There is a scene in the movie Poltergeist that keeps coming to my mind lately. Frightening, I know. The little girl has been sucked into the television, naturally, and one or both of the parents are going in after her. (My recollection is a bit vague as it’s been about thirty years since I’ve seen that movie.) So, the parents are about to go in and try to rescue her but the medium tells them that they need to be careful not to get permanently sucked in to the television ghosty vortex themselves, so they tie a rope around themselves so they can be pulled out if need be. Stay with me here…
I am asking you – my friends and blog readers – to metaphorically tie a rope around me. As I talked about last time, I’m praying and thinking and reading my way to my new thing. But here’s what I’m noticing. I’m surrounding myself with information and stories of abuse and difficult marriages and horrible divorces and church-help-gone wrong tales, and it’s starting to get to me a little bit. And my fear is that I just might slip under the current. That I just might become too sad and too bitter to be of any good to anyone.
So, as I move forward in this, my prayer is that as I read and process and ask and listen and pray that I am able to look at my past pain realistically — not making it worse than it was (there was not a devil behind every bush) but also not downplaying it (‘wow, her story is way worse than my story…maybe my story wasn’t even that bad’…it was). I need a rope tied around me.
Because I want to come out of this immersion time with clear eyes and a soft heart (not to be mistaken for Friday Night Lights’ clear eyes, full hearts mantra, but super close).
I don’t want to slip into a depression, but even more so, I don’t want to slip into men-hate or abuser-hate or marriage-hate or church-hate. I want to see life and pain for what it is – for its beauty and rawness and opportunity – and I want to take what I’ve experienced and what I’m learning, and I desperately want to do some deep good for the women God brings across my path, everyone from the readers of my books and blogs to the women at speaking engagements and my sweet communities in my private Facebook groups (at 281 members and growing).
I had the privilege of attending a seminar recently entitled Approaching Domestic Violence from Different Faith Perspectives and one of the gems I jotted down in my four pages of notes was this, from Father Paul White:
“This is the only ministry (domestic abuse awareness/support) where nice, well-intentioned people can get someone killed. We must take this seriously.”
I am just now getting this. Too much is at stake. In some cases, actual lives are at stake. In all cases, actual souls are at stake. Souls are being systematically broken down to the point of numbness and death. With everything in me, I want to help; I want to be of service. Because I absolutely refuse to let my pain go to waste. But as I move forward, as I soak things in, my healing soul needs protection, so friends, through prayer, tie a rope around me, please.