I try to fall into bed utterly exhausted at night. It just works better that way. If I’m still awake, still alert, the doubts might creep in. The questions of what I’m trying to accomplish, what I can actually do in the face of such an enormous problem.
One quarter of all women, it is estimated, are in abusive relationships. One seventh of all men are as well. The stats are staggering, and the church is silent, and the few of us who say anything are met with apathy, and sometimes hostility, and always defensiveness.
At night, the numbers are overwhelming. At night, my optimism and my idealism are pushed aside as my mind allows itself to accept the reality that, to be truthful, most people just don’t care. Most people don’t care that I sleep with my phone on, just in case one of too many people I know who is still living with her abuser needs something. Most people don’t care that my kids will check with me sometimes before bed to make sure I took my meds for my PTSD, a result of 46 years of abuse under the guise of Christianity. Most people don’t care that the church preaches a false reconciliation, one based only on forgiveness by the abused party, not on change by the abuser.
Why should I care? Why should I do anything? Why should I even bother going to church on Sunday if I’m always faced with the prospect of the pastor standing before the congregation and admonishing us to offer the right hand of fellowship to the unrepentant sinner despite how much hurt they have caused?
Maybe it’s like a book I read a bit of recently about the reason conservatives usually lose the culture war in the long run…they are always backing lost causes. Maybe I just like to be the underdog. Because, honestly, trying to get the church to preach about abuse on a regular basis and trying to get Christians to put pressure on abusive spouses to change instead of on abused spouses to forgive is a very painful uphill battle.
I tell people “I’m just stupid enough to do this.” And, really, you have to be stupid to take on the Church.
But then, my mind slows down enough to begin to fall asleep…alone…again…just as I have my whole life, including my 21 years of marriage. I wonder what it’s like to be loved, particularly by the people who are supposed to, your parents, your spouse. I think of the other women I know of personally who will fall asleep wondering the same thing. I think of the damage inflicted on their souls by the false teachings I once believed that nearly destroyed me.
I cannot believe that God wants me to be silent in the face of such pain all pushed on people in His name. So the questions of whether I should continue or not cannot be from Him.
I don’t know where this will lead. I don’t know if I will have any friends at all at the end of this. I don’t know if I will ever even see change in my lifetime, or if my sons will see it in theirs. I only know that people have suffered long enough, and if God is truly a God of Love and Justice, He cannot condone what is being done. And if I claim to be His child, neither can I, especially not by my silence.