Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Burden Machination

(A continuation from The Cleansing)
I had thought that my mother's death 27 years ago was the catalyst for my searching; my seeking out theological answers; the beginning of my spiritual journey.

I'd realized that answers weren't very difficult to find. Truth was a bit more tricky. But where the real challenge lay, was finding the right questions.
This became an ever morphing, shape-shifting sojourney.

But in the end - I realize only now - what I had been doing all along was mapping out a path to my solace; an exploration of the machinery that would unburden and free me.


I've always believed and knew there is truth in fiction.
My wife and I have just finished watching a new NetFlix Original series called Happy Valley.

(Spoiler alert)
Two characters in the series are raped. One takes her own life; the other doesn't. There's a point where the surviving rape victim decides that her mother- who is dying of cancer - never needs to know; that she never need carry that burden of knowledge.
What a difficult and heroic act.

I remember my father telling me years ago that my mother had once been beaten up and raped; that the attacker had never been found or brought to justice.
He told me after we returned from Germany in 1979 but before I started High School in 1983. That would have made me between 12 and 14 years ago.

Why would he share this with me?

To what purpose? To what end?
Why would you allow your own child to carry such a burden?

There wasn't a question of paternity.
I cannot say that it is something that I ever took lightly or I have ever forgotten. But it is something that I did forget. Maybe buried; maybe forced outside my sphere of awareness might be more accurate.

It was something that could never be resolved. Nothing good could ever come from it.

Although I think I know why, there really isn't any point or answer... it's a rhetorical question.
It's a role a very close, or best friend, should fulfill. Not your child. Some truths are best taken to your grave.

But it made me see something so clearly. The past 27 years were a very long progress of purgation.
It was never a spiritual journey. I was never going "anywhere". It was a spiritual sojourn. It was returning to myself as I had been, or should have been. It was a spiritual emancipation; a spiritual healing, or regeneration, or rejuvenation.

Watching Netflix's Happy Valley triggered the memory; brought it to the fore.
It was the first time I shared it with my wife of 25 years.
Needless to say, she was surprised. Surprised by the nature of it itself, and surprised that I had never shared it before.

I had always thought that sharing it was doing the same injustice onto others that had been inflicted onto me. Throw in a Christian concept of Total/Partial Depravity, and the hopelessness and isolation is complete. So I kept it to myself. ... what horrible, vicious, entrapping circles... I was afraid sharing it would make me into whatever my father was guilty of. I even question the integrity of posting this online; wondering if it is little more than "airing my dirty laundry".

It doesn't.
It didn't.
And it hasn't.
It isn't, and never was, my burden.

Piece, by piece, burden by burden, I refuse to carry someone else's guild, shortcomings, regret... I don't have a simple catchall word for it.
...I have spend decades buried. Trapped.
These horrible, vicious circles now lay broken.

I'm not sure if I am free yet or not.
I'm not sure I can readily identify all of these demons. But now I'm aware.
I can clearly see the way forward.

1 comment:

Zoe said...

Just letting you know I read it and you know, if it ends up that it's too much for you to keep it here you could put it in *private mode* . . . I'm sure you know that already. I know I've gone back from time to time with some unease with something I've written and simply put it in private.

I can relate to being an adolescent (about 13 years of age) when shocked with the truth of a parental suicide possibility that was never fulfilled. Unfortunately, due to my age and the fear of exposing that truth that I and 2 of my siblings knew I never revealed it but it changed my life, all of our lives forever. It was a big deal but part of far more.

For me it left me with the sense that we should tell our secrets so that children don't accidentally find these things out, keep them to themselves and end up sick for life. We each respond in such individualistic ways don't we?

I know this would be very difficult to share.