SNAP: Stories for Living

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“Thank you miss and God Bless.”  I was startled back to reality with these words from the older woman I was helping at our local outreach center in one of our local churches.  I had been thinking about my life and remembering past thoughts.  I never dreamed I would ever be even near another church again after my past experiences… I don’t trust churches…especially clergy.  So I know I am finally healing. 

My abuser was a friend of the family.  Very charismatic and very willing to help me out with my anorexia.  I trusted him.  His name is Father X.  And I thought he could walk on water.    The abuse continued over 2 years, with me accepting the guilt he would put upon me…you know…it is YOUR fault.  HE is a man of God.  But when I finally let the truth be known as to what he was doing to me, he lied: to the church, the bishop…. everyone.  He had a history of abusing, but every time he got caught the diocese would just move him to another parish. 

I became suicidal; I lost everyone and everything.  I wanted him put into treatment immediately, but all the diocese was going to do is move him to another, bigger parish.  I wanted to die.  I had been abused; lost all trust in anyone or anything.   The next 3 years I didn’t really live.  It is just a massive blur to me now.  But late one evening, while on the phone with a friend I have never met face-to-face, she said the words that saved me.  She said,  “If Jesus was here, which side of the table do you think he would be sitting on?”  As I endured those 3 years I kept thinking of those words. 

I wasn’t the wrong one, he was.  As time went by, I continued to hang onto those words told to me by my friend, and somehow, through the power of Jesus, and support from many new friends and supporters in Snap, I survived.  I made it.  The church, after 3 years settled with me.  And I knew I had to be the one to start trusting myself and go on with my life. 

So now, here I am.  After all this time.  Stronger, more empathetic, understanding and blessed because God has taught me to use my experiences as a journey.  I work with the poor, the isolated and the abused.  Do I trust completely?  No, no one.  That seems to be forever stripped from me.  My abuser is now back functioning as a pastor in our diocese.  I don’t attend church, but amazingly my faith is stronger than it has ever been.  I am not a victim, I am a survivor.

       “You are welcome, Madame”, I said to the older woman in front of me.  Who would have ever known, that I could be working in a place like this..And healing.

Note: this story is from 2007. View other 2007 stories and 2007 voting results. View current stories.