Thursday, July 27, 2017

Do I Talk or Keep Quiet?



Do I Talk or Keep Quiet?

Do I talk or keep quiet?
Do I write or delete the pages of my experience?
Do I broadcast or blackout what happened?

You will hurt the children.
You will embarrass your family.
You will make it uncomfortable for your friends.
Nobody wants to know about depression.
History is irrelevant.
Nobody cares about your struggles.
Nobody gives a damn what happened behind closed doors.
He said, she said.
Move on and look at the bright side.

So I am told.

Evil sprouts in silence,
in the hot black dirt of fear,
Snakes its choking vines,
Binding legs and arms
Around one's neck,
Covering eyes and mouth.
Diabolical kudzu
Smothering all beneath its green carpet of lies.

Don’t trouble me with what happened,
I don’t want to know.
Keep your stories to yourself.
Who was right? Who was wrong?
I’m sure you got what you deserved.

So these things happen? Just get over it?
Is that it?
The drunken husband beats his wife and rapes his daughter (behind closed doors), 
And we don’t want to know? That’s just the way it is?
The church elders assault the manager with their words for uncovering too much,
Lies, threats, she is forced out.  
And when the pastor and other staff rush to defend, 
More lies, more threats, and they too are gone. 
Convenient scapegoats.  
The pastor’s fault.  
In case anybody wants to know.
Which they don’t. 
And that’s ok?
Mean girls verbally batter their classmate 
Again and again.
She’s found hanging in the garage.
And should we not be concerned?

Self-serving shifting standards,   
It would seem.
One form of violence is appalling.
The other is not my problem.
Of no account.
We pass by the bloodied man
On the other side.

I want my children to know, 
because I never want what was done to me 
to be done to them.
I want my family to know, 
because I want them to grasp that evil is a part of us as well 
and pretending it doesn’t exist 
allows it to flourish
unchecked.
I want my friends to know,
So that they will realize that looking the other way 
will not make the wrong disappear.
I want to be honest about my depression 
So that someone driven to the same ledge 
where I found myself 
might know there’s a way off;  
So that family, friends, church will not continue 
to share the conspiracy of denial,
But will grasp that there is a darkness, 
a suffering that transcends physicality, 
that poisons the very well of the soul,
that they may not persecute any more, 
or ignore,
but help.

But most of all, 
I want the abuser 
to quit running,
quit denying,
quit blaming.
Changing behaviour is not so hard, 
with help.
It’s opening the eyes,
It’s remaking the heart.
Impossible.  I know.
Involves a crucifixion, you know.
Cut out your angry heart,
Sew in one that has the capacity to love again.
Standard operating procedure for the Saviour you confess 
Who made you,
And knows you,
And loves you.
But he cannot proceed unless you sign the papers.
And that’s where matters seem to have been stuck.
Many years stuck.
Many years that could have been otherwise.

Enabling has led to this mayhem. 
I was afraid if I stopped it would get worse.
I stopped.
The house fell down.
But just because I refuse to play any more 
Doesn’t mean my place hasn’t been taken 
by many, many others,
Who have their own reasons,
Their own dysfunctions.
Maybe they too will grow tired of playing the game.
Maybe having at last to live with oneself
Will give God the crack He needs.
Maybe, like Zacheaus, 
Salvation will come to this house, too. 

Maybe.