Monday, September 28, 2009
October - it arrives every year with all of it's color and wind and smells and shadows and darkening skies and crisp mornings and silver gray cloud cover and Halloween decorations and chain saws roaring and spices and soups and pies and stews simmering. Oh yes, October is wonderful. ominous, fierce, vibrant with color and prepares us for the sometimes harsh and yet often beautiful and crystal cold Winter. I am reminded and stimulated and triggered as my senses are bombarded with Autumn's reasons. My Dad died in October, October 22nd 1984. Twenty five years ago. I will honor him with his own post - later in the month. I will tell you all this. This past weekend was the Durham Fair - my folks went in 1984. My Dad wore a 10-gallon hat and a green suit jacket - other fair goers thought him to be a celebrity of some kind. In many ways he was. And the weekend before that was the Guilford Fair. I went with my Mom and Dad and my kids in 1984. I had a sprained ankle but I hobbled about. I can still see my Dad sitting with the stroller that held my son who was just a baby at he time. My Dad died a few weeks after the fairs. I never went again. Not once in 25 years. I hold the memory of going with my Dad quite sacred.
October holds other memories for me. Memories of past trauma. All part of my truth, my "it's"....life-changing events. I was first abused by the the teacher in October. The Monastery, pictured above, holds strong memories. I met Jill for the first time on a Friday evening at a church event - it was profound and intense and we blended easily in part because of our similar pasts and in greater part because of our admiration and trust in James. We sat in my car that night for hours smoking cigarettes and telling each other everything. James told us to and so of course, we did. On the following Sunday my girls wanted to go and ride our horse so I dropped them off at the stable and wen on to the Monastery with my son for Sunday Mass. The Monastery is in the North part of our Town quite a ways from the main church down town. The priests, James and Daniel took turns coming to the Monastery to officiate 10:00 Mass. James was very charismatic. He walked down the main aisle in the small chapel often stopping and placing a hand on some one's shoulder and lifting a child up. He wore jeans and sandals and placed himself amongst his flock of faithful people, all in awe of this spirited man speaking the "word" like no other ever could. Jill came to Mass that day too and I felt a tap on my shoulder and she handed me a card. She slid in a few rows behind me. We followed James back and forth from the Monastery to the big church down town. We sat on the benches on the Monastery grounds amongst statues and gardens and 'stations of the cross' and we talked and talked and laughed and cried and loved and promised. We watched my son play.
Over time, as I was turned over to Daniel for my continuing therapy. Jill would follow James and I followed Daniel. James and I had been developing the 'Pastoral Counseling Center' and Daniel and I were going off in another very secretive direction in the name of Jesus, healing and redemption. It was all quite sick. Daniel was visiting me at my home, and having me sell my house and intended to use some of the proceeds to add on to a house he owned and I would move in to his house with my children. I was willing to follow him any where. Come early October Daniel took me away for a weekend - and it was then that I surrendered to the final intimacy. And two weeks later, on a Thursday on October 15h was the final so called therapeutic attempt where Daniel believed that by re-creating my childhood trauma I could finally have a voice and power and I would be free. It ended horribly with Daniel back handing me for resisting him and James finding me on the floor with a split and swollen lip. Later when I asked James to 'tell what he saw' to my lawyer he refused and said he saw nothing. The ultimate betrayal. Eventually Daniel left the priesthood quietly and a few months later so did James - to marry and become re-ordained in a different ministry. Jill went away and never looked back. I missed her terribly.
The Monastery had started as a place of trusted worship and belonging to a faith community. I loved going to Mass there - The cloistered nuns were on the other side of the chapel behind a filtered meshing so they couldn't be seen. I could hear t hem and they sang like angels. I recall sitting with Daniel for hours after Mass - he would plan our Thursday session and tell me what to expect and be ready for. I really believed that both James and Daniel were sent to me from God - that I was special, chosen even - I couldn't have been more wrong.
And so yes, I do give some time and thought and reflection to some of the life changing events of October. For years I ran from my truths and that was very costly on many levels. Now, as Autumn approaches and I am triggered and I remember I don't need to run or hide or escape. I can honor my memories, my truths because to not do that is to deny myself "me". I don't slump in the pain or give in to the horror or feel like a victim - I am in charge now and I have been for a long time. They have no power in my life. I recall walking home after the first time with the teacher and somehow knowing that if I took off my shoes and felt the rough road on my feet I would not feel him. To this day I heal through my feet. God was looking out for me back then - I didn't know that then but I do now and have known for a long time. James and Daniel served many purposes in my life as did Jill. I will tell you that despite how James betrayed me he did introduce me to the Jesus in me. I have nurtured that truth ever since. And Daniel? He gave me the opportunity to fight back - I never knew I had it in me but I did, I do. And Jill - I know I loved her with purity of heart and her leaving our friendship was about her, not me. I learned that to love well is never wrong regardless of how it ends.
The teacher - well, I learned that there is evil in this world - a lesson that has cautioned me and saved me many times over.
And so this October as I travel by the monastery - I will honor my memories - each one is of value and purpose - many were life changing and most are still a driving force - except now I am in the drives seat. Amen.
Love and honor for Autumn's reasons-
Posted by Gail at 6:44 PM