The Men People Trusted.
In the church I grew up in, and in all churches, military, businesses, families etc, there is a hierarchy.
There is always the boss, followed closely by an assistant. There are scribes, and treasurers, and event planners.
Churches have Pastors, Assistant Pastors, Executive Pastors, Teaching Pastors, along with secretaries, treasurers and then Deacon Boards.
All of that being said, one must know that if you are to hold one of those positions, you have proven yourself to be trustworthy and upstanding, as a child might even think; Holy.
After church service, there was a Sunday school class. Adults went to a different part of the building than the kids. I can still see it in my mind, all the people passing in the hall to go to their respective classes.
There, going the opposite direction as me, was a deacon who locked his eyes on me. I was around 12 or so, so I just thought he was being friendly. Each week, as we passed in the hallway, he would lock eyes on me and began to walk a little closer. I had no vocabulary for it, but I knew it felt weird. It felt scary, even creepy. He then proceeded to touch me where he shouldn’t. Every time a bit more aggressively.
My stomach would roil, and my heart would threaten to come out of my throat when I saw him coming. I knew he was a deacon. Someone the other adults looked up to and even trusted. Who would believe the words of this child, who in her wrongness didn’t fit in anywhere?
I never told a soul. Several months and several incidents passed. I made up some story about not wanting to go to class any more, even though I really did want to.
So I wasn’t in the hallway anymore, the terror and the feeling of even more wrongness stayed with me. I will always wonder if I was the only one. Statistically speaking, there were probably many more..
That was “Back in the day”, when secret things were secret things. The problem with secret things is that they tend to tarnish their container. I was tarnished, through no fault of my own, but acted out tarnished for the next several years.
Until much, much later I found out a few things; it was not my fault, God did not see me as faulty, people are people, whether they be in high places or low, even little girls and boys should talk about any secrets that adults make happen, that make them feel awful and anxious and scared.
In a previous post, The Cartography of Our Scars I addressed the fact that our scars, our landscape, makes us who we are.
Sure, I can wish it never happened, but it did, and so much more. But now I have only to use that rutted road to hold on to someone else’s hand, to help them find the way out.
Remember when that woman I barely knew said it wasn’t my fault?
The truth that she spoke to me set me on the twisty road to freedom.