Things not seen.

“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the substance of things not seen.”

How do I reconcile my faith, my beliefs, with the knowledge that something terrible has happened to me? It’s a difficult question. How does anyone believe in a benevolent or even marginally kind God or Goddess when they have been subjected to something terrible? I’ve known people who have lost their faith after their child was killed in a car accident. I’ve heard of priests who fall from their grace with God because they cannot understand the pain and suffering heaped on their congregation in a bad season of loss.

So it is perhaps unsurprising that I couldn’t reconcile my place in the world with my Goddess and God after what happened to me. I wasn’t, strangely enough, angry. Instead I felt unworthy, like something had taken me away from them. I was furious that my innocence had been stolen and that sex, this good holy process to pagans, had been twisted to something foul. I felt like I had been fouled, like I should just walk away.

It took a very long time for me to begin to incorporate who I was into who I could be with my faith. I finally realized one day why a benevolent God or Goddess might have let that happen to me.

Once, I held a girl while she cried. Screamed. Let out these horrible sounds like a dying rabbit for pain of what her father had done to her. She rocked in my arms like someone no longer sane and cried until I thought she would tear up with blood. I held her tightly and rocked her and told her I was sorry for what had happened to her – that I knew that it violated who she was, and I was so very sorry.

I could never have done that if he hadn’t done what he did to me.

I don’t regret what happened to me. Without it, I couldn’t have written that speech and I couldn’t have held that girl with the same level of sincerity, empathy, and understanding. Yes, I want to heal from it. But I will never ask a higher power to take back what happened. It’s a part of me, a part of my limitless complexity as a human being.

I found my faith again because I feel that what I suffered was a part of what I had to suffer to become who I am today.


~ by oniongirl13 on April 20, 2009.

6 Responses to “Things not seen.”

  1. Yes, I’m pagan too, and making sense of my faith in the context of knowing that no deity protected me is a big ongoing journey.

    However, rather than concluding no deity exists, it’s through healing that I’ve experienced the ways in which the divine does exist, help and act.

    Where I’m at with it is similar to what you describe: How I’ve learned to reclaim myself, respond and heal the trauma a rite of passage and learning in some way, similar to the trials people in some cultures go through as part of becoming a shaman and with similar results. I’m proud of who I’ve become, and it makes me unique and gives me personal strength and power I wouldn’t have earned otherwise. Now don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t choose to be abused, but making meaning from suffering is a spiritual act and increases the store of good in the world. Goddesses and Earth, Air, Fire, Water have supported me though this, given me hope, and comfort and help while I’ve gone through it. Volcanoes erupt, diseases and forest fires happen and become part of the cycles of birth and decay, so I wonder if survivors and the healing and activism of survivors are part of the transformation, decay and rebirth of what needs to be healed in our culture. Maybe the Goddess supports us in healing to empower us to help limit the dominator cultural features that make abuse possible and probable. Perhaps the fact that we specifically were abused has a broader meaning. I wouldn’t take the stands I do, do the good I do in the world, if I didn’t know viscerally why it’s important.
    Knowing that the cycle of birth, death, compost and rebirth is a natural one is comforting to me.

  2. This is something I struggle with. I’m still in the place where I can’t believe in God – after all, where the f*** was God when I was a child???

    I’m also aware, though, that there’s a deep spiritual void inside me. I can see a place for God, the universe, or some other spiritual thing – I just can’t reconcile myself with what the “it” might be yet. I’m hopeful that something will emerge to fill the void and bring me peace when the time is right.

  3. I agree with you. I wouldn’t be the person I am were it not for what happened to me. That includes the good things (like empathy), and the bad things (every reason in my blog). I believe in G-d. I am just not sure what G-d is thinking sometimes.

  4. I can’t say anything, but that what you have written here is beautiful.

  5. I have gone through this process as well. I asked the question why, only of God, and no one else. I’ve never asked it once of the world, or my abusers, or those who stood by and did nothing.

    I wanted to know. It took a long time to get the answer. I thought that no answer would ever suffice, would be healing, would make me feel love for God. And then I got the answer. And in retrospect I think it was the only one that would have been good enough.

    The answer was that for me to be born I had to be born into my family of origin. If I wasn’t born through them, there is no way that i could have been a part of this world as me. And that God wanted me to be born and to live in this world.

    It doesn’t take away one moment of the pain of the abuse. It doesn’t totally repair the damage that remembering and dealing with the abuse, etc has caused. But it has built a bridge.


    • Thank you so much for all your many comments. I’ll get through them all soon, I promise – but suffice to say, you’ve had so much to say that was positive and enriching.

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