Transgressions

40536711_474610336350120_3869628580073832448_n Today I opened my box. I opened the box that holds the five stones of my heart. Five stones that I have locked away and tried to forget about.

Today I sat with one stone. The stone that is the heaviest. The beautifully heart shaped pink stone.

Pink and passionate and perfect was our love. We were playfully competitive. We played hard and the competition sparked our whole life. We loved just as passionately.

I never knew a man who put me so high on a pedestal. I never knew a man who cherished me so deeply, a man who adored me so openly.

I was in awe and I felt like a beautiful woman walking down the city street displaying expensive fur and shiny diamonds. I owned what others sought.

This had to be my soul’s mate.

Today I put on meditation music. I doused myself in oils and turned on the diffuser. I asked my Lord and my guides, those who have gone before me, to protect me as I sat there in my living room holding the cold heavy stone I had painted a pretty hot pink.

I envisioned a white light of God’s protection surrounding me and I thanked my Lord.

I began to relax, I thanked God that I was there, sitting on my couch holding my heart shaped stone. I envisioned myself reaching down into the earth, grabbing onto a beautiful crystal to anchor myself.  I asked Him how to let this go. I asked Him to show me how to finally really be free.

I saw two cupped hands being lifted. A beating heart pulsing in the uplifted palms. I saw a beautiful butterfly take flight as the heart melted away. I thanked God for letting me see what was possible. It is indeed what I need to happen. It’s time to let this burden into the open, hold it to the light for all to see, so that is may take wings and free my heart.

The word transgression flashed in my mind repeatedly as I meditated. So I looked it up later. I found many synonyms for transgression: offense, crime, sin, wrong, wrongdoing, misdemeanor, felony, misdeed, lawbreaking, vice, evil-doing, indiscretion, peccadillo, mischief · mischievousness, wickedness, misbehavior, bad behavior, error, lapse, fault, trespass, infringement, breach, contravention, violation, defiance, infraction, disobedience · breaking, flouting, nonobservance, overstepping, exceeding

I smiled as I realized the message of that word.

We are all on our own life journeys. Transgressions are going to happen. We become wounded by others who are wounded by others. We should hold no hate, no grudge. Our paths cross and we love and we hurt and we learn. We grow from each encounter.

But some times these transgressions are not so easy to grow from. We hide them. We hide them and let them fester.  We stay in the pain and the grief. Parts of our heart shuts down. We cause transgressions to ourselves and to those we meet.

Ancient feelings of independence and freedom from the days of my young motherhood came to me during meditation. Pure, carefree emotions. I cried.

My wings have been clipped.

I didn’t realize how much I miss my wings. I thanked God for allowing me to feel that bliss once more. To remind me of what I am working towards.

I want my life back.

No more ugly anxiety creeping on the sidelines whispering of horrible possibilities.

I envisioned cords being cut and wings beginning to untangle.

Today I want so much to lay down this burden.

Today I want to tell you my story.

This part of my story begins way before the story actually took place.

It began as soon as I was born. It began as my journey.
It began the day a little boy named Roger was born.  It began as his journey too.
But his journey and my journey crossed paths at this particular time.

I want to share this chapter of my life journey so that I may let it out. I want to share it with love and not hate or fear or disgust and blame. Only love so that I may let it go.

I met Roger on that stereo typical starry summer night as I sat outside my new Kentucky apartment. I was so lonely. My two children, James age 6 and Allison age 2 were asleep in their bunk beds as I sought some solace from my thoughts.  I gazed at the stars from the stoop.

My sister had convinced me to move to Kentucky three hours away from my hometown. I was 23, divorced and my gypsy soul jumped at a new adventure. I had a huge garage sale, gave notice at my place of employment and packed my little station wagon and my kids and headed to live with my sister until I got my feet on the ground. My plans were to go back to school to get a college degree. I quickly found a job and registered for classes.

But that night as I sat on the steps watching the stars and feeling very alone, a man stopped in. He asked if he could sit beside me. Of course, I was very uncomfortable at first. But with his warm banter I began to feel relaxed. He asked if he could stop by another night if he saw me on the steps. I assured him that would be okay and he went on his way. After a couple of evenings on the stoop he asked me for a date and I agreed.

