One of my high school classmates celebrated her fiftieth birthday this week. She wrote a thoughtful and reflective post on social media, including a bittersweet memory of the loss of a junior high classmate. Many of those we went to school with responded with kind words and memories of their own. She closed with the reminder that tomorrow is promised to no one and to live well in the time we have now.
I have read her post at least three times throughout the day, each time a new portion of it ripples in my spirit. I have been avoiding a part of my heart and a part of my past for over thirty years and today’s post by my classmate made me stop.
My heart was broken in high school in so many different ways. I had hoped to succeed academically of course, but I really just hoped someone would tell me I was special, valued, that I was loved. Yes, I had friends, some I am still close with, even today. But it was my deepest heart that seemed to cry out for someone to validate me.
My senior year was full of brokenness for me. I allowed myself to be in situations that ultimately led to my rape and being sexual assaulted. By the end of the year, I was so anxious and depressed that I tried to commit suicide. All of the love I had sought was lost forever. I was tainted, worthless; I felt irredeemable. God, in His perfect time, crossed my path with a friend who gave me encouragement and hope to keep going on.
As soon as graduation was over, I vowed to never attend a class reunion or any other event that would have former classmates in attendance. All these years later, I can say I have kept that vow. I can also say that it has been a terrible waste of my time.
I have lost out on hearing how classmates met their spouse, what they are doing for a living, where they are living, and being able to build bridges where I once dug deep moats. Where I could have been open to healing and restoration, I chose to close and bolt the door. When I could have let in a person I may not have known well in school, I made sure to block them out of my life because of the shame I felt from someone else’s actions decades ago.
Best Beloved, I don’t know your story. If it’s anything like mine, don’t you think it’s time to let go? The only damage we will cause will be self-inflicted. Our hands cannot be open to healing when we are holding onto our hurts and pain, our shame and regret.
Isaiah 43:18-19 says, ““Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
God knows what we carry inside. He also knows when we need to empty our hands to be ready for the new things He is doing. He knows we need empty, open hands to be ready to receive the best things He has planned.
Best Beloved, won’t you join me in opening our hearts and hands to take hold of God’s hand and wisdom and allow Him to close the wounds we have kept open long enough? Let us come into the presence of Christ and step out of the darkness.
It is time.