Friday, March 7, 2014

The Blessing and the Curse

A verse from Thursday's first reading reached out and grabbed me - 
“...I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live,...” (Dt 30:19)

The blessing and the curse. I had used this scripture verse in my book - The Third Floor Window, A True Story of Secrets, Survival and Hope.
And today that passage brought me back. It is Lent, after all. And it was during Lent that the sexual abuse crisis in the church hit the newspapers in the United States. And it was then, as I struggled with my cross, that Fr. Tom, my spiritual director, helped me work through it and encouraged me to write the book. To write through the pain.
The blessing and the curse.
This excerpt from the book explains - 
Father Tom tells me there are two sides to the sexual abuse. One side is a curse - the pain and damage that has been done to me. But the other side is a blessing - as I struggle to heal, to face my brokenness, to love, to believe I am lovable, I find grace. I find God.
The trick is to learn to embrace both sides.
I did not choose to be here. And I often wish it would all go away. There is no one who wants me to forget more than me. Sometimes, when the pain hits me out of the blue, I wonder if I can survive it. Then I look at Jesus on the cross and I know that I am blessed.
I am blessed because I have found God in my suffering. I am blessed because I know that I do not carry this cross alone. I have never carried this cross alone.
In my darkest hours, when I cannot forget, when the pain from my childhood has pushed me to my knees, faith tells me that God is holding on to me and will never let me go.
And on my resurrection day, when I finally see the face of God, I will not only be healed, I will be fixed. It will be over. And on that day, I will forget. Because there will no longer be any reason to remember.
“For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Rev 7:17)


Karin said...

What a grace and a blessing to be able to embrace both sides, Colleen.Those were wise words from Fr. Tom. Healing is such an ongoing process. I am glad this Scripture verse grabbed you in this way.
I have never thought of embracing both sides- we always want to run from the curse side, but Jesus didn't run from it in His Passion~neither should we.
Thanks for this;it is a great help for me as well.
Hugs and blessings!

Colleen said...

Karin, thank you! Your words are encouraging and healing. I agree - we tend to want to run away from the curse. However, trying to look at what I have gained from struggling with the pain and turning to God with it has been a major part of my healing journey. God is like that. :)
Hugs and blessings!

Mary N. said...

Your post reminds me of something I read in the Catechism the other week about forgiveness: "It is not in our power not to feel or to forget an offense; but the heart that offers itself to the Holy Spirit turns injury into compassion and purifies the memory in transforming the hurt into intercession." This is exactly what you do and I thought of you the minute I read this, Colleen. You and God have worked together to help others who have suffered through the trauma of sexual abuse. Instead of letting it destroy you, you overcame it and now many others have been helped by you.
I saw your comment about your book and I just wanted you to know that it has a permanent place on my sidebar. Your book truly is anointed.

I read this post a few days ago but wanted to think about it a bit before I commented. I want you to know that I have always applauded your grace and courage in dealing with and speaking out about sexual abuse. Your voice matters, Colleen. I know God is extremely proud of you and I am too.

Sending you a big hug!

Colleen said...

Your words mean a lot to me. Thank you, Mary. A big hug right back!