It was a Friday and I was at work as usual. About lunch time a co-worker called and said several people were going out for lunch and invited me to go with them. I said that I would and I met them at a local restaurant. Due to the busy time there were many people coming into and leaving the restaurant at the same time. I was waiting with another co-worker who was holding the door for a group of men to exit the restaurant. As these men left I casually glanced at them and then my eyes were drawn to one man in particular. My mind raced trying to place him as I knew this was someone who I should know. In a few seconds my mind found the name I was searching for. This was the man who had sexually abused me as a very young child and for the first time in decades he was standing just a couple of feet from me. He never looked at me and continued on his way laughing and talking with his friends. I entered the restaurant and order lunch. I ate with my co-workers and no one knew, not even me, that this would be a turning point in my life. I couldn’t think about seeing him while I ate with others who had no idea of my past so I did what I always had done, I buried it and just didn’t think any more about it.
Three days later I woke up crying and feeling like I was having a nervous breakdown. It was very early, but I got up and got ready for work. I had no idea what was wrong with me I just knew I was in a lot of emotional pain and I was very scared that I was going to have to go to the hospital. It took about 3 hours for me to remember that I had seen the abuser and to realize that even though I didn’t know why I was so upset, I knew it was tied to seeing him. I was cold all over, shaking, nauseated and crying uncontrollably. I reached out to a our counselor at work and told him I was in a crisis. He came to me and he became the first man and only the second person that I had ever told that I had been sexually abused as a child. This man assisted me with finding a Christian counselor who specialized in trauma therapy.
It would be 3 weeks before my first appointment and I suffered greatly from symptoms of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Many assume that this is when I ‘remembered’ what had happened, but I always knew what had occurred. I was just unable to bury it and forget about it as I had done so often in the past. It seemed that the retaining wall that held the horror had crumbled and I was going to have to deal with everything that was spilling out whether I wanted to or not. And believe me, I did not want to! I didn’t want to talk to anyone, relive the memories nor to wallow in the shame that I had felt for 38 years.
This Friday in 2012 seemed at the time as a bit of bad luck. What were the odds that I would see this man at just that moment? I can tell you now that I view this date very differently. This was the day that the Lord deemed time to begin to set me free from the prison of my making. I began a journey of healing that continues to this day. For me this particular Friday the 13th was very good.
And so begins our journey together. I hope to share with you some of the lessons that I learned during the past 5+ years and to show you that hope exists even in the most hopeless of situations. Thank you for taking this journey with me. I pray the Lord will bless you during our time together. God Bless.