Of Redemption and Rescue

Redemption: (noun)

  1. an act of redeeming or atoning for a fault or mistake, or the state of being redeemed.
  2. deliverance; rescue.
  3. Theology. deliverance from sin; salvation.
  4. atonement for guilt.
  5. repurchase, as of something sold.
  6. paying off, as of a mortgage, bond, or note.

www.dictionary.reference.com

A long time ago I had the opportunity to hear Sheila Walsh speak at a Christian women’s conference.  For those of you not familiar with Ms. Walsh, she is a singer and author, with a decidedly evangelical Christian world view, tempered with a great deal of grace and humility.  I’m not saying she is everyone’s cup of tea, and, honestly, it has been a long while since I’ve been able to “hear” her.  For a time, though, hers was a voice I could listen to and hear something of Spirit.  As charmed as her life might appear, it has not always been so.  She has struggled with depression, something she has been very open about, and has made no secret that the dramatic personality change in her father, the result of a brain aneurysm he suffered when she was a child, left deep scars in her heart and soul.

Ms. Walsh was speaking on this very subject the last time I heard her speak.  In sharing about her father’s abrupt transformation from warm, loving and funny family man to an unpredictable, sometimes violent menace, Ms. Walsh observed that she had  noticed girls fell into two general categories: princesses and tomboys.  Although she deeply envied the former, she most strongly identified with the latter.  The difference, she said, was that life’s experiences had taught the princesses they would always be cherished and there would always be someone to save them from pain and disappointment.  But for the tomboy, life’s experiences had taught them that no rescue was coming.

Abandoned.

Alone.

Afraid.

Confused.

Discarded.

Soiled.

Damaged.

Ruined.

Unlovable.

Hurting.

This is the legacy of a secret that hounded me constantly until well into adulthood.  This is the legacy that shadows me still.  And it is a question that I struggle with constantly: Is there no redemption for the child I was?  Is there no rescue for the innocent?  At what point do I stop wishing for that rescue, stop expecting?

Truthfully, I don’t think I ever will.  I have to believe in the hope of rescue.  Somehow.  If I ever give up the hope of that deliverance, everything that was good and sweet and innocent about the child I was dies.  I owe her that much at the very least.

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