Last night, I dreamed about a friend of mine. This is the same friend who shared his story of childhood sexual abuse with me, and in turn, with all of you a few months ago. This friend has been on my mind a lot lately. When I think of him, I pray for him, and I have to fight the images that flash through my mind of him as a child, being molested by a grown man, having no power to escape.
Those of you who read my blog regularly know that a few months ago, I shared my own story of being raped along with my friend’s story of being sexually abused. There’s a sad, ironic connection between the two tragedies that I can’t share with any of you. Suffice to say that this connection is one of the things that plagues me.
After going through months of counseling–followed by years of self-medicating through drugs, alcohol, relationships, and self-pity–I finally found my way to forgiveness. After taking responsibility for my own choices in the aftermath of being raped–namely the decision to reject God and His guidance for years–I discovered spiritual freedom in forgiving the man who raped me. I no longer feel plagued by haunting thoughts, memories, or guilty feelings.
But for some reason, I’m having the hardest time forgiving the man who abused my friend.
Perhaps it’s because my friend was a small child when he was abused, and I was much older when I was raped.
Maybe it’s because I care deeply about my friend and hate the impact the abuse has had on his entire life, including our friendship.
Or it could just be that for some reason, it’s easier to forgive someone for hurting me than it is for me to forgive someone for hurting someone I love. There’s a fierce and angry loyalty that wells up in me when I think of anyone I love being harmed.
And a helplessness.
And that’s the real kicker. Maybe in some way, I blame myself every time someone I love is harmed, and I am unable to prevent it or remove the scars scraped into their souls.
Someday, the knowledge that God has all of this mysteriously in His capable hands is going to move from my head to my heart. Until then, my tears are my prayers.