Tag Archives: forgiveness

Forgiveness isn’t once

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ForgivenessFreedom
Something I’ve been able to achieve this pregnancy has been a fair amount of peace, dealing with issues that were buried, and not having a lot of melt-downs from PTSD.

I need to back up a little bit before I continue. I wrote this quoted part about 3-4 weeks after the criminal trial against Doctor Horrible:

“The last couple of weeks following the criminal trial against Doctor Horrible (my ex-husband) have been weird. His public defender, who is no longer his lawyer, has been going to my old blog and printing off posts, emailing them off, etc. He was methodically going through my archive history. Honestly, I am not afraid of anything I write about – but I am concerned for Melody’s safety.

Part of the safety issues is that Doctor Horrible is now out and free to victimize again, and with his public defender having already used my past in the criminal trial, I have no doubt Doctor Horrible would use it to regain custody of Melody. I can’t fathom him being in her life to molest her again, or to make her feel horrible for telling the truth to begin with.

There’s been a lot going on in life since the trial. So much of my thoughts and energy have been focused on the ins and outs of the trial, what happened and why, and what comes now.

I still wonder where he is. I don’t want to know his address or anything like that. I just want to know if he’s in town, or in another one. I want to keep my daughter safe and wish there was a way to keep every little girl safe from him.

I wonder why his criminal record wasn’t revealed at the trial, of which he is still on parole for. One would think that murdering your son and sexually assaulting your daughter do have some small thing in common.

My sleep is disturbed every night with nightmares. I always, always see the jury in my dreams. I see three jurors smiling as the verdict was read – which really happened – while the other juror faces are blurred out.

Last night I dreamed that I was sitting down with the judge, and he told me he was upset about the verdict and he wanted to help Melody and I. He gave me a number and told me to tell the organization that he had sent me. Through the whole thing, I saw the three jurors in the background, smiling.

One of the jurors sells things at farmer’s market. I can barely stand to go there anymore, knowing she was one of those who smiled. I saw her last week for the first time since the trial, and my body shook with nerves. She whispered to another seller, and pointed at me as I went by. There’s more to that story, but I’ll share it later. The sight of her physically makes me sick. I sobbed through half the time we were at market.

I was discouraged and depressed until a few days ago, about everything. But really, I was allowing myself to continually wonder why the three jurors smiled… what made them think that was an appropriate time to smile, regardless of what their verdict had been. I was fearful about Doctor Horrible coming to hurt Melody again.

This last Sunday morning, I could not get my contacts in before church. I didn’t go. Melodu did go to church with Daryl. I ended up having a much-needed time with Yahweh, that resulted in me giving up the need to know why. I gave up clinging to fear that the man who did so much damage to my little girl, could come back and do more. I will go more into this later, because I think that it will be helpful for myself to go through it in writing and express everything. I just don’t have time right now, as there’s laundry and dishes to do, a meal to prepare, and some playing to do outside with Melody.”

So, flash forward to today. I took the kids to the homeschool park day, planned by an awesome momma at the end and beginning of each school year. I’ve been to 3-4 of them now.
This last fall at Not Back To School park day, I saw the farmer’s market smiling juror there for the first time, and I didn’t go over to where most of my friends were, because I kept having the same overwhelming feeling of shame wash over me that I had when I saw the woman Doctor Horrible messed around with, years before I learned about the molestation. I did nothing wrong, but I felt shame, panic, sick and scared. Why is it that the person who was cheated on can feel like that?

At any rate, that’s the same feeling I get when I see the smiling juror with my friends.
I didn’t want to go today. I knew her kids were now being homeschooled and I would probably see her again. She was there, sitting with my friends again. I didn’t feel anger, just that same shame, panic, fear, sickness.

One of my friends came over to me while I was pushing the littles on the swings and asked how I was.

I have deliberately never told my friends who this woman is – she works at farmer’s market most years, she is now a part of the homeschooling community, and they know her. I have not told anyone she was one of the 3 smiling jurors for a few reasons, but mostly because I know I am a human and if I knew they knew and still chose to be with one of the people who smiled as they let a child molester go free, I couldn’t be okay with that. I didn’t want them to have knowledge that I would get sick over if they wanted to spend time with her.

 

I told my friend I could lie and say I was okay, but I was having a rough time and couldn’t go over to the picnic table. (I was obviously crying anyway, so I couldn’t have hid it if I wanted to.) I just couldn’t make myself, it was drawing up too many painful issues. She said, “I know, she’s sitting across from me.”

HOW DID SHE KNOW??

I want to be brave, to ask her how she knows, who she found out from. But, somewhere deep inside I feel like I know the answer, and it angers me.
This is our story. It’s not anyone else’s to tell. In every moment, from the assaults on Melody, to the trial no one asked if we wanted, to the verdict… really, every moment in between, no one cared about our power. No one allowed us any. In fact, every person involved in the molestations (and the cover up of them), the trial, the verdict… they all took part in ensuring that we continually had no power, no say, no resolution or clarity for ourselves, or regaining of autonomy.
That wasn’t something on their hearts or minds… what do the victims want or need in this.

To think of any one of the people involved in taking our power and our voices away, taking it upon themselves to share with my circle of friends any part they played… sickens me. It’s not their story to tell, in any way, part, or for any reason.

The one friend who came to me at the park today, once I knew she knew the woman was one of the jurors, I said it through tears, “I honestly don’t know how to cope here. It took me weeks and weeks to not have nightmares about their three smiling faces. And there she sits, unmoving from my friends. I keep thinking I’m better, that I’ve forgiven her for smiling at such a thoughtless, terrible time, but then I realize it’s all fresh and I have to start over again.”

