A story about comfort, part three.
For part one, see A Lie That Fell Like A Curse.
For part two, see “That’s Not True.”
:: the following may contain triggers for survivors of sexual abuse ::
No, I will not abandon you or leave you as orphans in the storm-I will come to you.
For three days I kept to my bed. The counselor’s words had been the last crazy spin in a spiral that had been whipping my mind for weeks. Shame was great now, so great, so utterly debilitating, so thoroughly consuming, so shockingly deafening. I could not ask for help. I curled in upon myself, pulled the covers to my hair, and wept.
I wept until thought dissipated, until emotion was spent. I felt myself adrift within a moonless night, lost upon this sea of shame: I was cold, alone. I felt myself returned to the chaos which had once shaped the world: who would separate the light from the darkness within me? Who would call forth the true and everlasting, separating me from the fluidity of my thoughts and the transparency of my shame? I held no hope that I would ever be found.
Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing;
heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled.
My soul also is greatly troubled.
But you, O LORD—how long?
I am weary with my moaning;
every night I flood my bed with tears;
I drench my couch with my weeping.
My eye wastes away because of grief;
it grows weak because of all my foes.
From Psalm 6
“All my foes” were in my own head – they were thoughts and feelings, and I could no more resist them than I could resist a volley of arrows. A lifetime of knowledge about helmets and shields and swords (of spirit and faith and salvation) assumed (in my then-understanding) an external enemy and while I was busy fighting an outer foe, treason took place in my soul.
(Cut a child’s heart open, shove in some abuse, and then sew her back up with silence. Wait for it, it’ll reemerge. Even Sleeping Beauty – kept so protected – found her spindle. Curses must be confronted, not ignored.)
The counselor’s words (or more rightly, how they translated in my mind) were echoes of the secret thoughts already laying waste:
You’re not worth it.
You’re not lovable.
You never will be.
Abuse is devastating.
Throw in the element of “sexual” and you’ve got a soul-massacre on your hands. Boundaries written in the realms of Heaven are trampled. A reasoning adult uses sex to harm an unprotected child. A holy act intended for the the most intimate of adult unions is mangled into something used upon a kid. The original intent of sex is, of course, to bind hearts (beautifully) together, and here now a binding still occurs. The child’s heart is bound to shame and blame and lies.
It’s my fault.
I’ll only ever be a sexual plaything.
My body is to blame.
Ah, my body. My body that I both hid and flung. My body that I both hated and feared. My body that I both kept secret, and – if need drove me- would give away to purchase a feeling of love.
My body, the oozing surface of my heart.
All the love of my family, care of my friends, and a lifetime of knowing Jesus had not eradicated the burning shame.
Mourn it, Jesus seemed to say.
Mourn it, My Love. C’mon, go all the way through.
Mourn the shame.
This post is part of Survivor Songs, a 31-Day series. A full list of posts is found here.