Within the first few sessions with Ruth she told me she wanted me to get a book for us to work with. On The Threshold of Hope by Diane Langberg, PhD was to be the book that validated so much of what I had felt all my life and helped me to understand not only how I felt, but why I felt some of the things that I did. The title is taken from a biblical event as recorded in Judges 19. When a mob sought to rape a man who was traveling he instead threw his woman out the door for them to abuse. The bible says that they raped this woman all night long then let her go. She crawled back to the house and died on the threshold. This woman had no hope, she died on the doorway of despair and hopelessness.
Ms. Langberg says the following:
“I long for this book, and the voices it contains, to change the picture on the threshold. It is my desire that you who hang on, dead inside, will hear in these pages the sound of the door being opened. The voices at the door will not say, ‘Let’s get going.’ Instead they will say, ‘Let me help. There is hope. I know. I have been on that threshold.
The survivors whose voices you will hear in this book know that you cannot get up. They know what it is like to be dying on the threshold. It is my prayer that the understanding and the comfort you will hear in these pages will begin to transform the threshold of death into the threshold of hope.”
On The Threshold of Hope/Page 12
I first read this book in early 2012 then again in July 2013. After months of therapy I would come back to this book and find more understanding and enlightenment as I had healed enough to have a better understanding of finer points. The above quote I marked in my book and then wrote some thoughts down as follows:
July 30, 2013
“I read this book about 16 months ago. I don’t think I took it all in that first time. Reading these last two paragraphs made me cry. It took a lot of therapy to really understand that I had died on the threshold. And having now accepted the redemption, I can more clearly hear these words and my soul weeps with sorrow and with joy.”
April 4 & 5, 2012
My story had to be told. That is why I had come to this place, to find a listening ear, for the pain that I had stored up, hidden away and denied was overflowing inside of me and I felt like a pressure cooker that was not being properly attended to.
On the 4th of April I met with Ruth and we began the many hours of EMDR therapy that would assist me with telling my story. I was only to be with Ruth that day for 1 hour, but she spent 1 1/2 hours with me then I came back later and spent another 3 hours in the telling of this story. After this very long day, which did not end until 9:00pm, I went home and tried to sleep. The next day I spent several hours writing down some of my thoughts on this very important day. When we began Ruth told me that I was in complete charge to stop any time I needed to. She said we could take a break if needed and that we could end anywhere I needed to end. She said it was important for me to be in complete control of how I told my story and I was.
Journal Entry: April 5, 2012
“I am so tired. I didn’t sleep well last night…Each time I woke up I was thinking about the therapy session.
I’m so relieved to have gotten through the entire story in one day. If Ruth had not stayed with me all evening it would have taken a month to tell this story. I don’t think I could have gotten through another month of such sadness and depression that was being caused by the resurgence of memories.
I felt the need to write down some of the thoughts and feelings that I’m having about the therapy session. My hope is that once I work it out in my mind and get it on paper that I can let it be for now so that my mind will allow my body to get some much-needed rest.
Now that I have allowed myself to know the truth of the abuse from beginning to end, I’m a bit overwhelmed with thoughts and feelings. I feel proud of that little girl who was left battered and broken, naked and scarred and all alone in the middle of that corn field. I’m proud of her for getting up, getting dressed and taking that long, lonely walk back home to safety. I’m awed by her courage. The ability to keep living, to get up every day knowing that this would be another day of pain, pretense and dark secrets is awe-inspiring. And as that little girl, I can say that there was never any thought, belief or even hope that one day that pain, pretense and all of the secrets would be gone.
When the abuser left me in the cornfield I was a broken child. He had corrupted my mind, my heart, my spirit, my body, my entire being. But this corruption took place during the many months of abuse. While he was raping my body, he was also crushing my spirit, emotions and he left me heartbroken. At some point, I’m not sure when, I had to try to forget. I suspect that some memories were lost soon after the rape and that others diminished as time went by. Ruth said that I had to relive the memories and in giving voice to them they would lose their power over me. She was certainly right about this. I don’t feel that they have the power over me that they had just one day ago. I don’t know if it was the EMDR therapy, Ruth’s prayers, God making me ready or a combination of all three, but I really did “relive” those days. As I recalled particularly painful memories I could feel Ruth’s touch on the backs of my hands and although I couldn’t understand the words, I could hear the quiet, calmness of her voice while she prayed for me. These two things touch and hearing helped me feel safe. They were a constant reminder that I was not actually there with the abuser, that I was not alone this time, and most importantly it gave me a tangible link to the present. I didn’t have to fear being trapped in the past…”
end of entry…
Over the next few years we would go back to those memories when necessary. It was not unusual for us to use many different books and talk therapy to process the damage that was done and work on healing those specific areas. But at times something would come up for me that Ruth would say “we need to go back to the cornfield or the loft…you need to get a hold of it so you can see it for what it is and let it go…” She was always right in her timing of these things, but that is mostly because she is very good at letting the Lord lead the healing. When he would show us that it was time to work on something specific we stopped whatever we were doing and worked on that subject.
Some of the times that we went back was when I was feeling a dark presence of the abuser in my mind. We used some therapy to banish him from me and I was free of him for the first time in more than 38 years. We went back several times to speak to this small child inside of me that had been so hurt. I told Ruth that I had grown up, but that she had gotten left behind and because of that and the abuse she had never left the cornfield. We went back to help her leave that field, at times we went there so I could tell her that she was safe because I somehow knew that I at times had anxiety because “she” was the one who was scared. I was fractured during the abuse and I knew it for such a long time, I just didn’t know how to be whole again.
As we continue on this journey I may share with you some of my journal entries that cover these times of healing for this small 8-year-old child who still lives inside of me and some of the things that I had to become aware of in order to help her to heal too.
I pray that my story, my time on the threshold, will bring you some hope. As Diane Langberg did, I would also like to say to you, “Let me help. There is hope. I know. I have been on that threshold.” God Bless.