She holds her arm, tears streaming down her face. “Mommy it hurts.” I gingerly touch the bump. Hot. Bright Red. Puffy. I feel her forehead. She has a fever. I stare at this thing on her arm. It is just a mosquito bite, how could it be this bad? My daughter gets sick. Quickly. She can be healthy and a few hours later we are rushing her to urgent care with an out-of-control infection. I know I must make a choice and make it quickly; this cannot wait until the morning.
My daughter is not happy. I have to bribe her with candy. I promise her it won’t hurt…too much. I tell her she’ll feel better. She cries. I cry. I prep the counter with the things I need. The blade. Gauze. Alcohol. Band-Aids. Neosporin. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I whisper a quick prayer. At first the wound just festers a little pus. Blood. She’s crying and I’m feeling like the world’s worst mother. I wash it off. I know there’s more. This is a deep wound. I tell her to take a deep breathe…I take a deep breathe and squeeze. The poison comes out with such force…it’s on me and I’m barely keeping my stomach. I have to lean over to keep from vomiting all over the place. My daughter is crying hard. I hold the gauze over the now open, bleeding wound. I hold her and cry too. I tell her we need to clean the wound to make sure no more poison grows. She looks at me and says, “I’ll be ok mommy.” I clean the wound, wrap it and give her a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. My girl, she’s quite the negotiator. “I think I should get 3 for that.” I smile. Yes, and so does Mommy. We head upstairs to brush teeth and bedtime tuck-in. I pray for her body to begin healing. The next morning I look at the wound. It’s better. Gone is the big bump. The redness is a faint pink. Her body has already begun to create the scab that will keep it safe from further infection. The fever is gone. The poison is gone. The wound is now healing.
I told this story to lead into another story. A story about a boy in a famous family. Who out of his curiosity, at first, did something horrible. Who made a choice to repeat that horrible thing, over and over again until it became not a curiosity but a horrible, ugly poison. Unlike some boys, this one told his family. And unlike some families, this one made a decision to help the boy. However, the decision was not the right one. 13 years later, the boy is now a man. A man with a very public opinion about what is righteous, what is pure, what is holy and what is family. He has a wife. He has children. And he has a secret. A secret that becomes exposed. A secret that I’m asked to comment on and I refuse, because it doesn’t affect me. Because I hold a minority position. I believe a teenager can be rehabilitated and turn from this choice and people just don’t understand how I can believe that. A survivor of the very poison this boy has pulsing through his veins. I don’t wish to join the fray. To judge someone’s repentance or a victim’s forgiveness as being true or right or holy. I just wait. Because I know. I know that if the poison is still there, it will show.
It shows. And I cry. Because I know there was no real help. For the boy. For the girls. For the family. There was no repentance. No forgiveness. No reconciliation. No healing. Just another band-aid put onto a gaping wound that continually makes the body and soul sicker. It looks pretty to those on the outside. To the audience that watches every week. Such a good, wholesome family. But underneath is an ugly, ugly secret that poisons their lives.
Once again, a secret is exposed. Once again, I’m asked for an opinion. Once again, I give none. Because no one wants to have the conversation. No one really wants to get to the root of what causes this poison to grow. No one wants to take the blade, cut open the wound, squeeze all the poison out and begin healing. Because we really, really don’t want the poison to get on us, to come busting out where we have to deal with it. So instead, we put a band-aid on it, call it healing and move on. Meanwhile the wound still grows poison.
I had a secret. A horribly, deep ugly secret that kept me from my husband and my God and my family. It kept me trapped viewing myself as vile, dirty, unworthy…an untouchable. Until one day the pain was too much. I had a choice. I could keep my secret, or I could bust the wound open and face what was inside. It was a mixture of bravery and desperation. I chose, some say unwisely, to share my secret publicly. But that step, of getting the secret named and in the open, finally started the healing process. A healing process that touched not just my life but in the future will touch other’s lives, possibly giving them the tools to start their own healing process. The pain was terrifying, but the healing was worth it.
My heart aches for those who view the exposure of secrets as a bad thing. As persecution. As just another sign of creation rejecting the Creator. Honestly, the more I read about the latest Ashely Madison crisis, the angrier I get at the response from those who say they are Christians. We, who follow the teachings of a man who talked about being a physician, should be rejoicing. Not in the downfall of men and women whose lives are now in turmoil. We should rejoice that the secrets are being exposed. For secrets are poison. Secrets are the very thing that hold power over us and keep us from being truly healed. For when, we expose darkness to the light, the darkness cannot stay.
If you truly believe that Christianity is the answer to what ails humanity, an idea that I don’t personally hold, then why would you reject the very process by which the “cure to what ails” is given? Why would you be upset by what I see is a cleansing process?
This is not persecution of good Christian morals, a concept which is laughable at this point. This is not Satan running around trying to destroy the faith of those who believe. Really? Satan is more powerful than Abba? Than our own wills? Even Abba doesn’t have the power to override our wills. The reality is if there were NO secrets, there would be NOTHING TO EXPOSE.
This is the response of a Father who has been trying to get us to listen. He’s given us the best. He’s let us make our own choices and now WE are facing the consequences of our OWN choices. We are being ridiculed, exposed as hypocrites, adulterers, liars, cheaters, abusers, sexually immoral, evil…because that’s PRECISELY who we are. We no longer can hide behind a pretty façade and pretend that we are not just as desperately sick as those who don’t believe. The Father is no longer going to allow it.
It’s time to quit crying. It’s time to quit putting band-aids and hoping the disease goes away. It’s time for every one of us to be brave, take the blade to our souls, cut open the thing that is killing us, let the poison come bursting out, even if it gets everywhere and we want to vomit…because it’s the only way we get free.
Freedom. Freedom from the pain of ugliness, evil, sin…is beyond words. True freedom, from what ails us, is what it means to be truly, truly alive.
So, if you’re ready to heal…get the blade out. It’s time to cure what ails us.