I made a victim bracelet after I went to visit my spiritual director last month. She wanted me to focus on my pain and those people who have harmed me. I’m opposed to this. I want to rush right ahead to the “forgive and forget” part.
Mostly the forget part.
But, she hasn’t steered me wrong yet, so I’m giving it a try. She didn’t recommend making a bracelet to help me remember. That is just something I do. This way, all day long I have a reminder to think about this. Beads are good tools for me.
I made it, with a bead for each person who came to mind. This was a month ago, and I’m discovering that I can’t remember who each bead refers to. A girl I went to high school with. My aunt. The former branch manager of the library I work at. My mom. A lady in a social group I was in. My brother, of course. But I’m having a hard time remembering everybody else. It isn’t easy.
Perhaps Jesus is getting on there and healing the broken bits.
I don’t want to focus on my pain, but I know it is important. You can’t heal what you don’t know is broken. Emotional pain is harder to work on. You can see a cut on your arm. It is easy to spot. Just put a bit of Neosporin on it and a Band-Aid and you are good.
But emotional hurts are harder to spot. The longer they aren’t tended to, the deeper they go. The deeper they go, the harder they are to dig up and get out. They tend to erupt in ugly ways. They tend to come up like privet in your yard, unwanted, unsightly, and well entrenched.
I want to forgive them. They didn’t know better. They didn’t know they were hurting me. I didn’t tell them. They didn’t mean to be mean and thoughtless and cruel. I want to let them off the hook and be done with it. I don’t want to wear this bracelet because it seems like I’m advertising my pain.
But I’m not, not really. Nobody knows what this bracelet is about. It is private. It is just a bunch of beads. Nobody knows they have meaning.
And why would I care what others think? When was I taught shame for these feelings? How much of this is the old idea of keeping the family name, the family honor clean, unbesmirched? Stiff upper lip, and all that. Don’t air your dirty laundry.
I always feel a sense of betrayal when I talk about these things. Not that I was betrayed, but that I am betraying them. This is especially true when I mention my parents. Don’t speak ill of the dead, you know.
How bad is it when the victim is the one blaming the victim?
So I wear this bracelet sometimes to work on these feelings, and ask Jesus into them. This is still a foreign idea. I wasn’t raised with the idea of Jesus as being real, and present, and my best friend. Jesus was a guy back then and out there, not somebody right now and right here.