If I could go back to my childhood, & choose any ‘story’ I wanted to be my story, I wouldn’t change a thing. If I could look ahead & see what I know now, I would choose to relive the violence and abuse. It has made me a more compassionate person & opened doors to help people in ways that no ‘fairy tale’ story could do.
It’s easy to say these words now, with years and years of healing behind me. (Okay, take out the second ‘years’ in that sentence… that makes me sound too old.) Many have said that ‘time heals all wounds’ but I don’t believe that to be accurate. I don’t attribute my bold statement of being willing to suffer, to the time that has passed. For that I give God all the credit, all the glory.
Even with the healing that has taken place in my life, it is not something I would offer to go through again, without purpose. And that purpose is the people I meet with, many who have gone through much worse than I. It is in hearing their hearts, and encouraging them, that my story finds meaning.
For this reason I will continue where I left off, in Finding Jesus in the Shadows Part 3, and share with you more of what it was like to be thrown into the turmoil of dealing with childhood sexual abuse, and having memories resurface after many years of denial.
With the distraction of a boyfriend behind me, I was free to focus on coming to terms with my past. But first I had to go through the grieving process. It isn’t possible to spend almost three years loving someone, dreaming of a life together and watching it go from wedding plans to history in mere months, or weeks.
The first four weeks following our break up were consumed with that grieving process. Fortunately I was in a safe place to do so. Howard and Alice had asked me to come live with them several weeks before the break up, so I was surrounded by a loving family.
Having made other arrangements for the old army Colonel, I left his home and was officially jobless. That wasn’t all bad for the short-term. I spent time helping Alice, reading, and visiting Howard’s parents, especially his mom, Maryann, who lived in an apartment in their home. I would sit on a stool, at her feet, and listen to her stories, or chatter her ears off. She talked about my ex-boyfriend, and about the process of letting go, always encouraging me. Always reminding me that God had a good plan for my life.
When I was in Bible school she had sent me a letter and included in that letter the verses:
New King James Version (NKJV)
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
Sometimes when I visited she would have me comb her hair and put it up in a ‘bun’ on her head, before placing a prayer cap–white bonnet–on it. Her shoulders were bad, making it difficult for her to do it. I enjoyed doing it for her. Any excuse to be with her was a good one.
These simple things, as well as spending time with Howard and Alice’s family, are what carried me through those weeks of adjusting to my new life. No job. No boyfriend. Traumatic memories and emotions. It all lacked direction, or so it seemed.
One day Alice announced that she had heard a construction company in town, Country Lane Builders, was hiring a secretary. She encouraged me to apply. I cringed. Not because I didn’t want to do it, and not because I didn’t think I could do it, but because I had no training.
“Oh, you would do fine,” Alice said
I pulled together a resume` and hand delivered it. The owner, Orlan Martin invited me for an interview. Confident I could learn, that is how I presented myself. To my delight, and surprise, Orlan hired me within days. It was the best thing that could have happened to me!
I soon learned that Orlan and his sons take great pride in excellent workmanship, . Their customer service was second to none, and in my three plus years with them, there were few disgruntled customers. The few issues that arose, were resolved quickly.
I loved my job. I trained myself to recognize voices and memorize names, so that, when a customer called, I could greet them before they introduced themselves. (Back in the day we didn’t have call display.) Orlan frequently passed on compliments, telling me how much customers appreciated me, giving me constant encouragement–something I so badly needed.
Bookkeeping, using the McBee manual system, was much easier to learn than I had imagined it would be. For three months I followed the formulas the previous secretary, Karen Bauman, had written down for me during the 3-day crash course. I balanced to the penny month after month, never quitting until I did. They day I was a penny off and couldn’t find it, was very upsetting for me.
This new job would have been of little consequence, as it relates to my healing journey, but for one detail. The office manager–my supervisor–Murray Martin, who is now the President, was a gentleman among gentlemen. Somehow he found out that I was working through abuse, and gently asked questions. He was kind, compassionate and eager to learn about the healing process.
What inspired his interest, I don’t know, and it may simply have been his nature. It fits to him. It all served a purpose, several years later, when he ended up on a committee in his church community, working with perpetrators of abuse.
As I worked through the aftermath of abuse, my life intertwined with a gentleman who treated me with utmost respect on that healing journey, while welcoming openness and daring to go below the surface. It was encouraging, and gave me hope when he allowed God to use him. One can never know the mind of God in a situation, and the ways He will redeem….
And that was only the beginning…
© Trudy Metzger
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