Am I just making this up? Am I living a horrible nightmare that I will one day awake from and realize I went insane for a time? What if it’s an imaginary world that I’ve created, that is slowly destroying people around me? What if nothing ever happened? What if no one abused me and my mind is actually sick?
Questions raced through my mind, forcing me to reconsider what was truth, what was reality. When I began to question, my heart grew restless, and darkness settled deeper in my spirit. A calm quiet voice would whisper Alice’s words, “The truth will set you free… if it does not bring you freedom, it isn’t truth”
As freedom fled, with the invasion of the questioning voices, I knew the truth was not in the questioning. I returned to the ‘confident knowing’ that, while memories remained fragmented, like pieces of shattered glass, that would never be fully restored, the memories were truth, and with time things would come together.
Still, I longed to be understood. Howard and Alice and their family were ‘understanding’, but that is a different thing than being understood. I wanted someone in my family to tell me I’m not crazy. That they had seen, or knew somehow that it was true. I don’t think it ever consciously occurred to me that possibly other siblings had been abused, either by my father or some other family member. I wasn’t looking for identification but I feared if all fifteen siblings told me I was crazy, imagining things, that I would actually go mental… That I would lose confidence in truth and reality.
I tested the water slowly, by talking with my brother Wil. We were en route to a family event one weekend when I broke the news to him. His initial response was gentle, but somewhat disbelieving. Not in the sense of ‘not believing me’ but in shock at the realization. He was supportive but, like me, had no idea what to do with the information.
I was concerned that Dad carried this horrible secret and may not have repented. Dad was a religious man but I had no idea if he was a born again believer or not. I had no way of knowing what he had done with the abuse and violence, and sins that had probably followed our family for many generations.
I was seven years old when I had the dream…
The eastern sky lit up in a profusion of beautiful, bright colours. Red, white, yellow, orange… a fiery explosion of light, but not terrifying. Then Jesus burst through the white centre of the light, surrounded by countless angels.
My only fear in the dream was that I would not be fast enough to get to Jesus. I wanted to hold His right hand, to know I was safe, that I would be with Him in heaven, not stuck on the left side, and cast aside. I ran as fast as my little legs would carry me, and clutched His right hand firmly in my own, relieved. I had made it.
When we arrived, heaven was much more like the world in which we live than I had imagined it would be. I had expected castles and mansions, streets of gold and a surreal world. But it wasn’t like that. I saw some of my family, here and there, and when I could not find him, I started to search and ask for my dad.
I was told that my dad could not be in heaven because of something he had done to his girls. I was devastated! I woke up from the nightmare, so happy to have made it, but crushed that my father was not there. Without him, heaven was not ‘right’ in my young mind.
In later years, when memories of the abuse resurfaced, that nightmare haunted me, over and over. What if…
I determined to make it my life mission to know that my father was a saved man and that he had repented for all the sins he had committed, especially the abuse and violence in our home.
When Wil and I spoke about it, we agreed that the time was not right. We would have to wait until God either revealed more than the broken bits of memory I had, until other victims came forward, or when God opened doors in other ways. This would require time, patience and prayer.
Until then I would hold out hope that God had a good plan. Through tears, depression, anger and confusion, I would hold on. Come hell or high water, I would stand firm on that unwavering truth.
© Trudy Metzger
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