The soul cannot forgive until it
is restored to wholeness and health.
In the absence of love - how can one forgive?

With an abundance of love, starting with one's self,
forgiveness becomes a viable opportunity.
-Nancy Richards

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Go Swimming with a Survivor!

When I first became estranged from my mother, I felt like I was drowning in an ocean of pain.

Suffering from the cumulative effects of abuse and estrangement, I fervently wished my mother would drive up in a boat, and rescue me from the ocean. She didn't.

But, the truth is - nobody could "rescue" me. I had to rescue myself. Authentic recovery meant doing the hard work, and swimming the distance to shore. But, what did happen was remarkable. One by one, people jumped into the ocean and began to swim with me. As I fought the tide:
  • They helped keep me safe.
  • They kept me company.
  • They gave me validation, and encouragement.
  • They shared my experience.
  • Some already understood my struggle; others were interested in understanding, but either way-
  • In essence, they said, "I know this is a huge struggle, and I'm not going to leave you alone. I'm going to swim with you.
I'll be forever grateful!

So, I continue to swim - for myself - and for other survivors.


Anonymous said...

thank you for your inspiration~ i'm swimming along too~ :)

AbuseAndForgiveness said...


Anonymous said...

I love the analogy of swimming. I only have but a couple safe people swimming with me and sometimes it still feels lonely. I continue on up the stream.

AbuseAndForgiveness said...

Dear Anonymous,

When I began my "swim," I only had one or two people in the water with me. As the years went by, I picked up more and more swimmers.

But, regardless of how many swimmers are with us, it can still feel lonely at times, because ultimately, the work is ours.

Stay strong,

Anonymous said...

Well put. It is something that I will keep in mind. I have just recently started letting a chosen few swim with me. I realize that I can only do the work myself but at the same time as much as I want to I can't do it alone.

AbuseAndForgiveness said...

Hi Inamaze,

So true!

Marj aka Thriver said...

What an amazingly wonderful metaphor. Yes, I'm swimming in that ocean of pain myself these days. But, you are right: others have jumped in with me. I am grateful, too.

Hey this would be great for a blog carnival entry some time.

Hope you are doing well.

AbuseAndForgiveness said...

Thanks Marj,

I'm still doing some grief work, but it's healing. I know you've hit a rough patch too. You have my empathy!

Sometimes the waves are rougher than others, but smoother water is always on the horizon.

Take care,

Anonymous said...

Hi, Nancy -

Yes, this is so true . . . and, I'm finding the people I thought would join me haven't . . and people I would have never imagined would, have . . . and "strangers" have come out of the woodwork to swim with me . . . it is truly amazing!

- Marie (Coming Out of the Trees)

AbuseAndForgiveness said...

Hi mmaaggnnaa,

I've had that experience too - people I thought would swim with me didn't - and those I didn't consider did.

And then there are those that I desperately wanted to swim with me - my family. It took me a long time to stop pathologically trying to get them to "swim" before I gave up and just swam with those in the water.