Tears and Anger

I think I have cried, at some point, every day for the last week and a half. I woke up this morning feeling like my emotions have finally leveled out. But I know there will be more tears.

I am always checking myself when it comes to anger. And sometimes I have to be reminded that there are things that should make me feel anger. In my head, I know it's okay to be angry about injustice. But there is this involuntary reflex within me that tells me I need to constantly apologize for what I feel. That in itself has contributed to a lot of inner turmoil the last week or so.

I heard yesterday that someone was asked to wear pants and big hoop earrings to the home school graduation so that the church would look more normal to the community and media. I heard that there were a lot of women in attendance wearing pants. (That would not normally be the case.) Just a few months prior to this media attention, this same person was asked not to wear pants or earrings and to try to blend in at a church event. I wasn't there, so I don't know if this representation is accurate. But if it is, it's just more manipulation and lack of integrity.

A friend in another state (who also grew up in this group) wrote this to me yesterday:

"They really believe that this is persecution. The funny thing is that all my life I was taught that someday, no matter how hard it was to stand for the truth, you would have to do it or be judged by God. There would come a time when you would have to choose the right way no matter what. Now, faced with that, they lie about what they believe and teach and how they live? Are they ashamed of what they believe? I know they will rationalize and justify it with one swoop that the outside world just would not understand...

They are sellouts. When the tough gets going they cave, instead of being steadfast in their truth and beliefs. It makes me ashamed and embarrassed that I ever bought into it (not that we had a choice since we were born into it). It has affected so much of my life and life decisions..."

I wish those who are still there could have the vantage point of those of us who have left for even one day. Everything takes on new clarity once you get out of "the village" and can look at the actions and priorities without having to protect and defend everything. But at the same time, I remember protecting and defending and wanting to be loyal.

Oh, how I wish the leadership could have responded in love and compassion to the victims and openly acknowledged the sins of the past. If only there had been no attempt to protect an image or legacy. If there had only been love and repentance and no attempt to dismiss wrong by comparing it to putting butter on a burn. If only there had been love and concern for my friend's little girl a few short years ago instead of indifference and contempt for her mommy. If anyone had bothered to dig deeper and know the truth of that situation...

But nobody cared about the truth. And it doesn't seem like anybody there cares about truth now. It appears that image is still what matters. Otherwise, people would not be saying the things they are saying in interviews. Those of us who grew up there know the truth of how we were raised. I don't know if the church will succeed in convincing the community that they have been wrongly portrayed. But I do know they cannot erase people's memories who spent their lives there.

I continue to hope that at least some will have their eyes opened as a result of all this.