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STOLEN, NOT LOST
By Marian Lovelace

I learned a valuable lesson today about responsibility.
I now know where to leave the shame and blame.
I am beginning to discover the truth –
Many of my precious gifts were stolen, not lost!

You stole my unquestioned belief in my Heavenly Father’s love;
You stole the preciousness of solitude in God’s presence.
You stole the joy of coming together to share Eucharist.
You stole my reverence for the deep meaning of a church family.
You stole my ability to be quiet and hear God’s voice.
You stole my belief in the phrase “God answers prayers.”
You stole the joy I felt in calling myself – “Christian.”
You stole my ability to find comfort in going to confession.
You stole my innocence and twisted my trust in mankind.
You stole my hope for a better tomorrow and instilled doubt.
You stole my love of life and wanting to live.
You stole my belief in the basic goodness of people.
You stole a significant part of my childhood and adolescence.
You stole my desire to become a loving adult woman.
You stole my voice and my actions that screamed a loud “NO.”
You stole my right to claim my justifiable anger at abuse.
You stole my right to easily risk council without suspicion.
You stole the inner peace I experienced entering God’s house.

You stole my many treasures and the blame and guilt is yours.
Someday you will answer to God for your many thefts.
Someday justice will be based on the evilness of your actions.
Today I leave the responsibility at your feet, where it belongs.

Today I was given a profound gift and hope for tomorrow.
I was helped to see your behavior in the truest light.
I choose not to be forever damaged by your multiple thefts.
I choose to fight to regain my stolen gifts, as that is my right.

I will grieve those stolen gifts that will always be blemished.
I will strive to be wiser and not cynical because of your thefts.
I will go forward strengthened in faith as I know the truth –
So many of my precious treasures were stolen, not lost!



From Responding to Clergy Misconduct: A Handbook by Marie M. Fortune (Seattle: 2009) FaithTrust Institute
Used with permission from FaithTrust Institute www.faithtrustinstitute.org

 

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