Ten years ago today I was the victim of sexual assault and attempted murder. The anniversary date has always been inextricably linked to the Fourth of July celebrations. This year, like most years, I passed on the fireworks and treated the holiday like any other day.
But not quite like any other day. Each year the anniversary date hits me a little differently. This year I spent the days leading up to it reflecting on the past ten years of my life. In these past ten years I've married, become a stepmother, moved twice, been commissioned and ordained, met many wonderful people and made life-long friends. These are all things I never would have experienced if July 5, 2001 turned out differently.
The other day I began to reflect on how blessed I feel to have experienced all these past ten years had to offer. But then I began to feel uncomfortable with the word 'blessed.' To say that I was blessed would be to imply that someone who didn't survive a similar situation wasn't blessed. Yes, I feel that God was with me on July 5, 2001 when I survived. I also know that God would have been with me had I not survived. I don't believe God saved me for a particular reason, and not someone else, as part of a grand plan. Why one person survives a horrific event and another doesn't I don't know. There were certain things I did that night that aided my survival. Yet, had just one thing been different I likely would not be here today. In many ways I feel just lucky.
That is not to say that blessings can't come out of what happened to me. That is, I believe, the true blessing of any experience ~ what one does with it. The healing I have experienced is one of the biggest blessings that came from this situation. This week, as the anniversary approached, I began to feel my PTSD resurfacing and it was a blessing that I could recognize it and do something about it before it became overwhelming. The work I have done with Bady has been a blessing and, hopefully, the work of the Bady Partnership will be a blessing into the future. For me, the greatest blessing I can imagine is to share the hard work I've done to heal with someone else so they can experience that healing too. This is my prayer ~ ten years later.