Six years ago this evening was the worst night of my life. I will never forget what happened on July 5, 2001. In fact, I believe it is something I will remember on a physical, emotional and spiritual level for the rest of my life, whether I want to or not. In fact, toward the end of last week I began feeling tired. I noticed that my energy level was low and I began to wonder why. Then I realized... It is almost July 5th. It is as if my body remembers before the rest of me. This same exhaustion is something I have dealt with on and off since July 5, 2001. Sometimes in long stretches and sometimes in short spans. One of the many symptoms of post-traumatic stress.
For those of you who don't know the significance of July 5th, it was on that night that I was assaulted at gun point and terrorized for more than two hours in my own home. I survived by the very awesome and amazing grace of God ~ I have no other way to explain it. For that I will be forever thankful. The details of the assault fall within the scope of my unbloggables. In fact, it takes courage for me to blog even this. It is not something I talk about often, even to my closest friends and family members.
Yet it feels right to acknowledge this day on my blog, where I share bits and pieces of myself and my family and my journey with God following the Way of Jesus. Being a victim and survivor of trauma has shaped who I am.
On the first year anniversary of the assault I found someone to cover the pulpit for me and Gary and I got away. One of my parishioners (who was not happy about me being away) asked, "Why do you need to leave town? Are you going to make a big deal about this every year?" My answer is yes. I am going to make a big deal about it every year. My 'big deal' may be as simple as blogging about it or going for a hike or staying at a bed and breakfast or enjoying lobster with friends, but yes, I am going to make a big deal about it every year because July 5th is a big deal.
And I thank God every day that I am here to make a big deal about it. My prayers are for the families of the women and men who have gone through similar situations and who are not here to make a big deal about it. Maybe if more of us make a big deal about it (about violence, about gun control, about dealing openly with mental illness), instead of ignoring it or sweeping it under the rug, there will be less violence and our world may reflect more fully God's peace.