In the wake of the Newtown tragedy, we are left wondering of the nature of God. ‘Theodicy,’ that is one’s attempt to justify God’s goodness despite the existence of evil and suffering, is often personal. And if we are going to bear arms, as some pastors and lawmakers suggest, then he who bears should be willing to step deep into the level of Theodicy, and more so, into the depth of pain and anguish of children left untreated for decades.
If we are going to solve the problem of random gun violence, or any violence for that matter, then we must prevent our personal past from becoming the future. By not doing so only further wounds the heart and creates one less reason to live.
A word of warning – the road is painful.
This writing is very personal for me. As a Buddhist, I believe whatever received must be shared. Yet my story and the personal nature of Theodicy in and of itself remains a silent memorial – only in my heart. The story is difficult to share and extremely difficult for those with similar experiences as well.
Almost 45 years ago, at the age of eight (8), I was raped.
I was spread-eagle on my bed, each limb tied to one bed post. Never shall I forget the rope, tied against each wrist and each ankle. Its course rough thread itched as each limb was pulled taught. Unable to escape, no way to move, I could only look unto the heavens and pray for a God that simply never came.
Never shall I forget the stripping of clothes. The rapist was methodical, almost with expert precision, and was able to rip, cut and shred with ease. The cold scissors ran inside my thigh and with symmetry of a surgeon my undergarments were quickly discarded.
For the first time in my life I laid bare. Looking back, I’m still amazed at the coolness of the afternoon air as it rolled over my body. The breath of my rapist heated me and I felt the heat of each exhale, each drip of perspiration. Slow waas he, inhaling and exhaling.
Never shall I ever forget the laughter, as I was outlined head to toe – once by a finger, another by a feather and another by tongue. I was teased and tasted.
His first taste was of the foreskin as his tongue rolled over and around. Lips then surrounded my glans, sucking and biting while laughing as my testis rolled through his fingers. His tongue separated my meatus and I felt saliva entering my urethra. In some perverted way our fluids have been forever intertwined.
Nocturnal silence haunts me still. At the age of eight (8) I was transformed and consumed, inwardly burned and internally seared by a branding iron.
God never came. And I have been looking for an answer ever since.
Fast forward 45 years … My attacker is considered a Catholic man of honor, with a family and grandchildren of his own. He succeeded, becoming a well-known business man. As for me, my soul was murdered and I fell into a silent abyss, becoming a stranger, an observer … both insignificant and invisible, nothing more.
In today’s world, we hear thousands like this child cry. But millions of other voices remain silent to the world never.
The lessons to learn from the Newtown tragedy have no easy answers nor easily resolved. It requires both some form of gun control, but also requires each of us to assess and change how we treat each other. Part of the answers and many of life’s problems can only be found from within and comes from treating each other in decency and love. We must be willing to transcend the deepest corners of our children’s lives and find the heart and soul. If we do not, many of the insignificant and invisible will arise, usually in places we care not to see.
The very act of agape love requires all of us to stop the pain of loneliness and issolation. No gun or control law will assist with that.