Monday, August 2, 2010

Camp Wounded-dedicated to the hurting

Camp Wounded~dedicated to the hurting
I had lived at Camp Wounded since the age of 10. At Camp Wounded, no visitors came in, and I rarely went out. Walls were erected high around the camp. If anyone knocked on the gate, sometimes I dared to open it a crack, only to slam it shut on the person’s requests to come in. I would pace Camp Wounded, replaying all the times the abuse came. I would think and cry and think and cry. I wanted so badly to leave Camp Wounded, but I didn’t know the way out. To even think of trying to explain it to another soul was heart-wrenching and nearly unthinkable, so I supposed I would live my life and eventually die at Camp Wounded.

But, one day, there was a different sounding knock at the gate. It wasn’t the loud clamoring knock; I heard when most people came. It was a quiet, beckoning knock. It was as if the one knocking knew I was inside, dying to come out. I was drawn to the gate. As I cracked the gate door just enough to hear voice of the one at the gate, he spoke. He offered me freedom from Camp Wounded, but I would need to work with him. I would need to allow him to demolish the walls erected around the camp. He was offering to come in if I accepted, yet he would not start the demolition until I agreed. I allowed the gate to stand open just a crack and then paced around the Camp. Could I really do this? Could I accept this help? It seemed foolish to trust this stranger, especially since he had only spoken a few words, yet foolish not to. What if he hurt me? What if he was just trying to get into Camp Wounded to do what had been done to me before? What if he left in the middle of his work? Abandoned again. Then what? Half demolished walls would need rebuilt. What if he uncovered the shame and guilt? This went on for two days. Pacing, questioning, crying, yelling-partly to myself, partly to the wind, and I suppose, partly to him. I would periodically return to the gate to see if he had left. Each time I returned to the gate, he was still there, patiently waiting. I don’t know what made me make the decision I chose. I suppose it was the fear of dying at Camp Wounded. I suppose I figured if I left him in and he hurt me or abandoned his work in the middle, I was no worse off. After two days of anguish, I went to the gate and opened the door. I asked him to come in. He brought nothing with him. No tools. No equipment. Just him.

“How are you going to do this without the necessary equipment?” I asked.

“Renovations of the heart take nothing but me, child,” he replied.

“What, what, the heart?” I didn’t ask you in to do anything to my heart. It’s the walls. I want the walls torn down. The walls that people built to keep me inside,” I cried and screamed in frustration.

“Child, others didn’t build these walls,” he said, “you did”.

“Me!?” I screamed. “Me? I knew it. You’re just like all the others. You want to blame me for what happened to me.” He drew a breath to speak, but I continued on. “How could I, a child the age of 5, have done that? It wasn’t my fault!” The last words echoed around the camp, bringing cries from the depths of my soul to the surface. I dropped to the ground and sobbed. I felt him near me. He wasn’t speaking. I was half expecting him to walk out. When I peered up through tears, to see where he had gone, he standing over me, crying. He knelt to the ground, squared his face with mine, and looked me in the eyes, and then he spoke.

“Child, I know it wasn’t your fault. I was there. I saw every single thing that happened. I hurt just as you did, even more. When I see a child hurting, it breaks my heart.”
His words sounded sincere, as ones that can be trusted. Then I asked him the question I had asked myself at least a hundred times before.

“Then, why didn’t you stop it?”

He responded. “Child, you’ll not understand the why, even if I try to explain it in every possible way.”

I just stood and looked at him, not knowing where we could possibly go from here. Trapped again. Could I really trust this man to start the work who could have certainly stopped the hurt, not to mention, prevented it?

“Just follow me, child. Learn more of who I am and the work I do, rather than asking why. I can be trusted to finish the work I’ve started.”

“The work you’ve started?” I questioned. “No work has been done.”

“Yes child, the most important step in the work has already been taken. You’ve allowed me to come in.”