She saw me in the store and knew I would be the perfect fit for the somber occasion. She tried me on, and it was a done deal. While I was a little more expensive than she ever spent on clothes, the occasion merited a little more.
In the bag I went, home with her, to face the next day’s grave events.
We pulled into the parking lot of the church, a little earlier than most people. I think she got there early to release the sad emotion of the day because my dry seams became wet, as if it were raining, but it wasn’t.
Into the church she went as I comfortably wrapped around her, covering her.
Now I am not used to events such as these — it was my first — but it seemed to go well. I knew when she walked to the front of the church while everyone remained seated that it was my time to shine. She needed me now more than ever, and I did my job to perfection!
It ended up being a very long day. I could tell as my perfectly ironed fabric started to wrinkle and stretch. Still I tried to keep it together. I was hoping the day would soon end, and I think it was about to when an unfamiliar face asked to buy her a drink. The hesitation, I could tell, was from a long, sad, and exhausting day. Still, she must have said yes because on the cold bar stool I remained.
I’m not sure what was in the drink, but all of a sudden my spirits started to lift and my energy began to rise! Was it the alcohol? Was I catching a second wind? This unfamiliar face asked if I wanted to dance. “Of course,” I said gleefully! He led me outside, his hand on my back. Were we dancing in the street? I wasn’t sure, and I didn’t care. I was so elated.
In his truck we went. Where we were going, I didn’t know, but I was happy as he played upbeat music and we sang together in his truck. Driving. Driving. Driving. We must have driven for nearly an hour as the elated feeling faded and sleepiness overtook me.
In his house we went. His arm on my back leading me downstairs. “Shhh,” he said as his dad was sleeping in the living room. Downstairs we went to a room. It had a bed, and that is all I cared about. Finally! To sleep I went immediately. I did my job and could sleep peacefully knowing my girl was finally able to lay her head down.
It was not long after lying down that I was awakened to movement. What is this? As she lay sleeping, the unfamiliar face slowly began to lift me up. Up above her thighs he took me. I was NOT comfortable with this. Then he took me up even higher. I could no longer do my job, covering and protecting her, as he lifted me up above her waist.
I tried to undo the mess he had me in. I tried to cover her, but it was useless. He was too strong, and he kept me where he wanted me until he was finished. I was SO mad at him for making a fool out of me. I had one job and did it so well up until that point. He caused my failure. He caused me pain as I could not keep her safe.
When she finally pulled me down, it was up the stairs and out the door we went. Crying. Confused. Scared. Out the door we went into the freezing cold air. January in the Midwest is unforgivably relentless. Walking we were going to go, but I wasn’t sure how long I could keep her warm. I tried, but I just couldn’t do it. I could feel my seams starting to become rigid and freeze in place.
All of a sudden I felt a light on my back. What was that? Headlights. Ugh. The creep in his truck. Do we get in and trust him to take us home? I don’t know but there were no other options. Inside we went — the warmth hit me — and I was so relieved that she was at least going to be warm.
I’m not sure what he was saying on the ride back, but I was drenched in tears. I could hear him yelling all kinds of profanities at her. What was his deal? As if he had not done enough that night – he proceeded to make an even bigger ass out of himself. I could feel the tears growing more and more. If I could have, I would have shut him up once and for all, but I was helpless. All I could do was sit there and wrap around her, trying to protect her and keep her company.
The next morning, I felt so embarrassed and ashamed. Was it my fault that I could not protect her? Was it my fault for being at the wrong place at the wrong time? Was it my fault for being weak? I had one role to play that day, and I couldn’t even do that. I was embarrassed and ashamed. Was there someone I could confide in? Someone who could help me? I tried talking to a few people close to me, but the responses did little to help. Was I alone in this? Was this a burden I was left alone to carry?
Unsure what to do, unsure who to speak to, feeling deeply embarrassed, angry, hurt, and ashamed, I put myself in the back of the dark closet and stayed there for nine years, too afraid to come out, too afraid of people’s judgment and their arrogant confirmations that it was my fault.
At some point being alone in the dark became too much and I tried to resurface, but it was not my time yet. I could tell the pain of that night was just too much for me. It felt ever-consuming, hopeless, disastrous, heavy, upsetting, and so much more than words could describe. There simply are no words.
Finally on a warm summer’s day, 11 years later, I emerged from the closet. I could tell this day was different. Many times I faced the Goodwill pile with a band of clothes; yet, somehow always evaded the trip. I remained with my girl for 11 years (moving to two different states, three different apartments and one home). I had narrowly escaped the Goodwill pile for 11 years, but today was different, or I thought it was.
Once again I was pulled out, looked at, studied, remembered, and in the pile I was laid. I thought it was my day to finally leave the closet for good, but then I was put in a pile of my own. Was I going to Goodwill? Was I going back to the closet? She picked me up, carried me downstairs, and out into the bright sunlight. I had not felt the warmth of sun for so long. Then all of a sudden, I had this new feeling of falling. Falling down, down, and down, until I landed at the bottom of a bin.
I waited in there for a while until I was picked up and dropped into a larger bin of trash. I could feel movement and wasn’t sure where I was headed. Then I felt the sensation of falling again; then it stopped. I landed. Into a deep grave I must have gone as dirt began to cover me. I was so relieved! Finally free from the dark, isolated, scary closet of pain. Finally free to be put to rest forever.
I am not mad to be where I am. On the contrary, I am now at peace. I pray the very best for my girl. I hope this life brings her all the best it has to offer. What happened that night should never happened. It was never her fault. I also learned it wasn’t my fault. For so long I blamed myself, but what was done to her was the fault of one man and one man alone. He was the only one who could have prevented what he did. Nonetheless, I pray the best for him as well. It takes a selfish and disturbed individual to do something so wicked. He grew up, an entitled boy with a rich father, who owned a car dealership in town. Was his father gone a lot? Was he never around to instruct and guide him? Did he ever learn who Jesus Christ was? I have many questions and hopes for him. I pray him well, and hope he finds the freedom I too found.
This life is a gift, too short to be lived broken, bitter, hurt, angry, and alone. I am thankful for the peace, rest, freedom, and healing I now have. Peace in the Lord. Rest in the Lord. Freedom and healing in Him – the Perfect Father – the Best Friend – the Greatest Lover. I pray for all to experience peace in Him.
Peace to you and rest to me.
Streams in the Desert June 22
Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers all transgressions. (Prov 10:12)Stre
Rehearse your troubles to God only. Not long ago I read in a paper a bit of personal experience from a precious child of God, and it made such an impression upon me that I record it here. She wrote:
“I found myself one midnight wholly sleepless as the surges of a cruel injustice swept over me, and the love which covers seemed to have crept out of my heart. Then I cried to God in an agony for the power to obey His injunction, ’Love covereth.’
“Immediately the Spirit began to work in me the power that brought about the forgetfulness.
“Mentally I dug a grave. Deliberately I threw up the earth until the excavation was deep.
“Sorrowfully I lowered into it the thing which wounded me. Quickly I shoveled in the clods.
“Over the mound I carefully laid the green sods. Then I covered it with white roses and forget-me-nots, and quickly walked away.
“Sweet sleep came. The wound which had been so nearly deadly was healed without a scar, and I know not today what caused my grief.”
“There was a scar on yonder mountain-side,
Gashed out where once the cruel storm had trod;
A barren, desolate chasm, reaching wide,
Across the soft green sod.
“But years crept by beneath the purple pines,
And veiled the scar with grass and moss once more,
And left it fairer now with flowers and vines
Than it had been before.