As a nurse, I have learned in psychiatry that who we are is a product of our past. Our experiences, both wonderful and traumatizing, had affected us- our personalities, our beliefs, the way we handle future stresses. Coping mechanisms are formed and nurtured through the various experiences we have throughout our lives. Some are primitive, meaning we develop them since childhood and are not as effective when used during adulthood; while some are mature, which are often the most constructive and helpful to some adults. A couple of nights ago, however, a very close friend just told me, with tears in her eyes, something I would never forget. Something not even my most mature defense mechanisms can cope with.
What can take away the greatest damage in one’s life? What can heal the most deep-seated wounds? What can repair a person’s battered and bruised heart? So devastating it was that she buried them into her mind’s oblivion. Most of her ugliest memories she has repressed. Or so I think. She can still recall bits and pieces of that awful memory as she told me her story. You would never want your very close friend to have such an awful event happen to her. Much less to your sister.
It was like nightmare turned to reality. One would never have thought it could happen. But it did and I can’t do anything about it, because it already happened. And what’s worse, it happened during a time I was too powerless to prevent it. Too many thoughts came running into my mind as she recounted the events that propelled her to be who she is today, to believe the ideas she now believes, to hold on to those beliefs tight. It was all a domino effect. If that single, horrifying incident didn’t happen, she would have been normal (we all have our abnormal tendencies, admit it or not). She would have preserved her innocence.
Some days I can’t stand the silence because I can hear her telling me those dreadful words. I can imagine her as a little child crying to me, to her Mom and Dad. When I close my eyes I see her ID picture when she was younger. How cute and naive her smile was. And then images of that event suddenly invade my mind. I can’t help but cry and ask God why He allowed such a thing to happen. Why, to all people, her? Would I have accepted such a thing if it happened to me? Would I have taken her pain and damage and scars instead? Despite our very close relationship, I guess not; I am only human and I don’t think I can afford to bear such pain. But she does! And because she shared it to me, I now bear the same pain as well. Yet, maybe not as painful because it did not happen to me personally. Nevertheless, it is a burden too heavy for our hearts to bear.
Many hours I’ve wasted crying and regretting and listening to the devil’s lies and accusations. It was my fault it happened. If only I had been by her side, she wouldn’t be like this. I’d like to see the person who did it to her suffer the same pain he inflicted. Satan had tossed a lot of negative thoughts and emotions to me and I readily accepted them. I fell prey to an endless spiral of misery and guilt and anger. I have forgotten who I am in Christ.
Yes, I may be powerless over her past, I can no longer do anything about it, but I can still do something for her present and future. Jesus has called me to be the salt and light of the world (Matt 5: 13 Ye are the salt of the earth, v. 14 Ye are the light of the world). I have to let my light shine (Matt 5:16 Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.) and lead her to Jesus. I must not allow myself to be defeated. God has called me to be victorious, through Christ (Romans 8:37 Nay in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us) and I can overcome. Because I am now in Christ, I never have to worry being alone going through whatever this life throws at me for God has promised never to leave me nor forsake me (Hebrews 13: 5). Whatever I would need, my God will supply (Philippians 4: 19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus). There’s a lot that I can do for her. I only have to step up and allow myself to be used by God.
And as for her, my dearest…if only I could erase her painful memories and bind her wounds. But I know my abilities are limited. The best way for the both of us to heal is to yield to God. Only He is powerful enough to use the bitterest memories and turn them into songs of praise. I never want such tragedy to happen to her yet God has allowed the unimaginable. I know He is working at her heart and soul right now and I know He will rescue her. He may take long, however my hope will remain. I believe God will deliver her from the nightmares of her past and bring her into His glorious presence someday.