Welcome to A Life Examined

What is the examined life? A life worth living! As I look at the road ahead, I take all the baggage from the past and use it as experience - the pain and the passion, the sorrow and the joy - allowing it to carve wisdom into my mind and hope into my spirit.
There is no experience that can't be useful to me at some point in my life. There is no lesson learned that cannot make a contribution to the future.
A tiny drop of water is a part of the ocean. A tiny speck in the night sky is a ginormous star in the distance. It all depends on perspective.
So, this examined life is to offer reflections in the hope of discussing things which are of value to myself and to others.
Love, Sarah

Friday, 1 June 2012

Brokenness - the memory of a memory

"He was angry and scary. I ran. I ran up the basement stairs and across the kitchen and out the door.
By the time I was climbing the local rocks nearby I had forgotten why I was running.
Dressed in a dark brown corduroy jacket and Lee jeans I know I was twelve. My long dark hair hung around my face. If I was out of breath it didn't last for long before I was singing at the top of my lungs in this solitary open rocky space. Eventually I would sing the entire score from Jesus Christ Superstar - the musical passion (no pun intended) of my heart at the time.
What was I running from? Not what but who? My dad.
Why? Because I was scared. Scared of his temper, scared of his face. Scared of his hands.
So I ran away.
By the time I would return home the cloud would remain but the reason for it would be gone."

This is a memory of a memory.  Over twenty years ago I waded through hours of reading and counseling to help me work through the shock and pain of emotional memory. There was abuse in my childhood but the type - the degree - to which it occurred  and the basis of its truth will never be provable. 

Is it possible for me to have imagined the memories? To experience the shock, pain and horror of sexual abuse without it having ever happened? On the other hand, is it conceivable to experience years of abuse and to block it out completely until a safe time to remember arrives?
The memory of the memory was recalled when I was thirty. Now, that in itself seems a 'lifetime' ago.

As I write this, I do not want to write it. And I have no personal need to share. And I am very tentative. By God's grace and my own hard work I have overcome the cloud of shame that hung over me for most of my life, and I have intimate friends and family of my own now. But there are families torn apart over this issue of abuse. Perhaps that's why I raise it.

Some truths are never possible to prove. During the time of recovery from the abuse I was so sure my memories were real. Now, healed and free, I do not know. It is almost as though I am not the same person as the woman who bore the cloud. As to the child, yes, I know that was me. I remember the confusion and the misery of being a girl very well. But as I look back, whilst I've no urge to relive any of that time not even to change it, I know if it had not been for my suffering I would not be the person I am now... I would not have the compassion, the empathy for others in pain and I would not have the wisdom to know 'the truth - whether provable or not - will set us free.'
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