It’s been a rough week for many of us survivors of rape.
Some of the responses to Joe Paterno’s death (the one’s that blantently stated that we should forget his role in enabling the rape of young boys in light of his awesome football legacy) had been fighting back panic attacks, tears, hate, and rage as I tried so hard not to let anger suck away all the joy and healing that I’ve managed to find over the past few years. Walking the line between a desire to love/forgive and a desire to live in a just world can be an exhausting task.
But today, thanks to the words left by Scott Morizot in a comment on yesterday’s post, I have managed to find peace. Not joy, or healing, but peace. And that’s a start.
I don’t pray very often anymore. Sometimes, I question the point of prayer, and I still don’t completely understand what that point is.
And I’ve never prayed for the dead before (well, when I was little and my favorite aunt died, I used to ask Jesus to tell her things for me, that’s all).
But today, I prayed for Joe Paterno.
I don’t know what happens after we die. I certainly don’t believe in the fire and brimstone hell that the Baptist church taught me to believe in, but a dark part of me whispers that it wouldn’t mind seeing Joe Paterno there. But I believe in a God that is a hell of a lot more loving and merciful than I am. I believe in a God that can restore even the worst of offenders to wholeness. So, for Joe Paterno, I can only speak these words, bitter and broken.
Though, even as I speak them, through cracking voice and sobs and tears, I find peace. I find peace in leaving Joe Paterno’s soul in the hands of a God who makes all things good and new.
And, then, I prayed for the survivors of rape–for Sandusky’s victims, and for others, and for me. For those who could hardly turn on the television or read the newspaper or scroll through our Facebook newsfeed without being reminded that the feelings of those who rape and enable rape so often are treated as more important than the feelings of those who are raped. For those of us who felt that tinge of guilt when we heard of Joe Paterno’s death because, deep down in our hearts, we wished for it. For those of us who are lost and confused and longing for healing, this prayer, from Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals.
Lord, why do we suffer?
Why do we hurt?
Shall our only answer
be the eternal abyss of the cosmos?
…Why do the wicked flourish…?
Grant us your healing peace.
And, for those of us who fight for justice. For those of us who feel so overwhelmed with the evil in the world that our happiness collapses under the weight of it all. A prayer for the justice seekers and the peace makers, also from Common Prayer.
Fill us with laughter and joy while we work for peace and strive for justice.
Do you pray? Why, and how, and does it bring you peace? If you’re not the praying type, share some ways in which you cope with rough times like this.