Listening to the lie of the complexity of shame. Out of habit I usually write the date at the top right corner before I write anything in my journal. Yesterday’s date reminded of a family event 16 years ago, and an avalanche of painful memories crushed down on me. The number 13 is not a number I usually remember and has no superstitious meaning to me. It only stands as a number, July 13. Why did this come to me now after so many years?
I’ve been reading about how our subconscious mind can record the memories into our brain and then bring them up at inappropriate or appropriate times. Well, this month has been a challenge. I’m attending an online 31-Day Platform Building Challenge, which means I’m focused on writing my memoir along with incorporating different ways to use platform to spread the word about my writing. A bonus aspect of this process has been networking and connecting with other writers.
The knock at the door
Today the scripture Psalm 46:1-2 spoke to me about fear. God is always there, ready to take away the fear of facing negative emotions. Even if the “earth trembled” and the “mountains tumbled” and fear entered my mind, I believe he is my helper. Over the years I had built up a normal successful family life with possible future grandkids and all that goes with it. My teaching career had been my focus until this day, when everything came crashing down into a pile of rubble. Alone, and ready to travel overseas to meet my husband who had travelled ahead of me, I thought nothing of a knock at my door during dinner hour. The woman standing there with her two babies looked dejected and whispered the words no mother should have to hear. “Kevin’s in jail.” Though her babies were not my biological grandkids, I loved them.
Fear of facing negative emotions
I offered no words, except to ask why. Eyes downcast and shoulders slumped, she quickly walked away. In a daze, I closed the door slowly, and bolted upstairs into a guest bedroom, where I felt I didn’t belong. Shame. This was not happening! It must be a mistake, and they locked someone else by that name up. I watched a little television, but knew that police errors sometimes lead to arresting the wrong person. I dropped myself on the hardwood floor with face down to cry, but no tears came. My thoughts bombarded me about a thousand scenarios of what had he done, or not done? After a short stint locked up, our firstborn son was a free man, and has been since.
It’s not my fault
Why the emotion of shame accosted me is not really a mystery, but a direct result of perceived feelings I’m a terrible mother. Was it my fault that my son did a bad thing? No, of course not. But the enemy of my soul lied to me it’s my fault because you didn’t train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old (early thirties), he will not depart from it. That scripture had no meaning at that moment of my despair. Finally some tears dropped on the bare floor while I covered the top of my head with my hands. I was alone, but I felt I needed to hide from what? I didn’t know. My status as an upright citizen and a schoolteacher came crashing down. It disgusted me.
And later when his name appeared in the local newspaper, I decided I couldn’t go to work in September. I simply could not face my colleagues with our family’s shame!
Thankfully, God has restored my soul in the presence of my enemies leading me into green pastures. The lies of the enemy can’t stand in the face of God’s grace and mercy. He is enough. His grace lifted me and swooped into my darkness and set my feet on a solid ground. Many years have passed after that fateful day, and all is well with my soul.
Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.Psalm 136:26 (NIV)
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Here’s one of my earlier posts from 2013 that relate to family. “What if my sister had faster?”