Yesterday was a rough one. After all these years, a lawsuit has been filed against Bill Gothard, an American religious leader who abused so many for so long. Several of my friends are part of that lawsuit, and their bravery and strength brings me to tears. They’ve had to revisit such a horrendous time in their lives and they’ve done it so that no one else has to go through what they did, so that he is held accountable for at least some of the horrors he perpetrated. I admire them tremendously. They represent thousands of us, innocent kids who were harmed by this mans behavior and teachings, and the culture of abuse he and his fellow leaders created and sustained.
The news – you can read about it here and here and here – means a great deal to those of us abused by him and his co-leaders, but it also triggers memories we’ve spent decades trying to overcome. Emotional flashbacks came like waves, whipping many of us back to that time of fear and shame when we had no power and no one to help us. There were the usual tears, headaches, nausea, shortness of breath, the feeling of sheer panic and being in imminent danger, but thankfully, they didn’t last. Because that was then, this is now.
And now is so much better.
Now we are free from him and his henchmen/women. He no longer has the power to harm us. He cannot touch us, cannot speak to us, cannot use others to control, manipulate, and abuse us. We are safe.
We are free to live in the light now, to embrace ideals and beliefs that reflect our good and loving hearts, to pursue healing through counseling, the real love of kind people, the help of doctors and other professionals.
And we get to build beautiful lives now, lives marked by kindness and creativity and love for ourselves and others.
We are free to make the most of this life of ours, and that’s something to smile about.
I talked with several friends after the lawsuit news broke, and it was lovely to comfort and affirm each other, grieve over the bad stuff and celebrate the good. We will always deal with the ramifications of what he did to us, but we’ll be OK. We’re strong and feisty and brave and funny and talented, and we really will be OK. We’ve got each other, we’ve got people who love us even with our crazy pasts, and we’ve got today.
Today is such a lovely word full of hope and possibility. What a gift to be able to fill it with what WE want, not what bad guys foisted upon us.
We get to love our people and show compassion to our dear wobbly selves, we get to make good food and stand outside in fresh air with growing things around us, we get to see birds flitting about and draw and sew and paint and take pictures and build stuff and plant things and read books and watch movies and listen to music and write words and dance like a crazy person.
Today is good.
Wishing you a beautiful today. xo