We went on one date and I shied a way. I don’t really recall the reason but I asked him if we  could just remain friends. He obliged, stopping by once in a while to sit and talk. But soon I would call him to come help me with some household chore. Roger was so humbled that I called on him, so grateful to be my friend. One night I went out with a girlfriend and had a shaking experience. Roger was there to pick me up and help me through it.

I remember when he gave me a friendship ring with red rubies and diamonds. I cried. No one had ever spent money on me just because.  Our relationship blossomed.

After a year, we began to date. It was truly amazing and wonderful. We loved and played and worked hard together. My three year old would affectionately call him Roger Rabbit. She looked forward to him coming over. We took the kids on short trips hiking, we went to fairs, engaged in loud raucous water fights in my apartment. He bought me a pair of white nike shoes with a pink check on them. No one had ever spent money on me. My love of pink was just beginning.  He would sing to me as I lay half asleep in my bed before he left to work. We even began to attend church together.

His soul was as youthful and mischievous as mine. We were deep into a very intense love affair.

I never saw it coming. Slowly it crept into our lives. I didn’t know the script. I had never been in this play before.

Jealousy.

Jealousy first appeared as little comments about how I was dressed. It led to comments on other men looking at me. He claimed I had to be doing something to cause that.  I began to change the way I dressed. I began to avert my eyes. I looked down as I walked. I tried not to draw attention to myself.

The more jealous and controlling he became the more he attended his church. Maybe it was the other way around. It doesn’t really matter.  He began to wrap his religious beliefs into his reasoning about how I should be behaving. I attended church with him. I even got saved. He was so proud and presented me with a pink bible with my name engraved on it.

This was a confusing time for me. He was discouraging me from visiting my family back home. He didn’t want to come along but he didn’t trust me while I was away.  He was talking marriage, but I feared his jealousy would become worse if he “owned” me.

I loved him. Our good times were amazing and so intense. But the jealousy was becoming worse. We were beginning to argue.

One night we even argued about the bible. He slapped me. I fell to the floor devastated. I had never experienced abuse like this.  I told him to leave. I knew in my heart I had to break it off.

He called me crying. He stopped by my apartment crying. He said he was so sorry. That the devil took over him. He never meant to hurt his “Precious”. He would never ever do that again.

He talked of his father’s abusive ways towards him and his family. He talked of running from the house for their lives as his dad shot a gun at them. I began to feel sorry for the terrified little boy that had withstood beatings from his father.  These transgressions he had never healed from burdened my heart.

I stayed strong for two weeks. But then one night out of loneliness I felt sorry for him. It was so easy to be with someone who adored you. I caved and let him back in. The reunion was amazing. Our life together was all good again.

Soon, his landlord asked him to move out because he was never there.  They were worried the trailer he had rented would become run down with no one living in it. Or at least that is what he told me. So he moved in with me.

The jealousy slowly returned and we began to argue even more. I told him he needed to move out. He slapped me again.

He stayed away after that until late at night. I felt responsible for him. He had no other place to go. He told me he was looking for a place to live but he was being very picky about each place. We didn’t talk when he did come home. I tried to sleep on the couch but he grabbed my arm, even breaking my pinky finger as he fiercely ripped the blanket from me.  He forced me to sleep in the same bed with him. He claimed he was afraid I would stab him in the middle of the night.

I was living in some bizarre nightmare. I didn’t know how to break out of it. I needed someone to talk to.

A couple months crawled by while living in this suspended state of extreme stress. One day I accepted an invitation to have dinner with a gentleman. I never should have done it. But I needed to get away. I needed to feel normal again. I needed someone to talk to.

It was an enjoyable evening. We had dinner under the stars on a beach by the lake. We chatted about life. I talked to him about Roger. We went for a drive and even saw an amazing display of the borealis blushing the night sky. I took it as a sign. I had some hope. I could get myself out of the mess I was in.

