Sure, I talk a good game — storming into the light, dragging my victorious truth with me, and all that.
It’s only half the story, though.
Actually, it’s not even half. Most of the story is about being blinded by false lights for most of my life. We’ve all seen them — the colorful, flashing, attractive distractions; a veritable carnival of demi-healing.
There are a lot of people offering “light” of some sort, and I’ve met them all, including — but not limited to — those I told, those who were in a position to protect me, and my abuser(s).
I even became one of those faulty light-bearers.
First, there were the soothing, progressive blues of denial, lit up by everyone around me:
“You must have misunderstood.”
“He’s not that bad; just ask him to stop.”
“I’m just showing you how special you are, and how much I appreciate you.”
“Maybe you’re exaggerating, Honey.”
“I just don’t think he’s capable of that.”
These blues continued into my adulthood, when I was told by a doctor to:
“Think of it not as childhood sexual abuse, but instead as being introduced to sex in a different way than the norm.”
I wanted the blues to last forever. They were cooling, and numbing to the pain. They were easier to believe than the truth.
The reds were violent; accusatory. They flashed with all the brilliance of a piercing strobe, accentuating every move, thought and decision I’d ever had or made.
“You’re sucking up the teacher so you don’t have to do your work.”
“You know you like this.”
“Look at how you dress — you’re practically begging for it.”
“What did you expect, hanging out with older boys?”
“How could you be so stupid?”
“No one will believe you.”
“He’s a nice guy… He’s not really like that. Why are you trying to get him in trouble?”
“You’re a slut, and everyone knows it.”
“You’re mentally ill.”
The reds hurt. Not only were they piercing, but they put the blame squarely on me… Where it “should” have been.
Over time, I created my own light shows. They were mostly purple, and a blend of the blues and reds I’d been retreating to.
“It wasn’t that bad, and other people have real problems.”
“Maybe I did send the wrong signal.”
“How could I have been so stupid?”
“Maybe I’m remembering it wrong.”
“I don’t deserve the ‘good’ thing. I know this isn’t healthy, but it’s what I’m worthy of.”
“It’s my fault, because I didn’t speak up.”
“It was terrible, and my body responded in a confusing way… I must be a deviant.”
“I’ll never be healed. I’ll always be messed up.”
“I’m a bad wife. The Bible tells me sex is a gift. There must be something wrong with me, if I can’t feel good about it.”
I developed lush green lights, too, which gave the appearance of growth, healing and power:
“If men are just going to use my body, I’ll show them… I’ll get what I need from them in exchange.”
“I’m liberated because I can see sex as a physical act, and not get emotionally caught up in it.”
“There is no one — no one — that is ‘safe.’ By not giving my heart, I’m protecting myself.”
“I can just pretend it never happened, and everything will be okay.”
The greens worked for a while. At least, I thought they did. In reality, they blended with the blues, reds and purples, and created a murky, suffocating brown.
Color is a funny thing… Did you know, if you could blend every color of paint together, the result would be black? We often think of black being absent of color, but in reality, it is all the world’s colors, combined.
Light is different, though.
If you combine light of every color, it actually produces WHITE light.
For me, that white light was very attractive. It meant freedom from darkness. However, what I failed to realize at the time was that the white light I was following was a blend of all the colored “light” lies I’d come to believe.
It wasn’t until I was able to scoot away from all those “pretty” lights — the distractions — that I was able to see the value of the dark.
Yes, I said the value of the dark.
In the dark, in the quiet stillness, there is clarity. In the darkest of places, it is easiest to see the light that fights to invade it.
Did the blue light-burners come for me? No. What about the red light-bearers? Nope… They were happy to see me retreat. Even the self-ignited purples and greens were swallowed by the darkness.
The only light that seeped in through the cracks was white — PURE white, not a combination of all those others. It stood alone, its own beautiful creation, and it didn’t subside.
I won’t deny it… It hurt, at first. Just as my eyes had begun to acclimate to the darkness, that tiny sliver of light was invasive, and threatened to blind me. I tried to turn away from it.
Still, the light persisted, even when I closed my eyes to it. It provided warmth when I moved toward it, and proof that something else existed, beyond my darkness.
As time passed, I grew to appreciate the constance of the illumination. It never ebbed, and didn’t abandon me. Eventually, I trusted it.
I trusted it enough to move forward, to claw my way out of the darkness, to scramble over every action and every event that I’d lived through, and to fight my way out.
I learned to ignore the flashing neon signs — in those old colors — that popped up along the way, threatening to stop me in my tracks.
I picked up speed, pressing onward, and the light grew.
With a thundering, mighty YAWP, I sprinted over the edge of the shadowy past, and into pure, brilliant, loving LIGHT.
I was safe and warm. My eyes were finally opened fully, and I didn’t go blind.
When I looked back, the dark was gone. The remnants of my past were still there, but illuminated, with glints of beauty marking each time I survived, each time I chose to live, instead of giving up.
God was my pure light. He came looking for me, when I huddled in the dark, and kept me warm, even when I closed my eyes to Him.
He remained constant, and His steadfast love allowed me to trust that there was more than the darkness.
For me, I had to crawl into the dark… Even if only to find the most beautiful of lights.