In a conversation with BJ, he once said he felt guilty for feeling grateful I am in his life. In essence, he was concerned that by being grateful for the way things are today - that also meant he was grateful for the pain I had suffered.
Can I be grateful for where I am today without being grateful for the circumstances that got me here?
I've thought about this a lot. I've written and rewritten this post several different times over the last six months.
The first was really snarky. (I might have just made that word up, I don't actually know what it means... Sarcastic? Bratty?) It talked about feeling gratitude that there are abusive people in the world. If no one was abusive, how would we ever grow? I could go into it more, but there IS a reason I deleted that one.
The second was very tearful. I don't believe abuse is what made me who I am. I was already strong, kindhearted, empathic. My friends who have been abused were already clever, funny, compassionate, beautiful, wonderful people. Their abusers didn't make them that.
The third was a little closer to what I wanted. I talked about how I might not have never met some of the amazing people I know today if I hadn't been through the hell of abuse. I might not have ever seen how strong they are if I didn't know how hard they had to fight just to survive. We might not have connected if we hadn't been through so many similar (and extraordinarily painful) experiences. I am grateful they are in my life today. I am amazed and astounded at the people I have the privilege of calling friends.
I'm trying again.
I am not grateful for the past. I am at peace with it.
When I think about my life, I don't have a need
to change what has happened. I've accepted it. That doesn't
mean I think for a second it is okay for a man to rape his wife, but I
am at peace with where my life is. That makes me at peace with my past.
(Or maybe being at peace with my past has made it possible to be at
peace with where my life is. I'm not sure which came first.)
I don't know who I would have been, or what life would have been like if
I hadn't been abused as a child, or married a man who raped me, or any of
the other circumstances. And, I guess what I'm trying to say is, I don't
need to know. I am done mourning who I might have been.
I am grateful that BJ understood what emotional abuse was, and I also wish he had never experienced it. I wish he didn't understand how damaging it is. I am grateful to have people in my life who really understand the pain of rape, sexual trauma, PTSD, eating disorders, and depression, because it feels GOOD to be understood. I also wish for their sakes, they had no idea how it felt.
I don't know how or why there is so much pain and heartache in the world. I don't know why some people choose to hurt other people. I don't know why a God that can bring these amazing people into my life couldn't also have stopped them from being abused. If it was left up to me, I would have sent down angels with flaming swords to prevent children from being molested, spouses from being abused, or young women from being assaulted. I suppose I'm glad it isn't up to me.
what I'm saying is I feel trusting. I trust the process. I trust where I
have been lead. I trust God to balance it all out. I trust me to find
my way. I trust my friends to find their way.
I trust. There is
someone or something who takes care of it all. I don't know what that
looks like. I don't know how it all works out, and... it does.
The words are just not coming the way I want them to.
Why does this feel so hard to write, and yet so important?
Because it is far more personal than I am letting on. There is ONE thing, one piece that I need to face, but I'm afraid. I'm afraid to admit how deeply I feel...
I would give up everything I love in my life if it meant that BJ had never been abused. I would trade the feeling of love and acceptance I have from him, if it could just mean he hadn't been hurt so deeply by someone who claimed to love him. I love my life today, and still... it just doesn't justify someone I love being hurt so much. I HATE it! I feel so sad. By being grateful he is in my life, am I also grateful that he was abused?
The answer to that question is No! And still, I accept that it is the way it is. We are all connected. We help each other. We find the people that will help us to grow, to learn, to love. We also find people who hurt us. We learn to move on from them. We learn to trust, and we learn who and what to trust at any given moment.
I am not grateful for the pain in my past. I am not grateful for the pain in BJ's past. I am not grateful for the pain in other friends' pasts. I am at peace with my life today.