Putting The Pieces Back Together Again
These scattered puzzle pieces came to my mind as I began to think about what to write for this article. Knowing that I would be writing a bit about my past caused my mind to picture a table filled with scattered puzzle pieces. Various shapes, sizes, and colors, all had their own meaning and also each had their place in my life. Some brought joyful and happy memories, while some caused the pain of the past to come swiftly into focus.
Just out of high school I moved into my own apartment. Like most young folks I was venturing out to try and start MY life. It was the 4th of July but I didn’t have any big plans. I was a bit of a loner so, for me, it was an evening of listening to music and then off to bed. In the restfulness of my sleep and in the quiet of the night, I was awakened with a knife at my throat. I could feel the cold steel pressed against my skin and then my ears tuned into the voice of a man behind me. He ordered me to take the pillowcase off my pillow and put it over my head. Panic and terror raced through my body as I hesitantly determined I should follow his instructions. The following hours affected my life forever. Hurts from my past and struggles through my adolescent years were nothing compared to what was to happen this 4th of July. At that point…my life was ripped into shreds…there they lay…the 2500 puzzle pieces.
After my "rape victim" hospital visit where I was examined, speaking with hospital personnel and the police I was told I could go “home”. However, I never returned to that apartment. The place of my once "new found" independence was now a place of dread, fear, and panic. The dreams I had were now broken into all these many pieces and I was just not capable of knowing how to return to the place of such pain and fear.
From that point forward my choices in life were based on my bag of pieces that I carried around with me…everywhere I went. Years of drinking and drugs helped me to avoid ever looking in the bag...after all, why would I want to ever look at those pieces again? My loneliness and isolation became my fortress. My distrust of others and their motives became my walls. Hiding became safe and kept me from knowing others or having to try and allow them into my life.
Many years have come and gone since this happened, however, as I write these words I still feel that familiar aloneness and isolation. The sadness and grief cause my heart to come to attention as they strive to well up within me. However, as I have confronted these in my past and began to let down the walls, they are no longer welcome guests in my life! So, this isn’t where the story ends!!
A life-altering event suddenly occurred in my life causing my world to spiral out of control. It was this life-changing crossroad in my life that resulted in me reaching out by calling a crisis center. Healing didn’t come quick and it certainly didn’t come easy. But…it came! It took long hours of dealing with my pain, trusting someone enough to lower the walls and release the doors of my own fortress. It seemed at times I would take one step forward and ten steps back, but over time I began to see the real me emerge. The pieces were forming a picture of who I was meant to be. Slowly the pieces began fitting back together…the pieces broken from hurts…the pieces broken from rape…and mostly the pieces that were broken from my anger at God who I felt had betrayed me and didn’t really love me.
Dealing with the pain and talking through the hurts helped me to find a way to make sense of something that absolutely will never make sense. It also helped me to begin talking to God in a way that I had never been able to before. His loving heart began to unfold and melted a lot of my anger and rage at the unfairness of it all. During my healing this verse from the Bible was shared with me.
“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” Psalm 56:8 It was awesome beyond words to learn that my tears…the ones I cried inwardly and outwardly, were ALL important to God!!
I didn’t realize this (just how important I am to God) at that moment…all of this is hindsight…looking at it through the eyes of a new life, a new woman. But the truths of my life started coming clearer to me and I began to see that God takes all of our hurts and weaves them into a fabric of our life. One that He grieves for, as well as, one that He celebrates. I began to realize that God had not forgotten me, but had been there, was willing to take me on the journey to healing, and had been walking with me on the road all along.
So, what about the puzzle pieces? Why do I see my life in this way? Because it wasn’t only the help that I reached out for at the Crisis Center that helped put the pieces of trust and love into my heart. I have since realized that it was many, many folks that I met along my way…along my journey to…I didn’t know where at the time. I guess I just thought it was the road “OUT” but…it really was the road directly into my Father’s arms! Each experience and each person He would put on my path would show me something unique about who He is. The puzzle pieces were now forming the picture of who God has always known that I am. Through the devastation of childhood hurts, pains, and rape I have come to acknowledge that my Lord really does make all things knew!