Tag Archives: emotional scars of abuse

Moving Day

I awake from a dream about moving day.  In the dream, a friend and I are both dancers in the chorus of an off-Broadway musical.  Poor as church mice, we fantasize about a stage success that will bring us fame and fortune. 

In costume, she is graceful and evocative.  In life, she is warm and enthusiastic.

My friend has approached me to ask for help in relocating.  I have never been to her apartment before.  We run a gauntlet of threatening catcalls from men, as we approach the place. 

One actually forces his way into the apartment, but my friend fends him off with a drug dose she has stashed above the door.  She does not lock the door on his departure.  I feel uneasy about this, sure he will return. 

The apartment, itself, is beyond shabby – a tiny, windowless room, exposed to the weather.  The place is furnished, if one can use the word, with bits and pieces of broken objects.  My friend treats these tenderly, as if they were priceless.  Meanwhile, she must rely on a nearby restroom, for lack of an alternative. 

She has no packing boxes, and has not begun to sort through what she will take and what she will leave behind.

It strikes me that this dream is a metaphor for the after-effects of child abuse.  Often, the exterior we present to the world is like a play.  We dress in costume, adopt the mannerisms we see around us, in an effort to fit in. Continue reading

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Filed under Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse

Becoming Ourselves

Photo of artist, Georgia O’Keeffe, by her husband, Alfred Stieglitz (PD).  Though O’Keeffe’s vision was compromised by macular degeneration in later years, she continued to work well into her 90s.

It has been said that we become more ourselves, as we grow older.  Superficial beauty fades, and a softer (or, in some cases, starker) beauty takes its place.  This incorporates our scars, evidence of the life we have lived, with and without our consent.

We long, in youth, to be part of a larger whole – the beloved or a noble cause, perhaps.  The paths we take determine greatly – and depend greatly on – whether or not that happens.

The heart calls us to venues and ventures we would never have thought ourselves capable of pursuing, let alone achieving.  Sometimes though it seems we are being led.  Not by our desires alone, but by some external force.

“…[H]e made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in His quiver” (Isa. 49: 2).

Most of us must deal with tragedy, along the way.  Some lives are cut short by it.  Grief and loss can arise from many causes in this imperfect world:  abuse, racism, poverty, and violence, to name a few.

We are shaped by these experiences, and can be broken by them.  Chances are, we will be forced to make difficult choices.  Almost everyone is.

For a tree branch to be made into an arrow, it must be stripped of leaves (John 15: 2); fired, so as to become pliable (Isa. 48: 10, Rom. 5: 3 and 8: 28, James 1: 2-4, 1 Pet. 1: 6-7); straightened (Eph. 2: 21 and 4: 15-16, Heb. 10: 24-25); sanded (Heb. 12: 7-11); and oiled (Ps. 104: 15, Gal. 5: 22-23, Eph. 5: 18) [1].

Ultimately, the arrow finds its target.  So, too, will our lives, in God’s hands, find their intended target…even if that target is not what we originally supposed.

We can rely on that.

[1]   All credit for this information about arrow construction, and the biblical citations associated with it goes to Fountaingate Christian Foundation. See, ChurchLink, Bible Study Warehouse, Series:  The Call – Lesson 7,  “Preparation for Ministry”,  http://www.churchlink.com.au/churchlink/bible_studies/call/call7.html. Copyright © 1981, 1996 Paul Bunty and David Collins. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Poverty, Religion, Terrorism, Violence Against Women