When I was a little girl I loved heart shaped ice cream bars, storybooks,
and running barefoot all summer long.
I remember back scratches and hugs after bad dreams.
When I was a little girl, swinging, playing happily I had no thought for the future.
I believed my parents loved me and each other; they would never hurt anyone.
I believed the world was good and safe; I couldn’t conceive of sorrow or regret.
I didn’t know that some day I would need to forgive.
I began to understand that some Daddy’s rage and are never satisfied;
that Mommy’s can be sad and afraid, and that children are a problem.
I learned that the world was scary.
I began to wonder if this would be the fight that ended everything,
their secrets exploding the world I knew.
If this time she would sink down so far she might not come back; like Alice in Wonderland
shrinking to a place I couldn’t find.
When I was older I discovered I could find that place myself. Sometimes I would hide
in bed with a book all daylong. And later, much later, when I got so used to hiding
from my pain, I would hide in alcohol, or work, or shopping.
I would disappear into a crowd of friends and a glass of wine.
Whatever I could find to make the sadness stop.
It was safe to be invisible, silent, and placid. I began to hide, just like Mom.
After years and years of hiding, I was finally coaxed out into daylight by love.
I began to write, to create beauty, to grow things.
This was how I would learn to forgive.
I began to consider that I was the one Jesus loved;
the Jesus I never knew. You see, when someone cruel tells you about Jesus,
you can’t believe that God would really love you.
And if Jesus did, why did he allow years of lost days and nights?
Sorrow. Melancholy. Lament.
That mystery, I have considered for years. And years.
Why was my father so angry? Why was my life so difficult?
Here’s the thing. It happened.
What I have learned is that who I have become is important.
And so I sit in the early morning darkness,
In the quiet of this beautiful new life, remembering.
It happened, the past. It hurts to remember.
When life is most terrifying, when your grief overwhelms,
when your possibilities are gone, what you choose matters.
Somehow, I found love. Or love found me. Either way it’s good!
And bad things will happen. I can’t stop them.
We make a world of possibilities for our children and ourselves.
In choosing hope,
choosing the life that Jesus offers,
choosing to forgive,
I will live.
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