“If you weren’t telling your story and helping women all over the world what else would you be doing? What else is inside you?”
This question greeted me in an email from a reader/survivor and struck me like a slap on the chest. It awakened a sense of wonder that hibernates precariously beneath the blanket of who I’ve always been.
Do you ever wonder, “If I didn’t do this, weren’t that, etc what would I be doing?” Would “I” be different?
These types of questions tantalize the writer in me because I can always escape ‘into my head’ …but there are moments when it’s not safe to be ‘in my head’.
But this woman’s question hit me because I’ve wondered that myself…what else is inside me? In reality it is the very statement I strive to guide survivors to – what is inside of them that does not have anything to do with the abuse. To focus on who they are outside of the abuse. The gifts that exist not because of the abuse but because of who they are and who God created them to be.
We are more than what happened to us. We are mothers, wives, doctors, artists, politicians, lawyers, designers, engineers, singers, song-writers, poets, authors, teachers and so so much more.
My initial response was this:
It’s funny you should ask me THAT question today. I think about that a lot. WHO AM I if not for doing what I do right now?
As long as I’ve been strong enough to want to live ( I mean REALLY live) I’d say since the moment I went to confession when I was 19 and told the priest everything….. I’ve been wanting to help others NOT suffer the way I felt I had ( and was).
The MOST joy I receive is speaking in front of groups. Working with women like you. And receiving some feedback that maybe, just maybe, I led them to a brighter light in their existence.
But still I get JUST as angry at all the evil. Sometimes it’s so much and he (the enemy) gets to me. But thankfully God prevails. Always
But there are moments I wonder “What would my life look like if I didn’t do what I do?”
I’ll never know. Because I can’t EXIST knowing what I do and NOT trying to bring others to recognize their TRUE WORTH.
Because every time I do it tears the enemy apart.
Now I’ll admit that once I answered I dipped my toe into the pool of wonder and contemplated the question deeper. In that moment Neal came in and made the comment “Let’s just go run away for awhile.” This brought tears to my eyes. How well does he know me?
I laughed and chimed in, “Let’s take the kids and run off to Europe or Costa Rica or something. Sell everything and do something different.” (Yes, I watch HGTV’s International House Hunters a little too much.)
“Now you’re talking. But I was just thinking for like a week or two but hey, forever. Okay.” He laughed.
I cried. I don’t know why but I cried. He didn’t notice.
I stared at him. Really?
And then I had to laugh. I guess I was asking for a way to ‘do life different’…didn’t need that specific of an answer though.
We are complicated creatures which is the beauty of who we are. We are not defined by one instance, one person, one action or one tragedy. We are a beautifully woven tapestry of gifts, talents, experiences, thoughts and feelings that is still in progress.
May you realize what ‘else’ that is inside of you is recognized at your bidding.