Honoring Tears

As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me! For evils have encompassed me beyond number; my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me. Psalm 40:11-12 ESV

My past does indeed encompass many evils, a truth for the majority of child sexual abuse (CSA) survivors. Children are chosen and groomed sometimes for convenience, and sometimes the abuser sees brokenness and exploits that child. Once a child has been abused, it is like a bright red bullseye has been tattooed on their body and subsequent abusers aim for the same target. CSA so breaks boundaries that a victim has no gauge for safe and unsafe people and will continue to be abused, attacked, assaulted, until they find a solid trauma informed therapist and experience a good amount of healing.

I have recently been more in tune with the natural grief process that needs to happen for this kind of healing. Contemplation and stillness have been an important piece of this because one needs to understand the losses they are grieving. There are times reflection of this type has caused me to feel a deep aching sorrow. Other times I feel lost and alone, and still other times I have felt the joy of reconnection to parts of me dissociated for survival. Whatever the emotion, I have given permission to the tears they produce. When this healing journey began, my tears had long been clamped off by brutal trainings before I could even walk.  A safe healing place and a growing number of safe people, along with a LOT of hard work, have re-established the flow like a giant wrench on a rusty spigot.

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 NLT

Tears from grief are sacred. The warm, salty droplets reveal the broken place from where they seep. God honors and record tears. I now choose to honor my tears, no longer fighting them in shame. Tears can produce a knowing, a chance to acknowledge how agonizing or difficult a situation truly was. Tears can be cleansing, toxic shame emancipated from the prison walls built by brainwashing. Tears can be comforting, the silent stream bringing calm after a storm. Always, tears are a message.

This particular grieving process, for me, is intensely personal. Whether I weep until I can no longer stand, or a solitary tear sneaks out at an unexpected moment, I now allow them their voice, their space in a time far removed from the time they were created. I give them the respect they have been craving as they desperately tried to tell their story for decades. I know the tears were generated by anguish. I now accept the breaking, the violating, the abuse was not my fault. I was not bad as the monsters professed. What they did to me was absolutely bad, it was horrific, so I also accept this aching sorrow the contemplation brings.

Wherever I am when a tear comes, I place a hand on my heart and take at least a moment to mourn for the child who endured the nightmare. I extend compassion to my wounded self  because compassion is what I needed and deserved when I was being raped and traumatized, and it is what I need and deserve today for surviving. Each tear I release makes my heart a little lighter. I have hope that like a child’s pool in the sun, eventually most of these tears will dry up and what will be left will be only a necessary few… reminders sparkling like diamonds reflecting the light of a life restored from darkness.

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