50 years ago, my mother birthed me in an ambulance at a traffic signal in San Jose. She always told me that the reason I cried a lot as a kid was due to my entrance into the world. The siren was screaming. She was screaming. And the ambulance attendant who had never before delivered a baby was screaming. She thought it only natural that I would scream, as well. And then I kept on screaming.
In truth, there were other reasons I screamed as a kid. Lots of them. There were many people who did horrible things to me, and there was nowhere to unburden my soul and speak my truth about what was happening to me. So I cried. A lot.
Then I stopped crying. That was the place people SHOULD have been concerned. I put most of the memories out of my head and became the adept manager and administrator that everyone needed me to be.
All the while, there were multiple volcanoes brewing inside. But I continued to put one foot in front of the other, marching to the unconscious mantra of survival. Forget. Deny. Minimize. Stay busy. Work harder. Perform better. And it worked. For awhile.
It All Fell Apart
Then it all fell apart. My pieces fell into the laps of a couple of people who wanted to help me and thought they knew what I needed. Unfortunately, they were less than half right. The half that was wrong nearly destroyed me. I survived severe emotional, sexual, and physical abuse as a child. I was good at survival. But I very nearly didn’t survive this.
I landed in a program called Life Skills where I spent 3 years finding my fractured self and sewing it together. In the process I learned that I could admit the horrible truths of the reality I grew up with and that we are all a complicated mixture of light and dark. I learned that trust is not an all or nothing choice.
We all have places where we are not completely trustworthy. And some have more of those places than others. I have come to trust myself more and more to discern where people fall on that scale. I also learned that God and I are the only experts on me. No one else can see me from the inside. No one else can be the all knowing good parent that every child must believe in.
There is something I CAN believe in, though. I can believe in a good God who took care of me through things most people don’t even want to think about. I used to get hung up on how a good God could let me go through those things. Now, my picture of a good God is much bigger than one who intervenes in evil expressions of human will.
My good God is so big and so good that He is able to take that evil and transform it into life. He values my free choice to receive His love and love Him right back so very much, that He will let bad things happen and then He will amaze the world by pulling the ultimate rabbit out of a hat. He brings light where there was only darkness and joy where there is no rational reason for its existence. He brings comfort and compassion into the black holes of wounded and confused souls. And then, like a cherry on top, He turns it all around into arms and hands and a heart who can help others look honestly at their own pain and find hope in the midst of it.
My story is not finished yet. But the first 50 years only pave the way to the next glorious 20 or 30 or 40. I celebrate a half century of life, knowing that the person I am becoming is worth every bit of what it has taken to get here. I have a big hope. And a big God. And that’s enough for me.