home, instead of the weight of my life, I suddenly felt the warmth of the sun on my shoulders. I looked up to see a field filled with white daisies and thousands of white butterflies flitting among them. Their dew drenched yellow centers glistened like gold. Rainbows were everywhere through the tears that flowed as I heard, “My child, it is not yours to choose when to come home. That is for me to say. But you are not alone- I am with you always. Now promise you will continue on and not try such things again.” And I did. And I did not.

There is no fairy tale ending. The story that was my life went on. Fifty years later the scars on my wrist remain to remind me of that night.

My brother, sneaking in my room in search of cigarettes, panicked at the bloody mess and told my parents. When my father pulled into the parking lot, my heart stopped. I walked to his car. He grabbed the wounded wrist and twisted it, yanked off the bracelet to expose the bloody bandage, then slapped me across the face. “You bitch…what the hell kind of stupid shit is this…just wait ‘til you get home. I’ll fix your ass for embarrassing us."

So when the little dog was rested I made a leash and off we went…blindly going we knew not where but knowing doing something is better than doing nothing. The walk was pleasant and we met many nice people along the way. But no one knew her. When she could go on no more, I carried her back and we rested. Then we drove around, stopping to ask everyone…do you know her, she’s lost and wants to go home. Then finally, once again, walking around, enjoying the setting sun, and the cool summer evening. So many people! So many smiles! Where have you come from little one, and where are you going?

Finally it was too late to continue. Her eyes beseeched me but she settled down to watch the door. Tomorrow, Love, tomorrow we will find your home…I promise.

Well the dog story does have a happy ending…
Nearly midnight I awoke to a pounding on my door. A family desperately seeking to find her had given up and returned home. The mother called a friend to talk about their loss and futile search.
“OMG! You won’t believe this,” the friend said, “I was visiting a friend earlier, and she had a phone call from another friend, and while they were talking, a woman came by, walking a little white dog, saying she was lost! Maybe it’s your dog.”

“How could that be? It’s so far away from here? But we will try to find her anyway.”
And so they did.

And so you will find your way, and there will be help you never dreamed of, if you choose healing and just keep going…and someday fifty years hence, you may even look at your scars and say…after all is said and done, Life is Good. Thank You God!

And please now let me say, although the words may sound trite and over used…as you choose healing, and go through the valleys, along the byways, over the seemingly endless hills...Enjoy your Journey!

A Child is Waiting,
Take aware,
Nancy Lee


buffalopine said...

Healing may not always be easy,at times,but it is sweet knowing that progress is being made. I appreciate your blog so much. Thankyou for sharing your heart&writing this.


Dragonheartsong said...

Thank you for a moving, honest post that is obviously from the heart. Congratulations on how far you've come! I cannot presume to understand your specific journey, but I do know the challenges of my own, and I imagine there are parallel threads. Each day is a miracle, a brilliant shining bead of them in a strand that makes up a lifetime. We've already survived the worst that could happen; now we breathe, continue to heal, and move forward (well, most of the time). Bravo!!

Child Person said...

Thank you both...and I agree, DragonHeartSong..."We've already survived the worst that could happen;now we breathe, continue to heal, and move forward (well, most of the time)...and may I add, encourage those we meet along the way struggling in their own healing processes.

Marj aka Thriver said...

Wow. Thank you so much for this amazing, wonderful post! I really needed this today. Been processing some really horrendous memories and I'm feeling exhausted with the struggle just to survive.

Thank you so much for allowing us to use this post for THE BLOG CARNIVAL AGAINST CHILD ABUSE. I'm sure I'm not the only one that it will help.

BeyondBeliefs said...

We must know, that every Human Being born on this planet is a victim of their upbringing. Forgive them all as you find and teach a better way.

Lisa said...

Wow, I am a new visitor to your blog via the Carnival. Thank you for submitting this. It is such a hopeful post for me in a very dark time.

AbuseAndForgiveness said...

Thank you for sharing this amazing, hopeful post.

You've shown that we can find healing light even when surrounded by darkness.

Your strength is a testament to all survivors!


Patricia Singleton said...

ChildPerson, thanks for sharing your struggle and your journey to recovery with the Blog Carnival. I intend to come back and read more of your articles. It is a blessing to find others who understand where I have been as well as where I am going in this journey.

Vicki Johnson said...

This is such a powerful testimony for healing. Perfect for the Carnival.
The story you share is tender and I honor you for your bravery. Thank you for trusting us.

Child Person said...

Thank you all for the nice messages and encouraging words. My love goes out to you all as I know you wouldn't be here if child abuse didn't have some deep meaning in your lives. Blessings your way...