My friend said something like, “Don’t let satan rob you like that. Forgiveness for us isn’t a one time thing. It’s whenever we need to. It’s over and over, if we have to. That’s okay to see that and keep bringing it to God.”

So, rather than bury this crap with a few glasses of wine and try to go on tomorrow morning like nothing happened (the latter part being my default as an all/nothing person), I’m taking this to God and doing some emotional releasing. I’m working on forgiving, 70 times 7, even if no one gets why I feel the need to.

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Forgive As You’ve Been Forgiven – The Science of Relations

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bible-quotes-about-forgiveness-1

 

I’ve been talking about the connections of faith, healing, and PTSD, but I haven’t really gotten to the PTSD aspect yet.

I’m a serious work in progress.
I have ups and downs in my healing path through PTSD. Some days I am at peace and calm (really, it is more and more often now), while other days I feel like there isn’t “the other side” or that I won’t reach it.

After the failed criminal trial, I spiraled downward.

I think I’d been silently living feeling victimized the majority of my marriage to Doctor Horrible – he rarely slept with me despite my sometimes begging, did not financially provide, called me manipulative when I cried (after he called me a whore… I can actually laugh at that insane insult, now, while realizing sadly that he is a narcissist), used the little bit of our money on drugs and alcohol, and told me it was none of my business where he was until 3am.

I can look back now and see I constantly felt like a martyr – I had to die to me to serve AND survive him… but I don’t mean that in a Biblical way. I mean that as in, I felt like in order to survive, I had to strip myself of me. I had to stop feeling, stop having opinions or thoughts or values that effected anyone else. I often felt like to survive, I needed to be on automatic, like a robot… because letting myself feel the full weight of what Doctor Horrible was in our marriage would crush me.
I also felt like my outward doing would be a light to Doctor Horrible, and despite that I am bold and striking, I tried to be soft and subtle in it, thinking that was somehow “more” God’s nature than the one He instilled in me and being me would be a sin.

Then I learned about Melody’s assaults and the wall I’d been slowly building, came crumbling down.

Through the next year and a half until the criminal trial, I think I went through most of the “stages of grief” except the fullest extent of anger. I look back and think that I struggled a lot with denial. Not denial that he had done it, but denial that while God is black and white, the world is grey… and that justice on earth may never come.
I convinced myself through my prayers that he would see justice on earth and mercy in heaven. The knowledge that we reap what we sow terrified me to think of Doctor Horrible not having justice here, and instead spending eternity separated from our Creator. That reality was and still is the most painful.

When 12 strangers chose to ignore Melody’s story, the trauma I’d been struggling through intensified to an intolerable level. NO ONE cared about the victims. No one asked what we wanted… did we want vengeance or restorative justice? Did we want eventual contact or permanent isolation? Did we want him to offer restitution to us, as it really is not society he offended, but US? Not only was our autonomy stripped away by Doctor Horrible, but it was continually stripped by the society that pretenses that it cares about victims, while they took charge of our situation for us, yet again dis-empowering us. Feeling all of this, but not having words for it, made it difficult to process it. How could we? No one allowed us to regain our autonomy in the process that should have been for us.

It wasn’t until I started slowly working my way through Changing Lenses by Howard Zehr, after having read Feelings by Karol Truman, that all of those thoughts and feelings in me had words… “oh my gosh… these words… these are what I have been feeling, thinking about, churning around and around… and no words of my own could express this.” Melody and I read part of this book together, and we both wept. I have since set it aside for Melody, while I slowly work my way through it, but the bit we did together was transformative and freeing, while also heartbreaking.

If I had been allowed time to process things and think about what I hoped for from the situation, I can say that locking Doctor Horrible in prison for the rest of his life (and he would have been, had he been found guilty, as he is still on parole for murdering a child over 2 decades ago), while giving me and Melody a temporary sense of security (from him), was not what I hoped for him, for us, for the situation. That would not only not solve much of anything, it would put him in one of the most deliberately violent, breeding-of-con-man-mentality places after telling him how bad it is to be a con-man, a violator, a violent person who would strip away another’s autonomy… while striping him of his.
I know that is what some people want with child molesters. They want vengeance. I really do get it. Sometimes, on a rare day, I breath in that holier-than-thou mentality, too. I’m human and I sometimes struggle to remember that I too nailed the nails in Christ’s wrists and that “there but for the grace of God, go I.”

When I look back from the failed criminal trial, onward, I can see two things going on me in my disappointment and brokenness. One is my humanity, angry that even though we had all of our power taken from us yet again in how I/we wanted justice to be sought, and the system that stole this from us failed even by their own standards of “justice.” I felt like our victimization was ignored (and Howard Zehr confirms this is the reality, not just my feelings) and justice was not truly what was being sought (this is my own feeling). The other is something of the Christ within me, I hope, that what I really wanted was time to heal and an opportunity to keep Melody safe from Doctor Horrible for forever, but to have advocates come to him and hold him accountable to growing up and seeing Christ in their lives, even if he chooses to never trust God. I wanted to know he would not come near her, but not to be doomed to hell on earth or in eternity. I wanted to know that justice – restorative justice could be sought and exemplified. This was a man I once loved in the most intimate of ways, had chosen to bind my life with, as evil-hearted as he had chosen to be… and I still know him to be a child that God loves.

It’s taken me so long to get to the place to be able to express all of this. But, releasing my emotions rather than pretending I could bury them and seeing Howard Zehr almost flawlessly speak on my behalf (and probably many more victims) and express my confusion, anguish, and hopes amidst a nightmare…. have helped me to do this. They’ve helped me to do even more with my past beyond Doctor Horrible, too.

The connection from these books, these teachers, has been astounding in my life, to free me to express… that I can seek forgiveness and extend it, because of the One who forgives us all of far more than we deserve.forgivenessfreedom