My Secrets (a poem)

When I was a small girl I loved heart-shaped ice cream bars, story books read aloud,

and running barefoot all summer long.  I remember back scratches and hugs after bad dreams.

I believed the world was good.  I knew nothing

of sorrow or regret; that someday I would need to forgive.

As I grew I began to see my father was never satisfied and he was afflicted by a secret rage.

Mother grew sad and afraid, there was no-one to tell; no-one who could help.  My world began

to crumble; secrets became bigger than life.

I discovered I could disappear, hiding from him I’d read a book all day long.

And later, hide

in work, shopping or a glass of wine.

Just like Mom, it was safer to be invisible, silent, placid.

I used whatever I could find to make the crushing sadness stop.

After years and years of hiding, love found me.  I began to write, to create, to grow things

and finally to heal.  Then I found my voice.

By telling this story I would flourish and reach, timidly at first for forgiveness.

At nearly forty I accepted that I was the one Jesus loved.  I never believed

that could be true.  You can’t be cruel to a person and share that truth.

My secret life of sorrow and lament;  the constant melancholy has become something else.

Though I still cannot understand why my father was angry, why life was so hard.

Today, in the early morning quiet, I know who I am now matters most.

I remember, which hurts.  I forgive, which heals.

When your grief overwhelms and possibilities are gone, what you choose then matters.

Somehow love found me, but I chose to receive it.

Bad things will happen, I can’t stop them.

In choosing Jesus and hope, I have a world of possibilities ahead.

In choosing to forgive, I live.

by Melody Harrison Hanson.

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