*This piece was written in the beginning of April. Much has happened in our world since then and the author wishes you to know that her heart is angered by the flagrant injustices—both past and present— suffered by people of color. She grew-up in a family insensitive to the current suffering, and as an adult has been on a journey of understanding, and learning to name well and use her voice that was silenced in its own deep suffering. She wants you to know that she sees your profound suffering, is increasingly aware she has much to learn, and is determined to break the cycle of her ancestors.*
Looking back on the little girl I used to be, I wonder—at her wonder. As my understanding of trauma deepens, seedlings of awe sprout for that little girl and I ask how it is that she found so much beauty amid so much horror. I’m gobsmacked she had any capacity for wonder at all, let alone the full-bodied, skin tingling wonder that defined her. I wonder at her ability to wonder. There’s something so beautiful about it, and I’m reminded of flowers that pop-up after wildfires. She survived by tightly clutching every scrap of beauty in her little hands.
My younger self sought refuge in the forest about her home. She delighted in its beauty and woodland creatures, and became utterly lost to the world about her. To her, it was a fairy glen. The sunlight that filtered through trees in springtime and gently kissed the petals of a thousand flowers enchanted her. She marveled as each one emerged from the rich earth, as their delicate leaves unfurled, and when dewdrops sparkled on their petals–each dewdrop a miniature world she wished to step into. This fairy child tiptoed through the profusion of flowers, and worked so hard not to step on a single flower. Nearby, she spent hours in the company of a trickling stream, the flowers that turned into berries that crowned the stream’s banks, its frogs, and the birds that twittered overhead.
As she grew older, she wondered at the splendor of sunsets, the tranquillity of the twilight that followed and the ethereal stars that greeted her one by one. Watching fireflies, she wished to be one of the night fairies whose warm glow represented safety. Awake at night lying on her bed she listened to the gentle breezes, wind, and storms rushing through the trees–and wished they could take her away.
Now, looking back, I wonder how that sweet child who suffered so much had any wonder in her with which to wonder.
How she was able to dust magic on what beauty there was, to escape the inescapable. How she was able to create a daytime world to forget the nighttime.
I also wonder where God was. Why he didn’t rescue her, why he didn’t hear this child’s fervent prayers. I wonder why, as an adult, God helps me find my keys, but didn’t rescue her from rape, textbook torture, and trafficking. Why God, why? She was such a little child with the gift of faith who believed so completely. Needed you so desperately. Took your passages of rescue and protection utterly to heart.
There are no answers, only the heaviest of questions, and deepest of struggles. How do you find answers when you have suffered a holocuast of trauma (I say this with the utmost respect and do not say that lightly). I am utterly at war with myself, God, and humanity. How do you trust after what I suffered? Somehow, I still long for God and love him. Yet, where was he when unspeakable atrocities were committed against such a tiny child? The pat and cliche Christian answers–which I used to think were satisfying before I remembered my trauma–turn bitter in my mouth. They fall utterly short, silence victims, and give neither comfort nor answer. I read books by holocaust survivors to see what answers they have found, but I find that they search too, and find no answers. For some things, there are no answers.
My childhood community denied both the beauty of wrestling with God, and denied acknowledging our struggles, which compounded the effects of my trauma. Today, I find relief in wrestling with God. Of writing laments that voice my pain and questions. Somehow, in that there is comfort–one that is new, as I begin to learn to hold grief, questions, and betrayal without either demanding answers, or tying it up pretty with a bow. Allowing myself to wrestle, and to bless both my struggle, and the comfort of acknowledging it has brought healing.
As I write, a desire arises to believe my wonder was a gift to survive. Maybe it’s a desperate wish for something of genuine goodness in my childhood, and maybe it’s not. But this I know–I desire to forever be in awe of that little girl, and in that desire I begin to bless her–both for her wonder, and why she needed it.
Marín has begun a long journey toward healing from complex trauma, and invites you to be a part of her archaeological pilgrimage through the truths she’s only beginning to know herself. Through tears she’s starting to find beauty again in life, writing, artistic expression, adventure, curiosity, community, spirituality, and bringing goodness to her body. More than anything, she treasures her time with her husband and their adored four-footed friend. Marín cherishes being part of the Red Tent community and to free her to share the rawness of her soul with you, she requests anonymity.