This will be a rather serious post. It's been a serious kind of day. I was awakened this morning by a phone call from Beve telling me that a friend of ours was raped Saturday night. R-A-P-E-D, he spelled out to me when I said, "What did you say?" That's how unexpected it was, though how this news would ever be expected, I don't know. Anyway, I suppose you can imagine that I've been thinking about it all day long. About her. She's not the first woman I've known to have suffered this crime against her person, which is a crying shame to me as well. This young friend--in her 20s-- actually called E in the first moments after it happened, though, unfortunately, it was in 4:30am and E didn't answer her phone. Of course, there's some regret about that now, though what E could have done from our house so far away from hers, it's hard to say. Give distant comfort, yes. But her life is altered now. There are wounds that cannot be undone. And it breaks my heart that this is so.
In a few weeks, SK is directing the Vagina Monologues at Whitworth University. It's her second year of directing and third year the Monologues have been performed at Whitworth. (If you have the opportunity to see the Vagina Monologues, you should. Really. No matter what your age or gender. No matter how uncomfortable it makes you at moments. It's real and important, and makes you think. Helps you to stand up, perhaps!) I have to say that of all the things SK's been a part of theatrically during her college years, I'm most proud of this work. E and I saw it last year and were stunned by the monologues. We laughed, thought deeply and cried. A lot. At the end, SK stood and asked every woman in the room who'd been abused (emotionally, physically or sexually) to stand, and it was shocking to see the large number of girls and women who stood. Then SK asked anyone who'd known someone who'd been abused to also stand--there were far more people standing than left sitting in that theater. It killed me, it really did. There we were, a theater full of people who'd been affected by the abuse of women, either of ourselves or someone else. It's an epidemic, it really is.
And it breaks my heart. I know I'm a lucky one. Not only did I live a safe, even enchanted child-and-girlhood, but I dodged a true bullet the night a man pushed his way into our apartment and only by the grace of God and my roommate's sudden, larger than life (certainly larger than she actually was in her real life) appearance, that man high-tailed it out of there, leaving me to shake like a leaf, but completely whole and safe. Yes, I'm one of the lucky ones.
But I don't know why. That is, I don't know why God chose to protect me when He hasn't chosen to protect others, others perhaps more vulnerable than I am, certainly ones with a more torturous life story already. I don't know why He allows the suffering of some in such great degree, and keeps others so completely safe from such horrific pain that goes on and on, and takes a lifetime to recover from. I rarely have the urge to ask God "why me?" but this situation, like so many others in my life, cause me to stop and ask, "Why not me?" and "Why her?"
And when I ask that question, there are two kinds of answers. Well, one isn't an answer at all, but the silence I've learned to expect from the great Mystery that is the God we serve. Until I can say I've created the heavens and the earth, until I've given breath to every living creature on that earth, (which, of course, is as far beyond my puny self as the edge of the universe is beyond the view of my naked eye--or even farther, but I couldn't think of anything farther than that) I have no way, no ability, and no right to understand why God does what He does and allows what He allows. He is who He is, and that is it. He is who He is. His answer to the hardest of all questions. He is who He is, and who He is is far beyond my reckoning, but also--and this is the salient point for our friend, though the pain within her is too deep and cruel to hear it today--as close as a beating heart. When our friend was awakened from a dead sleep to a man not merely in the room but on her, God was also there. Aching as much as I'm aching now. As much as every woman hurts to hear this. I believe this.
And I believe that my safe, good life means I have a responsibility to be comfort for the hurting. To love those who feel dirty and unlovable because another human has so violated her. We each have that responsibility--to care for those He puts in our lives to care for. Even when, or especially when, it breaks our hearts.