I made it through three minutes of church today. And then I bolted like a spooked horse. A perplexed looking usher followed me out into the foyer: "You just got here!" he exclaimed.
I kept going, almost running now.
"It's cold out, here," he called after me. "Next time, wear a jacket!"
I was running now. And the rain, as I ran--panicked--through the church parking lot, pelted my face like accusatory arrows.
You are irreparably screwed up. There is no hope for you. Why do you keep trying?
Humiliated, I crawled into our car and curled up in a ball, shaking. The rain fell on the roof of the car and slowly, the panic ebbed away.
My husband tapped the window. I unlocked the doors and he got in.
"I don't know what to do," he said. "I don't know how to make it better for you."
"I don't know, either. I'm sorry. I don't like having these problems."
There's no fixing this. I wish I could make it easier for him, for the kids.
Every time I think I'm "past" a certain point, have resolved and healed and "moved on"....there I am, having meltdowns and freak-outs and panic attacks in the middle of a pew.
I'm sick of embarrassing him. Of embarrassing myself.
Because my smile, my nice, Sunday clothes and my tidy, Sunday children belie the devastation that lies just under the surface.
But we not allowed to be broken in church. We must smile and greet, chat and exchange pleasantries, tithe our money and clap along to the worship songs. Perhaps afterwards we'll get on Facebook or Twitter and crow about how awesome God is and what a great Sunday this was for God! (Seriously, I can't STAND Twitter on Sundays).
If they knew that every Sunday I come face-to-face with the wreckage---would they perhaps understand why the urge to tear at my hair, to scrape my skin with a broken potshard feels more appropriate--more fitting--than smiling and repeating all the niceties we repeat and repeat each week?
This clean, tidy, well-manicured church doesn't know how to deal with stark evil. It is not polite to speak of Christians who do horrific things in the name of God. It spoils their Sunday brunch appetite.
They do not want to hear about pastors who feed on their flock.
I think I've been wrong to hide all this from my children. I wanted to give them something better. They've known nothing of my past, nothing of the abuse. I have packed it all away, deep inside and covered it up with lipstick and pretty clothes, Sunday best and smiling cliches.
I have not uttered the name of my grandparents.
I have held the secret.
But now, the dam has broken and all my devastation is leaking out, gushing out. It is ugly and inexplicable. I don't have control of it any longer. They look at me, perplexed.
Mommy, are you just tired? Mommy, why are you in the car instead of in church? Daddy, is Mommy sad?
I so wanted to protect them.
But in protecting them from the knowledge of this evil, I have swallowed the evil myself, sucked it down like poison, masked its symptoms under Christian platitudes.
I really don't know what to do or how to proceed.
Am I poisonous?
[forgive me, comments are closed.]