Monday, September 28, 2009

THE MONASTERY AS OCTOBER APPROACHES




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-
Gail
peace........

46 comments:

a corgi said...

sending you a hug this morning Gail; I'm so sorry for the events of your life that brought you sorrow and pain; I never really know sometimes what to say when reading of people's pain they have been through; but I have to admire you greatly for writing about them and trying to deal with them as hard and as painful as it may be; I tend to bury a lot which is not a good healing thing to do

betty

Gail said...

HI BETTY-

thank you so much for your kind words of understanding and compassion. Please know I am really fine and empowered and free. That is why I write about this at times so people know that there is hope of healing and freedom. That truth in the light is better than secrets in the darkness.

Love to you
Gail
peace.....

Teacher's Pet said...

Gail well said: "That truth in the light is better than secrets in the darkness.."
He is the light...the Light of the world...and I am glad that you have the strength and the love for others to go forward with conviction for Jesus...no matter how man (human) has tried to ruin that for you. (Notice I said, 'tried'... They didn't succeeed!! Bless you, Gail.
You have the Truth...and the Truth has set you free.
Love,
Jackie

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Gail…

I appreciate so much the strength and courage and pain you've expended on your journey—and the insight and faith and heart you've gained as a result.

Life is not a sitcom; it doesn't always work out the way we hope; there are, indeed, bad people out there who mean to do you harm…and will.

But there's the other side of the coin, too—the healing and understanding and unexpected blessings. You have taken a terrible series of negatives and turned them into a wealth of positives, not only for yourself, but others, in your testimony of survival and deliverance.

You are a true inspiration. I so love that line in your comment above…that "truth in the light is better than secrets in the darkness."

Eileen said...

The after effects of your experience are so different from mine.

The abuser was a teacher too, but I don't harbor any ill feelings toward him. I don't think of him as evil, I think of him as sick.
It was a summer camp program that my Mom sent us to in a public school across the street from us, I was nine years old.
I certainly can't say they are good memories, but to me, it's just something really not nice that happened to me one summer when I was little. I don't have a lot of anger about it, I still live across the street from that school, it doesn't bother me to see it, in fact, the happy memories of that summer school still stick with me too, the new friends I met, the other teachers that did arts-and-crafts with us, and the dance teachers, they were all so kind.
The man teacher that abused me, the kids used to call him Mr. Marble Mouth because he had some kind of a speech impediment, I felt sorry for him then, and I feel sorry for him now, for reasons other than his speech impediment obviously.
I don't know why I found it easy to let go of all that, but I did. I don't deny what happened to me, but I don't carry it with me.

In your case, I for some reason find what the Daniel priest did to you more abhorrent I think because that wasn't sick impulse, that was thought-out, planned-out abuse and betrayal.
And the same with that James priest, that too was decisive betrayal.
Taking advantage of someone's fragile state of mind, state of heart, and state of soul is pure evil in my opinion.

As far as Jill, she's just seemed like a lost soul floundering. It might have been too hard for her to have any association with that experience. Who knows what goes through another's mind and heart.

I'm glad you could work your way through it all and get to a healthy place in mind and spirit. I'm so glad your life is full, and that the good outweighs the bad.
I guess that's what it is with me too, the many Blessings far outweigh the bad. God Is Good. And for the most part, life is good.
I wish you all the best.
Love and Prayers,
Eileen

Bernie said...

You have conquered your heavy burdens and are a much better person for it.....honor October for all it's lessons, honor yourself for the beautiful woman you have become and give the evil to God to judge......:-) Hugs

Gail said...

HI BERNIE -

I am so happy to see you. And what you said about "give the evil to God to judge.....". Oh yes, I SO agree. Reading it out oud was very powerful -- especiaaly because it was you that wrote it to me.
Love to you
Gail
peace.......

Gail said...