When I returned to my apartment Roger was waiting. He sat in a chair in my living room. I was to find out later that he had been to my girlfriend’s apartment looking for me. He had been rude and angry to her. There were no cell phones at that time for her to give me a warning.

I began to go upstairs to my room. He followed me demanding to know where I had been. I told him it was none of his business. He shoved me up against the wall and held me there. He took the ruby ring off my finger and mangled it in front of me. He called me horrible names.

He began to hit me. I couldn’t escape. He was just too strong. We ended up on the ground. He pulled me by the hair and drug me down the stairs continuing to assault me with his words.

Downstairs, he ordered me to tell him where I had been and with who. He would hit me on the head every time I said anything. I learned quick to keep my mouth shut.

He insisted I had had sex with someone and began to pull my jeans off. I feared he was going to rape me. He tore my top and jeans.

He forced me to the ground again as I tried to escape,  he pummeled my back with his fists. He drug me around some more. I pleaded with him to stop.

I asked him what God would say about him doing this. His eyes were black and he looked me in the eyes and said, “God has nothing to do with this.” He told me he had all night to do what he wanted with me. He continued to hit me.

I saw sparks of light every time his hand landed on my head. I prayed silently and cried asking the Lord to please take care of my children if I died that night. My thoughts were about them, who would love them like I do after I’m gone. I’m all they have.

In a strange twist of fate, or maybe God’s intervention, he pulled me over to the phone to call my sister while he straddled me on the ground. My sister had kept my children for the evening.

Roger felt betrayed by her since I had gone out for the evening with her brother in law. As soon as she heard me screaming in the background she new I was in trouble. She immediately called the police.

Out of panic, Roger laid down on top of me, covering my face with a pillow. I couldn’t breathe as he began to whimper about the police coming. He told me he was scared and begged me not to scream. He shut off the lights and pulled the shades so the police would think no one home.

The headlights of the squad car shown on the shades.  I begged him to take the pillow away. As the police banged on the door, I promised I would not scream. I thank God he believed me. As soon as he removed the pillow I began to scream for my life. I wanted to be with my babies. I wanted to live to love them through their lives.

The police crashed in the door just like in the movies. They busted in with guns aimed right at us. Roger jumped up off of me his hands raised.

Crazed and mindless with fear I ran. I ran towards the police. I ran past them. I ran and ran to my girlfriend’s apartment.

She opened the door as I fell into her arms,  another hysterical, beaten woman. She held me as the police came to question me. The tears flowed heavily.  Roger’s report was that I attacked him first. He was just protecting himself. But they saw the abuse bruised across my body.

They took him to jail.

At the hospital, my tears never stopped. I can’t believe a person can have so many tears. I couldn’t talk. The x-ray tech questioned if I were in pain?  He told me it was over now. I was safe and could stop crying.

I couldn’t tell him my heart and my soul was pulverized. I was raised in a very gentle, calm family. I had never experienced my parent’s arguing much less pure violence before. I was in shock and so much confusion and pain deep inside my heart.

My parents came to be by my side. My dad came to stand by my bed. He touched my forehead as he thought I lay sleeping.

My mom talked about the shock of seeing me with both eyes swollen almost shut and my face all puffy. I didn’t realize at the time that she was in very early stages of Alzhiemers.

I asked them to take my children home with them where they were safe. I was ashamed and very sad for them to see me that way.

I stayed in case I had to testify in court.

I was sent to the Swan (Stop Women Abuse Now) house for fear of Roger finding me. He had been released on bail the next morning. I was terrified of the man I deeply loved.

He sent me roses the next day. No name attached but I know they were from him. I threw them away.

He chased me down on the interstate a few weeks later as I headed back to my hometown. He cried and begged my forgiveness. I showed him the pictures of how I looked after he was finished me. He cried and begged me to throw them away.

I told him I could never ever trust him again. I drove away as he stood on the busy roadside and cried.

I moved home soon after, still terrified that he would come after me. I couldn’t watch t.v. for any violence further traumatized me. I had no one to turn too. My old friends were all married and busy. When I was with people, I felt no one wanted to hear my story. I desperately needed to talk it out but didn’t want to burden others with my need. I know I walked about in a state of shock for probably a year afterwards.

