"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

I hate this ...

Some boys were actually raped.

I read Mudblood's post about his experience.  I responded thusly...

This is very difficult for me to read - I immediately want to freeze up and say 'man up' - not to you, but to myself.  I suppose it's 'defensive detachment' at work. 
Amazingly, my experience is similar to yours - it didn't take place at a church camp however.  It involved a neighbor just a bit older than your predator - it happened repeatedly.  I hate thinking of it.  I had a crazy family as well - very abusive.  It made me an easy target for a predator.  I pretended it was an 'affair' - like in the movies.  I pretended I was sophisticated and adult.  I hated doing it.  For years I blamed myself - completely - not believing that I was really only a child. 
It was a long time ago... but it never goes away completely.  The wounds reopen from time to time - but they no longer become infected - to a deadly degree, that is.  At least I hope not.  It's like the wound in St. Rita's forehead - it can become foul and festering, repellent to others, but it closes sometimes, and you almost don't notice it.
God bless you for being so honest.
Just like Brideshead Revisited - only poorer and creepier.

It's difficult for me because for most of my life I pretended it didn't really happen, and I kept it secret - because I was embarrassed and ashamed.  Keeping secrets became a habit and so everything about me got to be 'protected' information.  I censored myself.  I also claimed responsibility for everything that happened to me - I would admit that "I did it".  Even though my closest friends in high school knew about some of what "I did", the stuff I permitted them to know about, I pretended I had been in control - but I wasn't.  I pretended to be a 'man of the world' due to the experience - but I wasn't.  Then, as any fugitive, I more or less exiled myself as soon as I could, and moved away ...

Oddly enough, while I was sick recently, I thought very much about that period in my life, the neighborhood, the circumstances at home - it all seems so insane in retrospect.  The sense of shame is so overwhelming - I cannot even write about it.  So I won't.  Maybe I'll rewrite a kid's book I did years ago... about the little kid whose bear was given away by his wicked step-mother ...
Once upon a time there was a little kid who had a little bear.  They lived in a little house on a little street named Petit, in a little portion of an Italian neighborhood in St. Paul.
508 Petit St.

Which reminds me - I Googled the old neighborhood and all the houses were torn down - and nothing lives on the land today.  I wonder if it was salted?

Read Gabriel Blanchard's post on his experience here

It helps - so much - to understand things.  Yep - then move on.  (Only to return - from time to time.)

St. Rita
I refer to abuse wounds as a sort of stigmata.
St. Rita's wounds work for me as an analogy 
because her wound was at times repellent
to those with whom she lived.
Similarly, as a result of my wound, 
I sometimes say and do
inappropriate things
which others find


  1. It makes me really angry to hear this Terry. You amaze me in how loving & charitable you are in spite of the ordeals & suffering you have lived through. Prayers always - united in Christ - my brother.

  2. I believe, probably because of the teaching of St. Therese, that there is "hope against hope" which is not in vain - that God will one day heal all wounds of those who love Him. We cannot imagine it, truly - St. Paul was right. It is pure faith that is needed. But it will come to be.

  3. Terry you did "man up." You dealt with a horrible experience by becoming a good man, and a responsible man who didn't perpetrate the cycle of abuse. Instead of drowning yourself in booze or drugs or sex or any of the things we use to fill the holes in our hearts and our souls..instead, you rely on your faith and you immerse yourself in your art.

    That is what a man does, takes bad sh*t, deals with it and moves on in a positive way.

    I also don't think this can be said enough, but I am sorry that this bad shit happened ....neither you or anyone else deserves that.

  4. It takes a strong person, Terry, and even more grace from God, to cope with such abuse. I find your writings very inspirational and helpful, even if I only apply it to far lesser suffering.

  5. I'm so sorry to hear stuff like this. And it's all so, so much more common than we realize.

  6. Praying for you, Terry. Thank you for your courage in giving your witness. People are healed when the evil of abuse--and the fact that, as you indicate, victims are not responsible--is brought to light.

    Your poem placing your wound in light of St. Rita's is very beautiful.

    You know that your stigmata metaphor was important for me in writing My Peace I Give You, so your witness is helping people through that book as well.

  7. You're brave, Terry; you tell people the truth.

  8. +JMJ+

    The stigmata metaphor is beautiful, because it is very true.

  9. Those houses that were all torn-down seems to me to be a "good-sign", Terry, sort of as God saying, "enough is enough" and a sort of cleansing, too. I admire very much also your embracing and trying to live your Faith and also your expressing yourself in your art. That's a "good-sign" too, I believe. Hoping st. Therese will send you many roses with not too many thorns. As she wrote once, "believe that I'll truly be your little sister for all eternity". God bless you and ALL your readers always.

  10. So sorry, the correct quote of st. Therese's is: "Believe that I shall be your true little sister for all eternity."

  11. Thanks every one for your kind comments - not sure I deserve them, but...

    I did a sort of follow up to this post for Sunday.

    Thanks again.


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