Journal

Redemption

 

Prisoners used to write me. I would open their already opened letters, poring over their stories, wondering how I could “save” them. I was so young, so naïve, so self-righteous.
Miss Goody Two-Shoes, my sister accused. The inmates followed my newspaper columns, where my smiling face looked supple and pure, even in black and white newsprint. I wrote some of them back, feeling free in my journey as a young woman, seemingly unrestrained by anything. The road before me, I believed, was studded with hope and opportunity. I would make a name for myself, get married, travel, have fun, write forever. I did get married. Traveled a little. Had loads of fun. Wrote for a season. Until I made a decision that stopped all of it: the choice to go from wife to harlot in a day. Or so it seemed. But nothing happens that suddenly, not even traffic accidents or heart attacks. The root is always lurking. I liken myself to the imprisoned men who play the characters in Hamlet, and in so doing are forced to contemplate their own crimes, violations, strikes against humanity. I hurt someone, one of the men said during an interview with NPR.  I’m not sure I deserve to be free.

Likewise, even with grace, even with my ex-husband’s forgiveness or my ex-lover’s family’s release, I have not been so kind to myself. An inability to forgive the self is the ultimate consequence, and in this self-imposed prison, my heart was joined more solidly with the convicts than it may ever be with a female friend, whose love I am not so sure I fully deserve. Guilt branded my spirit. My skin changed. My eyes, too.

I would meet lovely couples, and feel not quite able to be myself, afraid it might be revealed that I am one of those women, a home wrecker. And so I was– for a year, an eternity.

I emerged from my cell, not as a butterfly, but as a carcass of my former self, or the self I had believed I was. Like a just-released convict, I jumped into a new relationship too soon, still raw and rough around the edges, seeking redemption.

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3 thoughts on “Redemption

  1. This is a very well written entry…but the content is rather unnerving. It’s a feeling we all experience in different degrees. A failure…a loss of composure…a brief lapse of judgement and suddenly we will “never be the same again”. Most of us focus so readily on the bad and discount the good. When we remenisce our wickedness rather than on the grace given by God and the lesson to be learned from our mistakes, we tend to relapse into yet another similar mess. Some would argue it’s because of our thoughts: “What you dwell on will become your reality!” I’ve been in this spot, on a different level. I had maintained my full purity until the age of 24 and hadn’t planned on even kissing a woman until the phrase “You may now kiss the bride,” rang in my ears. But I hung around with the wrong people and made some poor decisions and alas, it was stolen from me by a girl who had no comprehension of the ideal of a gentleman…and that dream was seemingly thrown out the window along with several other pieces of my purity puzzle. (Which, ironically, is the only “puzzle” we receive fully assembled and can’t wait to pull apart…) That being said to say this: it was incredibly difficult for me to stop beating myself up over it and eventually, when another willing candidate came along, I made the same mistakes. It was only very recently, with a full revelation of God’s love and grace that I was able to truly put BOTH incidents behind me and start fresh. Granted, those experiences still happened and the memories still exist, but they hold no power over me! The shame is gone, the guilt is relieved…I’m free.

    I don’t know if you’ve healed or not and this is just a simple memory of the struggle or if it’s still alive and fighting you, but I think you might appreciate this entry:

    http://lifeandmoreabundant.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/throw-away-your-prison-calendars/

    (And I absolutely despise any kind of “self-advertisement” via comment, but I sincerely think the information could be of use to you…and very possibly to someone you know!)

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