HI EILEEN-

First, I am honored that you shared your childhood abuse with me on my blog. I am sorry that happened to you and yet I can see that you and your life and your memories are way bigger/better than your abuser and that is SO wonderful. Mine are too! :-)

And everything you said about Daniel - being sick impulse and thought out-planned out abuse, and James - decisive betrayal and Jill - a floundering lost soul.. 100% accurate.
I SO appreciate your shared experience, your kindness and compassion, your wisdom, your courage and strength - I am blessed to know you.

Love to you
Gail
peace.....

Gail said...

HI GRIZZ-

I am so thrilled by your wonderful, honest and wise words to me. I was concerned about trhis post - as "truth" can get mixed reviews, ya know? :-) ANd for sure, I am SO wildly thrilled by all the goodness in this world and all the blessings that I have been so generously given especially since I know,as you say, "the other side of the coin".....
again, "tyhank you"

Love to you
Gail
peace.....

Gail said...

H JACKIER -

Oh yes, the truth is SO freeing, freeing indeed. And I do believe that my truth is all I am asked to "be".....and so in honoring all of my life experiences I am honoring Him.......and when I share my truths then I am the human form of what it is to be Eucharistic - broken and poured out so others can have hope.....
Love and faith
Gail
peace.......

Diana said...

Gail you know I too was abused as a girl. But it has taught me lessons. Jake and I had a long conversation the other night about how horrible my first marriage went and all of the what if's. The important thing is that I went through 17 years of misery with this person and if I hadn't I would not have had Frank and Ginny. I probably wouldn't have met Jake and then not had Katie. And that's where I truly believe that God has a plan.I would hope that there had to have been something that came out of your experience that made you what you are today. And from what I can tell you are pretty amazing.
Love Di

Gail said...

HI DIANA -

I am humI know how truly blessed I am as are you - I am humbled by you sharing of your childhood abuse and in some odd way honored that my truth is freeing others to bring their truth in to an even brighter light of hope. ANd I SO understand the 'chain of events' that got me here to this amazing life with Skipp - each of us survived and have come through what we did so we could get here - I know my journey was always purposeful as was/is yours.
I love your shared honesty and courage.

Love and hope for us all
Gail
peace......

Margie said...

Dear Gail
My heart goes out to you!
You have been through so much ... I just cannot imagine.

But, WOW! How strong you are now and so full of courage!
You are amazing and inspiring!
You have my utmost admiration.

I send you hugs!

Mark said...

Gail,
You are in charge! You are love and you are loved! You have a wonderful perspective and understand that all has purpose.
Namaste my friend.

Choices said...

Hi Gail,
You have been through so much, but you have come out strong. You are very brave and have alot of courage.
Take care.

Gail said...

HI ANNE "CHOICES"

Oh my "brave and a lot of courage" eesh, I always shy away from such adjectives when it comes to how people see me n response to my life's challenges. But I so appreciate your words to me and your compassion is so helpful.

love Gail
peace.....

Gail said...

HI MARGIE -

"thank you", I appreciate so much your kind and validating words to me. It took a lopng time to muster up the courage and strength to face my truths - and the life-giving gifts that followed have been endless - especially when my truth inspires another to face theirs -
Love Gail
peace....

Gail said...

HI MARK -
I so love that word "nameste". :-)

"thank you" Mark for your profound shared wisdom and validation of my journey. It means more that I could possibly convey.

Love Gail
peace.....

Wanda said...

So many people would put things of this nature behind them and move on with their lives...a few brave souls use their experience for the benefit of others...that would be people like you Gail. It's good to turn something of such a negative nature into an opportunity to maybe be of help to others to do likewise.

Gail said...

Hi Wanda-

You have noticed such an important point. The place of which you are writing is of surrender. It is only when I surrendered to my truths that I could then see them as gifts, opportunity that could help or free another. If you think about organizations such as MADD - the horror of their lost child to a drunk driver will always be horrible but they took that tragedy and are helping millions. Every experience we have, good or bad is a gift of self to share - because all we really have to give one another is ourselves - I am in awe of how people are sharing in their comments. We are all so amazing and together we have such wisdom and SO many gits of self to offer, from recipes, to our homes, our children, our tragedies and our triumphs, our challenges and our joys, our humor and our loves, our pride and our disappointments - I could go on. Thank you Wanda, "thank you......."

