I’m hoping that the title of this post does not scare people away. I attend an Ecumenical Catholic Church. I love the rituals in this Church. I love the community and the priests and the music and the preaching. I don’t necessarily buy into every Christian or Catholic belief. I don’t consider myself very religious. I do consider myself to be spiritual. I find God and Awe in Creation in nature. My kids ask where God is all of the time. I tell them that God is in the Sun and the Planets and the Moon and the Stars. God is in the Trees and Flowers. God is in Animals. God is in the Mountains and the Oceans. God is in You. And then I think to myself, “And maybe God is in me”.
But I am not sure that God is in me. And I am not sure that God was always with me. And I am not sure that God is always with me. I get that God made the world and humans, and then gave humans Free Will. But, I also get that God made trees and the sun. So if God could create these beautifully, fantastically awesome things…if God is that powerful…why didn’t God stop my abusers. God could have scooped me up and taken me to a beautiful place. God could have smote my abusers (Really, God smote people all of the time in the Old Testament!). But God let these people have free will and they did what they wanted with my body, my spirit, my heart. Was God in the very fact that I actually survived? Is it God’s will that my brain and my mind and my heart and my body are still fairly intact? Was God crying by my side while the abuse happened? Well, I’m not always sure that it was any great shakes that I survived each incident only to have to face another one for 20 years of my life. I’m not always sure it’s a blessing that my body, spirit, mind, and heart are pretty resilient because I am left with the PTSD black clouds blowing my way. And if God was by my side when it was happening, I’m pretty ashamed and embarrassed. Who wants to be seen being made to do the things I was forced to do? I hope God wasn’t there and aware of the ugly, stinky, disgusting stuff that went on. I have had therapists ask me to imagine that they were there during the abuse and they were rescuing me. I can’t go there. I don’t want anybody else there. I don’t want to be there. Could God have wanted to be there?
But, I forgot to mention, that I tell my boys that God is also in all of the people around us. And God is in the good, kind, helping people around us. And I believe that. God was certainly there in my aunts and uncles who loved me and bought me crazy things like purple nail polish and ice cream from the ice cream truck. God was there in the teachers who loved me and nurtured my love of learning. God was there in my camp counselors who rejoiced in seeing me return summer after summer. God was especially in the camp counselor who also happened to live in the same city as I during my Senior year of high school. She was never surprised to find me on her doorstep when she arrived home from work. She never hesitated to attend school events that my parents would not attend. She loved me when I thought I was totally unlovable. God has been and is in each of the therapists and priests and acupuncturists and massage therapists that have treated my brokenness and guided me to healing. God is in my friends who listen to my healing journey. God is in my friends who watch my children while I go to therapy. God is in my wife who supports me and loves me. God is in my children and I take on some godliness as I care for them. God is in the cats that I could not live without. God is in the fun and laughter that I experience often. God is in the music that keeps me grounded. I carry God with me as I create through art and writing and cooking.
So where was God during my abuse? I am really not sure. I am still questioning the answer that God was with me and in me and all around me. But I do know that God is with me and in me and all around me now. As I cry and as I laugh. In the gut wrenching pain and in the healing I experience. God is with me. God is in me. God is everywhere. God is here.