Lent has been brutal. I cried every single day. It’s a liquid Lent. Sharon was so concerned but she laughed every time I said it was just dross removal; I have so much dross to be removed. The tears seem to be abating; the sun shines sometimes.
The soldiers, the man who raped me, the ministers, the cruel children in that house, even the minister’s wife, all those who did horrible things to me, though some of them would say they were helping me, they all meant to hurt me. Some of them weren’t even singling me out. I just happened to be easy prey.
But I was right when I told that therapist that people hurt me, You didn’t. But You didn’t protect me from people and that hurt so much; I’ve been so angry. But the liquid Lent showed me a different perspective.
I’ve begged You to pull a Deus ex machina, to undo my suffering and loss, to exempt me from the consequences of the sins committed against me. You don’t. To do so would have been to give me my fantasy world. That would be truly cruel. My fantasies aren’t real even if they’re prettier than reality. Reality has real people and real consequences. The bullets that killed Grandpère and the rest of my family did have to be real. If not, life would not be real.
But the liquid Lent has been showing me that Grandpère’s body slamming against the wall, his blood smeared on the white paint and pouring out over his immaculate, pale blue shirt need not be the end. While You won’t exempt me from what it means to live in a world we broke but don’t know how to fix, You will let me be like Joseph telling his brothers, “You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good.”
You will use our suffering for good, if we choose. You do that with for me.
You know how much I can talk, mostly to fill the space. But when I visit Andrew, I become silent. I wait. I watch intently and let him communicate in his own time. It takes all my energy and more. But I believe we can communicate and we do.
I know that’s You. People terrify me. But somehow, Andrew, and AIDS patients, the sick and hurting, and little children call from me the ability to listen and love. I no longer stand on the sidelines waiting to be invited. Their pain calls to me and I find myself just loving them. From my suffering, You’ve created the ability for me to do for others what wasn’t done for me. I never asked for it. I thought I was content just to hang out with You; You’ve got other plans.
Today, I’m like Joseph. Today, I can say, ‘God meant it for good.” Today, I know that You intend to use evil others have committed against me to do very good things in and for me. But on some tomorrow, I will forget. I’m not as smart as I think. Something will hurt or frighten me and I will forget. Please remind me. Please help me continue to see the truth: God meant it for good. Yes! You did.