Love Gail
peace.....

Whitemist said...

Thousands of thoughts, but I just shake my head because I realize that these men were thinking they were doing you good. They did, but not in the way they intended. As usual, something good can always come out of the darkness, if we let it happen.
That was some story to share.

C. Om said...

I am happy to see you hold no grudges. By letting go of the pain and embracing the life lessons, you have transcended the trap that our minds can so often hold us in.

Your perspective is a shining inspiration to all who are able to see it as such.

Thank you for sharing! :-)

Children with out voices said...

There is a little irony to our post, maybe its different stories but the stroking of the same emotions. They said that forgiving is healing and yet forgetting allows a sort of repetition, I shall never forget! As always thank you for your kindness as you leave such heart filled comments of your experiences," that one soul maybe saved" Our similarities lay in our strength to survive and we have survived.

Children with out voices said...

There is a little irony to our post, maybe its different stories but the stroking of the same emotions. They said that forgiving is healing and yet forgetting allows a sort of repetition, I shall never forget! As always thank you for your kindness as you leave such heart filled comments of your experiences," that one soul maybe saved"

Gail said...

HI CHILDREN WITHOUT VOICES-

"thank you" for sharing your journey with me and for honoring me with your presence in mine. I so love that we found each other.
And I tried to "forget" - it cost me so much and I never forgot a thing.
ANd I am humbled that anything I say inspires you - I have oly me and my journey to give - and I am always amazed and so thrilled when I am able to add another meaning to my experience because I shared and in that someone did not feel alone.,

Love and hope
Gail
peace......

Gail said...

HI C OM-

SO nice to see you here. And "thank you" for your wise words of understanding and compassion. And yes, I have transcended the 'trap' - excellent language to explain it! :-)

Love to you
Gail
peace.....

Gail said...

HI JOEY-
You captiponed well the outcome to those men - something good did come of what they did - not what they intended but rather what I chose. ANd that is why I can say I am empowered and in charge. I couldn't for along time - but once I got to that place, out of the darkness, there was no stopping me.
Love to you
Gail
peace.....

Rose Marie Raccioppi said...

Gail, You paint both the real and the metaphoric onto a canvas of faith and love. You provide us with images of the human condition imbued with colors, with feelings, with reflections, with realizations, with awakenings, of every hue and tone. Praise and gratitude to you dear Gail!

Comrade Kevin said...

Thanks for posting the pictures!

TheChicGeek said...

Gail, what a powerful, heartfelt and awe inspiring post. Indeed, October has held some life-altering events for you. The wonderful thing, I believe, about God, is how he uses even those traumas to bring us to a stronger and better place, and yes, there is evil in the world.
You are a courageous woman, a true survivor and an inspiration to me...I think, to us all.

I think you should go to the fair in honor of your father, remember the time with him there and rejoice in the fact that you are living and loving and you can!

October is my birth month so for me it has always held great happiness and joy. The changing of the seasons is beautiful and as my birthday comes, it is always a time I re-evaluate my life, celebrate it, and make plans for an even better year than the one before.

I just want to thank you again for sharing your story with us...you've given me much to think about and I am so touched by your love and willingness to share with us.
Have a Beautiful Day, Gail!
Big Hug and Lots of Love to You!
xx
Kelly

TheChicGeek said...

PS: Sorry I took so long to get over here, Gail. I like to come as soon as you post...sometimes life is just so busy making it difficult but I'm so glad that I made it here today. Sometimes maybe there is grand timing in life, a time you are "supposed" to read something...it is the time your heart can take it in the best and understand.
Thank you again :D
Hugs<3

Teresa said...

