It was a moment filled with awe-inspiring grace. A moment that shimmered in Love and joy and gratitude. A moment that took my breath away and gave me back the missing pieces of my heart. Those pieces I didn’t know had not yet returned home and fallen into place.
The moment happened on Saturday. A film crew had been at the house since the previous morning interviewing me for a documentary that will be aired on The Discovery Channel next spring. They had flown my eldest daughter Alexis in for the weekend to interview and on Saturday morning the crew was doing, ‘B-roll’. Getting footage of Alexis and me together, talking, sharing moments, drinking tea, looking at photos, that they could use for fill in the documentary. There were no microphones. Just a camera rolling and the director giving us instructions on where to sit, how to interact, move our hands, etc. It wasn’t about what we were saying. It was all about how we were behaving.
At one point, the director asked Alexis to tell me something she’s always wanted to tell me but was afraid to reveal. Alexis paused. Thought for a moment and said, “Oh. There isn’t anything. It’s what I love about my relationship with my mother. We tell each other everything. We don’t keep secrets.”
Time stopped. My heartbeat stilled. Silence, in all its luminous radiance descended.
For a moment, we sat. No words. No sound. No breath.
And then, we continued on.
But I felt it. I felt Love’s embrace. I felt gratitude encompass me, fill me up and hold me steady.
I am grateful.
Long ago, I deserted my daughters. At the time, I was desperate, lost, frightened, abused. At the time, I couldn’t think of anything else I could do for my daughters that would keep them safe, keep them whole. I was the reason their lives were in disarray. I was the cause of their pain. Removing myself from their lives was the only thing I could think of that would give them peace.
I was wrong. Very, very wrong. But at the time, I couldn’t see beyond the pain and horror of my life with a man who had lied so completely I believed I didn’t deserve anything other than his abuse.
At the time, I didn’t believe I deserved my daughters’ love. I believed I was unworthy.
Ten years later and I know the truth. Ten years later I know that abuse hurts. Abuse poisons our bodies, minds and spirits. Abuse would have us believe there is no light, no joy, no love. There is only abuse.
It’s not true. The things we believe that keep us from breathing freely. They’re not true – those words we hear in our heads that would tell us we are unworthy, useless, ugly, forgotten, without grace, without love, without beauty or joy or purpose in life.
Those words are not true.
What is true can be found in the beat of our hearts calling us to dance, to laugh, to sing, to speak up, to rise up, to give up believing the lies we tell ourselves that would keep us living small, afraid and beaten down.
What is true is that no one can tell us who we are, or what we’re worth, unless we let them.
Once upon a time I let a man poison me with his lies. I didn’t mean to let it happen. But it did.
I cannot change the past.
I can change how the past holds me back, or keeps me stuck in regret, fear, sadness, sorrow and all the feelings of being less than that would keep me from living life on the other side of regret. What I can change is how I am in the world today.
I am blessed. I am grateful. I am… enough.
On Saturday, my daughter said something I didn’t even know I wanted to hear. When she uttered the words, my heart filled up with joy and gratitude and grace and Love. When she said those words that sang so true, I knew deep within my soul what I have been learning since that moment when the man who lied was arrested and I set out on my journey of healing to find my truth.
On Saturday, my daughter’s words reminded me once again that it is not the falls and bumps and lurches of life that hurt us most. It’s the holding ourselves back from moving over, beyond, free of their turmoil.
On Saturday, I listened to my daughters words, opened my heart to their beauty and wonder and felt myself embraced by grace.
Once upon a time, the truth is, I was abused. Today, my truth is,
I am an alive and radiant woman touching hearts and opening minds to set spirits free.
I am thankful.
I am blessed.
I am in Love.