Never again, God.

(warnings: rape; clergy abuse)

 I like drawing on my folders.
I believe that for the last three years of my life I’ve been trying to hide a moment in my history when I realized that even though I fought back—even though I managed to stop a disaster; my life still changed and I was never the same person ever again. It was the moment that destroyed all my achievements of my past, all the accolades, desires and ambitions, because I truly believed that I would never be as successful, as passionate, or as powerful as the person I was before that night.

Because the morning after I woke up and the first thing I realized was that he was still in my bed. That the events of the previous evening still happened, but life had to go on. That was what I was taught; and that’s what I believed. I woke up, a fragment of faith left and an autonomous response to living unfolded as I made breakfast. I packed lunch. I told him I loved him because I had in the past. I continued my responsibilities but there was something different.

I believe I was in shock for the next three weeks.Nothing has ever felt safe. No smile, no person, no situation; no one and nothing. And most importantly, not I could bring myself to feel and to respond to the trauma that I felt. I had so many questions about God. I had so many misgivings about what the church represented as the solution.

Pleas that I had to find myself again; or a way to move out of the situation translated into more confusion. I think I’m still confused by it.The questions, they are never answered. Questions like, why would a pastor believe that he can exert authority over another person? The questions that should the biblical witness be read as a translation and obeyed to the law if it meant that I should be raped and accept that as my destiny. Did it mean that I would never be a person again? Did it mean that I had lost favor from God; that God didn’t want me to be a minister anymore?

Did it mean that I still had to care about the well being of my family? That I still had to go to work and be cheery even though I couldn’t find the button for smile in me? Did it mean that I couldn’t have dreams or desires? Did it mean that I was punished for being so open and faithful to God? Did it mean that I had to live a quiet life in order to never talk about it ever again or to never relive the emotional and physical memories ever again?

For a very long time I wasn’t in control of the flashbacks. I was not in control of my reactions. I was so sad more than angry. I was so in love with him more than I was angry at him. I even semi-adopted his son because he still spoke wonderfully and beautifully about me.

I’m very certain that I did everything right. I took the precautions, went to the doctor, filed the police report, therapy, I even learned to forgive. That’s one of the weird advices I was taught. I was taught that Jesus taught us to forgive.

I could forgive him. I could forgive the circumstances the way my younger sister turned on me because I was not being genuine or had so much grief I couldn’t even cope with reality. I forgave the bad advice. I forgave the misdiagnosis, but I couldn’t forgive myself. Logically, I knew I had done nothing wrong. I knew that it wasn’t like I knew that it would happen. But I couldn’t forgive the many pathways that led to that day. That led to the days before when I met him. I couldn’t forgive the happiness I felt with him before. I couldn’t forgive that the friendship I threw away with a friend of ten plus years couldn’t console me. That nothing could console me. The vices I knew that sustained me before couldn’t console me. The promises of God’s kingdom couldn’t console me.

The tears I cried and didn’t cry couldn’t console me. The long hours I spent alone couldn’t console me. The times I spent in a hospital trying not to kill myself couldn’t console me. Death couldn’t console me because it would never be allowed to come. Nothing I have done has changed the fear that there are other ministers in any denomination out there doing the same or similar or different to unsuspecting people that do not deserve that fate on their shoulders.

God, for reals, this yoke is a tad too heavy to bear. God I’m still waiting for the reality of your promise that you are sovereign that I have free will to change my destiny. I await for the day the small whirlwinds of leaves and dirt you put in front me will present some clarity of why me? Why this world that is depraved and sinful; and why is your creation so beautiful and flawed at the same time?

Because the truth of being human is not the fact that we have a human condition. That we suffer and that we relish at times in the misery of each other. The true condition is that humans are preconditioned to expect a deity to work with us, for us, and through us for a grander world. For justice for equity if not equality. The human condition is that we see the hurt and pain of our meager suffering and we want more. We want justice to roll like waters but not drown us for forty days and forty nights. That we want to know there will be a time and a day when the sun is going to shine and the dove will find dry land. We claim to want forgiveness because not even Cain, who teaches us that sin crouches at the door, had to endure the eternity of a fake existence in torment and solitude. No, that is something that is man made for certain.

So what about this pain God? This pain that I live with when I’m not looking. The pain that turns my soul every now and then. The conflict that I’ve avoided for three years because I never wanted to relive it.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of people abused by clergy know this pain all too well. Some braver than I who stand in front of cameras and words to bring down those that protect and hide the men and women who do harm. Never again, God. There is no greater force than you, God. You are as responsible as I am; as the pastor you ordained into ministry; as the people who try to console; as the people who try to hide everything because I can’t do this alone.

I can’t seek forgiveness for myself alone. For you God, my soul alone waits in silence. Because it wasn’t like he was the only person to destroy me that way. If the trends are correct, probably not the last person either. But, if I had it my way; it will never happen to me again. It will never happen to anyone ever again. And I pray that your divine mercy can alleviate my burden.Because I’m nothing more than your created being; made in your image; to do your sovereign will in the face of this eternity.

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