Gratitude Even After Abuse

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I’m feeling filled with gratitude today. When I first woke up I thought I would write a post on the Freeh report and my raging emotions surrounding the men who allowed Sandusky to continue abusing young boys. My heart breaks for the victims who would have been spared if he was stopped sooner.

As my day unfolded I kept coming back to this strong feeling of gratitude. Maybe there’s a connection or maybe today just isn’t the day to write a rational post about the latest findings at Penn State. I’m not sure, so I decided to share a bit of gratitude with my readers and see where it leads.

This past week I spent four wonderful days at the beach with my high school girlfriends. One of the conversations we had this week was about seeing the glass half full vs. half empty and the difference that makes in our lives.

My past, a childhood of sexual abuse and years in therapy as an adult healing the scars left behind, could be reason to see my glass as half empty. My glass isn’t half empty. I don’t even see it as half full. It is overflowing.

Yes, overflowing. Everyone has a burden to bear in their lifetime, some heavier than others. I was not left to bear my burden alone. I married a man who was willing to put our life aside to support me and walk every step of my healing journey by my side.  I found a therapist that was a perfect match. She was devoted to guiding me through that dark tunnel into light. My true friends learned how to listen, respond and accept the difficult concept of repressed memories, never turning their backs on me.  My children suffered with me and in their own way as secondary victims yet emerged as strong, sensitive, loving adults who make my heart swell with pride.

My story could have been different. I could have turned to drugs or alcohol like so many victims of sexual abuse. My husband could have left me rather than give up seven years of our lives to help me face my demons and heal. My friends could have turned away in disbelief. My children could have let this destroy their lives.

I will never take for granted the love and support that I have and have had through my healing journey. For that I am grateful and yes, my glass is overflowing.

If you have a cross to bear, a burden to carry, a tragedy to live through, you are not alone. You do not have to live the rest of your life feeling your glass is half empty. Try to focus on those people and circumstances that helped you survive. Spend time each day reflecting on the people or things, no matter how small they are, that make you smile or feel loved. Visualize putting each one in a glass and keep adding to them until your glass is half full.

I pray for Sandusky’s victims, that someday they will look at their lives and be able to see a glass that is half full.  Roberta

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