Wina Schaufler, Survivor
When asked to write a heartfelt essay on why children shouldn’t endure what we survivors have, the image of the empty tomb popped in my mind.
As an early childhood clerical abuse survivor, and now a beyond middle aged woman, I was sent back to that moment my life stalled: innocence was lost. When coming upon the tomb confusion is relived, the searching, questioning and untangling of truth begins. What is happening? What is real?
Through faith we know Jesus is gone, Christ is risen and that’s a good thing! However as a child of abuse, emptiness may mean lifelessness, loneliness, isolation, fear, hunger, abandonment, exclusion. As children, we haven’t the capacity to experience loss as transitional: we stall. Stalling childhood development can be a death, not a good thing.
Our generational story progresses with the woman disciple waiting, weeping and not recognizing Christ. Our savior calls out “Mary!” Perhaps with some annoyance or attitude of “snap out of it!” As a survivor, there is a difference from Jesus calling our name out of love and a world wanting us just to get over it. Recognizing the resurrection means we can share in it, forced to move on leaves us at an empty tomb. We protect children because we want them to live in the fullness of Christ’s love and Resurrection.
I have the privilege of witnessing a committee of diocesan pastoral care professionals, counselors, academics, restorative justice leaders, religious and priests seeking healing and reconciliation.
My family and friends support my involvement because continued awareness is needed. Our history requires us to carry truth into the next generation with love, patience, kindness and mercy.
Forgiveness and reconciliation with self, others, reality, church and God takes time; more than some have or are willing to give. The work is priceless in a cost effective world.
Our Church is a gift of the risen Christ from an empty tomb. In these times we may be more concerned of what he wore than where he is now. Do we have the confidence in our faith and actions to declare:
Secret’s out! Alleluia! Alleluia!