|The Color of Night by Samuel Bak|
ABUSE AND THE DEATH OF GOD IN THE SOUL
Every day, every moment, I struggle with my beliefs about God and what role He takes in our lives. Some people believe that God is ‘punishing’ them when bad things happen. Others may believe in destiny and that our lives are predetermined. I believe that each person has choices. We can choose to do good or we can choose to do evil. These choices that have been made by mankind since the beginning of time trickle down and affect our lives. Many things are passed from one generation to the next and are repeated over and over until someone breaks the cycle. Most of the time, people who abuse have themselves been abused. Please do not take this wrong…I am not excusing any abusers or letting them off the hook. They could have been the ones to choose to break the cycle. But, they did not.
What I want to express and write about today is the abused child’s soul. Let us contemplate on “…the death of God in the soul of a child who suddenly discovers absolute evil?” This is a quote by Fracncois Mauriac in the Forward of Night by Elie Wiesel. Mr. Wiesel writes, “Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed.” In my mind, this is the exact way we who have endured abuse view our circumstances. We never forget. At least, I cannot forget. For those of us with D.I.D., maybe another part holds the memory, but it is still not forgotten. It is there forever and its memory has forever changed us. It has done something to our psyche, to our soul. The abuse caused death. It cause the death of innocence, self-love, and in some cases the will to live. I have to agree with Elie Wiesel when he states in Night, “Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to life as long as God Himself. Never.”
By no means am I saying that we cannot heal from abuse. I do believe we can heal to a certain point. But after years of trying to overcome my past, I feel its breath on my neck; I feel its memory haunting my sleep; I feel the pain of not belonging; I feel the scars on my body; I feel the emptiness in my soul, the longing for connection. I wonder where God was when all of this was taking place. Again, I found an answer in the Forward of Night, “‘Where is God? Where is He? Where can He be now?’ and a voice within me answered: ‘Where? Here He is—He has been hanged here, on these gallows.’” This is a difficult concept for me to accept. That God is with us through all things, good and evil. Because when you are abused, even before you are aware, you feel totally alone in the world. You feel abandoned, by God, by the world. I try to make connections with others. I try to practice ‘faith’. But in the end, I am still in the prison created by my past. It has left my soul hanging. It has left my inner home broken. It has left me blue. The above picture by Samuel Bak, The Color of Night, represents how I continue to feel.