When I was maybe in 8 or 9 my cousin gave me a diary for Christmas. My own secret place to write my thoughts and feelings, someplace to record the inner me. Probably most little girls had diaries, with tiny golden locks which gave a false sense of security. I loved that diary, my first book. I snuck into my closet to jot down the most important secrets an adolescent girl could have, does this boy like me or does that one, do I like him or the other one. I thought my writings were safe within that little book, behind the little lock. I had two brothers though, one 4 years older who thought it would be hilarious to violate that privacy and make his own entries into my writing. The pages were filled with pictures (he never was a writer) of stick figures and clouds of farts. I never wrote in the diary again. My sacred place was ruined.
My father was furious, the boys were in serious trouble. Of course he must have been terrified at what I had written and what they might have read. A secret keeper writing things down? Very dangerous stuff. I didn’t write about the real secrets, my inner most quandaries, the deepest hurts. Surface worries only, dipping my toe in, maybe, testing whether it was safe to tell all. It wasn’t. I didn’t. Not for a very long time. How differently would my life have turned out had I actually written about the abuse in our home and handed my writings to a trusted teacher? But I was shut down, before any truth came out.
My blog is somewhat like my new diary, a place to share my story and my perspective. I have published my deepest feelings, shared shameful events, celebrated soaring joys. My story though is not just my own because I am connected, I am joined even if the bonds are broken through divorce and estrangement. As much as I would like to have some relationships forever terminated, never to hear from an ex-spouse or his wife again, I am forced to confront that once joined, we are never truly released from those bonds. As much as I would love to write about the beautiful reconciliation of all the brokenness in our family, that is not this story, at least not yet. So, while they each have their perspective and side and truths, I have mine and my feelings and thoughts and search for meaning through it all. The difference between my diary and this blog though is that it is faith based, I am searching and seeking with my adult eyes and a mature soul to find healing in the hurts, to share what is broken in me and my connections to my children, the sins of my past to find the redemption that comes with grace.
I am searching for a way home, a way to that place where connections feel good instead of threatening. Where words written are seen as a victory that one woman who was silenced for over 50 years found her voice. I am seeking those who understand imperfections and dings and dents. Just as my father was terrified of what I might write, how much trouble he could get in if I told the truth of his sexual abuse, there are those who wish I would be silent again. Violating my sacred space every much as my brothers did long ago, texts with threats, emails with demands, it all boils down to fear. Fear of truth, fear of getting into trouble, just like my father. Had he not been doing anything wrong, it wouldn’t have mattered. A little girl’s diary could be just that, her story. A woman’s blog can be just that, her story.
I write a great deal about addiction. Anyone who has attended even one family session at a rehab center knows that it is a family disease. The addict is not the only one in need of healing. All those around who enable, deny, support, rescue the user are reenforcing the disease. When I write about my experiences with my son, it is from the place of a mother who has spent the last decade dealing with his use and relapses, supporting him through thousands of dollars in inpatient and intensive outpatient services and attending every session available to us. We joined in his recovery. We were invested in the healing portion of the family disease. We supported him through his legal issues. When I write about addiction, it is with the eyes and heart of a mother who has traveled that very broken road and no longer accepts lies or excuses, won’t be part of any addiction family unit that includes continued use. This is my perspective. Addicts all have their own.
I write a great deal about the brokenness of my relationship with my daughter. A young woman who married and began an estrangement like it was a wedding gift she just opened, the present her new husband gave her. A matching set, like the one he has with his own mother, if you will. Brokenness in relationships takes more than one act though, it takes a series of wrongs, escalated to the point of no return. Forgiveness can’t seem to find a way into this relationship, I write about my aches. As much as she may wish to have our association forever destroyed, that web is connected from multiple sides. Estrangement is like that, one edge may be severed, the other still hangs on. This is my perspective, surely she has her own.
I write a great deal about the sexual abuse that occurred in my childhood, the damage that led me to try to save other children. I write about failing, about taking my damaged psyche and soul into a setting where more trauma happened. Sharing such intimate details, risky and freeing at the same time. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, I just keep getting up, starting over. My mistakes are pretty public, no chance to hide from them. My life diary has been read by many, interpreted, analyzed, gleaned for salacious nuggets to spread. When the book is already opened, it no longer matters though. My past is part of me but not the whole me, not the now me. That is the beauty of redemption, the glory of grace.
I write a great deal about looking for the light in dark times. This is a dark time. I am looking for the hope that comes from the One who understands that even when we try to break those connections, He is always there. I am seeking the grace that comes from the One who knows my sins and still forgives me. I am seeking the Light that shines on my value and worth as a child of God, my wholeness in Him, sharing the warmth that comes when secrets no longer have power and diaries don’t need locks.
This is my story, my search for meaning. The resurrection of my voice, the renewal of my writing, a window into my faith and the slow process of healing. May you find your own story as freeing, as filled with hope and redemption. May you follow the path God sets out for you, with Him guiding your motives, may you find renewal of your soul in leaning into the light, escaping the darkness of anger, fear, hate, bitterness. Thanks for reading and supporting the opening of my life, may grace follow you today.