Hi Gail,

Just last week my oldest son Niels wrote this on his Facebook page, he has never spoken to me concerning his feelings about what happened to our family and a Church, and another man named Daniel.
"There is a God! He finally answered my prayers (since I was 16, I've been asking ) and tore down that white Church here in Temecula. The church that destroyed so many families and countless people! I've been saving my money to buy that land just so I can blow up that building. I guess someone beat me to it!"

Yes, a man, and a church, did play a big part in destroying my family. It is obvious by my son's words that he has been affected by this even more than I originally thought. He is angry, and I am touched deeply by his words. The pain runs very deep. The only thing I know to do is trust the Lord for a healing, for all of us, this has been my prayer for many years now.

I understand a little of the pain you have gone through.

((((HUGS))))) T

Gail said...

HI ROSEMARIE-

I feel like my truth has just be painted and poetic and it is beautiful. "Thank you"

Love Gail
peace.....

Gail said...

HI TERESA -

You have mentioned before that we had some similar experiences around the church. I feel so honored that you shred more of your truth. And I understand your feelings about blowing up the church - and your relief that it has com down. And it is good that you and your son are talking about what happened - it is all part of the haling. The priest(s) in my world destroyed many lives, as well. Heart wrenching, fist clenching betrayal.

Love to you
Gail
peace.....

Gail said...

HI KELLY CHIC GEEK -

So nice to see you and I am glad that when you came to visit that the timing ws right for you. Thank you so much for your kind words of understanding, compassion, love and strong validation. It means so much to me.
And maybe next year I can go back to the fair(s). Maybe :-)

Love to you
Gail
peace.....

Gail said...

Hi Kevin-

Always nice to see you. Glad you liked the pictures. :-)

Love Gail
peace.....

Teresa said...

Hi Gail,
The feelings of blowing up the church belong to my son, not me, and we have "not" talked about it, ever.
I did not know until recently that my son had such deep seated feelings and anger.

Gail said...

HI Teresa-

I apologize for and misunderstanding on my part.

Love Gail
peace.....

Children with out voices said...

Thank you for your comment on the blog. Though I personally know Anna, every thirty seconds another story just like Anna's is played out. Eight years ago a woman in hiding, awaiting her husbands release from prison confided in me. She said you won't forget me will you. I think I side tracked a little on my mission. I know that God gives us various abilities to make a difference on this earth and you and I have been given the ability to share our experiences and hopefully prevent or at least bring an awareness to the varied abuse stories.
May God keep you in his good graces, for man is weak at best.

Gail said...

HI CHILDREN WITHOUT VOICES-
I truly admire the work yo are doing so that those who are silenced cna be heard. And hopefully freed.

Love and respect
Gail
peace......

cordieb said...

{{Hugs}} I'm pushed for time right now, but simply wanted to let you know that I was here today. Stay strong. . . October is surely a painful month in your history. I do know that you are a survivor and your sharing help many to survive too.

Blessings Gail,

PLL, C.

Gail said...

HI CORDIE_

Thanks for stopping by, always SO nice to see you. I appreciate your kind words to me very much. And yes, October has many offerings.

Love Gail
peace.....

Finding Pam said...

Gail, thank you for sharing your story. It is such a gut wrenching story about abuse and how a seemingly normal priest can carry deep evil secrets.

This is one area where I have no mercy for anoyone that hurts children. It is a violation of their trust and innocents.

They are so sneaky and blend in so well that it would be hard to know someone was that evil.

I am thankful that you have been able to overcome this horrible act and use it to empower you.

We are survivors inspite of what evil people have done to us. I thank God that He is always with me.

Peace and love my friend,
Pam

Gail said...

Hi Pam-

"Thank you" so much for your kind, compassionate, understanding and wise words to me. And yes we are all survivors of some kind - I have long since been freed and empowered and it is why, from time to time, I share my truth so others who may still be in bondage can know that freedom is possible.

Love to you
Gail
peace.....

Rose Marie Raccioppi said...

Checking in - with a Saturday hug... and autumn thoughts... Rose Marie

Gail said...

HI ROSEMARIE

I love that you stopped by. :-) I feel you holding me and it is wonderful.

Love Gail
peace.....