Slowly life took over. I pushed my pain and my terror further and further down. Slamming shut that lid anytime it surfaced. I created other transgressions because I didn’t fully deal with this one. I hurt myself, my kids and others. But that will be a future memoir.

I am now opening the box of five stones of my heart. I am taking each stone and working to cleanse my heart.  As I set the Roger stone down beside me, I realized it had transformed from a cold hard stone to one of warmth. I choose to leave this stone in the open for now. I shall wait as my beautiful butterfly emerges. I will wait as she stays still awaiting her beautiful new wings to dry. I pray her flight smooth and her soul be free.

I love you all for reading and accepting me for who I am. I thank you for helping me on my journey towards healing.

Love you all.

~Sara Jane Rauch~ 09/01/2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mama’s Bible

Mom w/Andy and Dad w/me on laps. Evening with one of our priests. Becky and Peggy in the background.

We had a small family gathering this weekend. My sister, Amy, brought our mother’s bible and we all got a chance to look through it. This well-loved book was like an old familiar friend as Amy pulled it out. It had apparently lost its cover some time ago. The pages were heavily noted with her handwritings scrawled in the columns and passages underlined and sometimes triple underlined.  I came across three or four dried four leaf clovers pressed into the pages and had visions of her children and grandchildren bringing her piece of nature. How thrilled she would be as she would ceremoniously help that child find a book to press them in.

My sister, Peggy, and I took turns with mom’s bible. As we skimmed through, reading a noted passage here and there, we tried to understand what she may have been dealing with at that particular time. We were grasping to eek any little bit of knowledge from the writings. We wanted desperately for her to reach out from that old bible and give us some wisdom.  Just some little something that would bring a little piece of her back to us.

I can still see my sweet mother reading to us from that bible. After supper we were not excused from the table until we were all finished and she read us a passage. I remember the boys fidgeting but giving her respect and staying seated. I remember the girls with their heads bowed, resigned to giving an extra ten minutes before starting with the dirty dishes. I would follow along as much I could and try to discern what lesson she wanted us to receive. Somehow, my young mind would manage to drift but I was always secure in the knowledge that mom definitely had our spiritual back.

I remember her sitting in the living room when I came home from being with my friends at night.  With only one lamp lighting the big old house, she would be there, reading it again as she awaited her teens to make curfew and be safely home. The nights that I would miss curfew, she still would be waiting up. I would be scolded. “I know what you’ve been up to!” she would say. I knew just to hang my head and take my tongue lashing as I sat on that cold fireplace hearth.  I never really knew what she was talking about, which sin to confess too. Because truth be known, I was probably guilty of whatever she thought I was up to, that and more.  So I would just sit there quietly until she would tell me to go to bed. I would slink upstairs and stay below the radar the next day, cleaning the house and doing what I could to get back into good graces with her and be forgiven.

Sometimes she didn’t need the bible to be open. She knew it’s passages by heart. Dad always took us on two week vacations in the summer. What a great time we would have. Dad wouldn’t shave for two weeks, he would relax and even joke and tease with us a little. This was something to us. Dad was a man of many responsibilities. With twelve children and two full time jobs he didn’t have much time to relax. Plus, he had to shave daily for his job as a State Trooper and we rarely saw him with whiskers. Vacations were a very exciting time for us.  But before we would venture out in our old station wagon, laden with luggage on top and packed with kids of all ages, pulling the Starcraft camper, mom would gather us in a circle. There in the living room she would quote from the bible as she prayed for our safety and probably her sanity on this adventure. I knew she would have her bible along and would sit beside dad in the front seat and pass the time with her two old friends.

That old book was the map to her whole life. She used it to help herself and her family along on our journey. She used it to keep her children safe as they played and grew all around her and again as they gained their wings and flew away. She used it when she was hurting, when she needed clarity and guidance. She turned to it in her happiness and successes. It was an everyday study for her. It brought her comfort and peace. Her old bible was her friend, her teacher, her confidante, her love, her peace of mind.

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