Monday, October 23, 2017

Me too

If you spent any time on social media you've seen the #metoo.

Women, and some men, sharing their stories or at least raising their hands to be counted among

those who've been sexually assaulted.

I've heard differing opinions on whether this is actually helpful.

I don't know. But I do know that the silence wasn't helpful either.  That's not a judgment on those

who cannot share their stories, but it is a judgment on those who would silence the rest of us.

I've been assaulted twice in my life.  Once at 19 the other at 20.  I was a grown married women until

I fully realized what had been done to me. (<< My answer to critics, and I know they are out there

of why others and myself didn't/don't speak up sooner)

The first incident I didn't speak to anyone about really until just a few years ago. The guilt and shame

I carried with me for 'having put myself in a vulnerable situation' prevented me from seeing or

understanding what really happened to me.

As for my second #metoo story, that's the one I want  to talk about the most.

When you grow up in an extremely conservative environment, you're taught that what you wear

and where you go, play a major part in whether or not you're assaulted.  After all girls who dress

provocatively . . .well what can they expect??

When I was assaulted at 20 (Pushed and pinned against a wall, groped, forcibly trying to kiss me and

telling me 'you know you want to and come on') I was outside the church book store (located inside

the church building) and dressed in a long sleeve shirt and sweater vest and a skirt that basically

touched my ankles.  Predators don't care what you're wearing or not wearing.  When I told those

with the power and responsibility in the church to do anything, about the assault, I was told that I

should show him respect and if I did it wouldn't happen again.

The thing I regret the most is not taking it to his (the assailant) commanding officer (we were at

military base )so I could know for certain it wouldn't happen to someone else.

So, why am I sharing? To give courage to someone who might need it today.. .so she can stand up

and find her voice to say "Yes, Me too" or maybe she even need the courage to say "STOP".

For my daughter.

For my sons.

For The Church.  We MUST do a better job at training, preventing and supporting victims.  I think

we want so badly to think 'that would never happen here' that we look the other way or make excuses

for the abusers. Hear me church members (especially those of a conservative or independent stripe)

It doesn't matter what she's wearing or where she is. Protect her. Believe her. Make sure the women

and girls of your church know they are valued and safe.  Embolden your girls to stand up to the

abusers and bullies in their lives so they don't have to be worried about 'being nice' or 'hurting his

feelings' or 'manliness'.  It is far far past time.

My story isn't nearly as tragic as some and I'm certainly not looking for sympathy. But, I do want

to be counted among the #metoo, because we may not be a powerful force for change on our own, but

together we can and should be.

If you love a #metoo, hear her. Let her speak her story, don't run from it even if it's hard to hear.

If you're a #metoo, find the help and healing you need. Don't live in fear or isolation. Don't let it drive

you from Jesus. He is the healer of the brokenhearted, let him tend to your wounds.

You are dearly loved.

Grace and Peace,

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

You Make It Look So Easy

You make it look so easy. . .words said to me on "Graduation Sunday" this past May at our church.

My friend was encouraging me, but I felt like such a fraud when she said it.

It wasn't/isn't easy.

The exact week before that Sunday my Dear Husband was in the hospital recovering from a heart attack and subsequent stint placement.  Healthy, active, non smoking 48 year olds aren't supposed to have heart attacks.  In true Wilkinson fashion we proved that not to be true.

A week later, he was home, we were at a graduation banquet for our oldest.  Then that Sunday standing in front of the congregation as Cam and his fellow classmates were honored.

We had moved into our new home the week before as well. . .in fact, the day before the heart attack.

Chaos would best describe how we were functioning.

We hadn't realized that we were supposed to leave our washer and dryer at our old house, so that very Sunday morning as we were heading out the door to get to church, the movers showed up.
Our graduate was also a nervous wreck and was spending entirely to much time getting his hair 'just so'.

Hubby set out to church with our two youngest, while the graduate and I followed.
I'm pretty sure I screeched into the parking lot on two wheels.

We hopped out and are running across the parking  lot, when my shoe slipped off. . .like a good soldier I yelled "just go on without me". . . of course, they all waited for me.

We slipped into the pew next to our dear friends during the second song, when I whispered to her 'did we miss it'. . .no, she replied you're good.

We took a couple deep breaths to calm down and settle in, and tried to pass that along to our graduate who at his core, doesn't like to be in front of crowds, doesn't do well in chaos and almost lost his dad the week before.
We made it through the service, even though unbeknownst to me the heart patient had to lean against the stage to hold himself up.

At the end of the ceremony, my friend leaned down to me and said those words that have haunted me these past few months, "you make it look so easy".

These last three months have been anything but easy.
If I listed everything here that has gone wrong or been difficult, you wouldn't believe me.

In some ways it's almost comical.  Seriously, if it can wrong, more than likely in these past three months it has.  Including this morning, when for the 3rd time in 2 weeks our  power went out.

I would be a total and complete fraud though if I said it's been easy.

There hasn't been one easy thing about it.

There have however been blessings along the way.

Friends who've walked beside us and stepped up and helped us. Watching our sweet boy walk across the stage and get his diploma.
A family vacation that was so special and meaningful to the five of us.
Baseball games. Long walks, Long talks. Road trips with friends. Exploring our favorite places in the city.

Blessings in the chaos for sure and for certain. Knowing God was/is right here with us. . .gives us the strength to endure, but do not for a minute think it's been easy.

Why do I want you to know that? Because, I think, sometimes as Jesus Followers we screw our halo on so tight and grin our way through the pain-as if it doesn't hurt at all; we throw around Scripture and quote it out of context or to apply as bandaids to gaping wounds. . . it can make others going through their own valley either shrug us off as frauds or leave them feeling like losers because they are having a hard time coping.

{ Please don't miss understand. . .Scripture is an extreme comfort. . but saying "All things work together for good" to someone in a pit of despair isn't always the most helpful or edifying thing you can do}

So, if I've made it look easy, I'm sorry.
The reality is, I'm tired and weary and worn. I'm certain I've aged 5 years in the past 3 months.
There's been nothing easy about it.

But, I will also tell you that Jesus is very very near. Even when I'm mean as a hornet or desperate as a Housewife.  He's never left. When I've kicked and screamed like a toddler who's missed nap time, He's never let go. And He will never let go of you either.

Life is hard. And Oh so short. There's not one easy thing about it.

It may not be easy, and my strength is pretty much gone. 

Jesus though. . .He is easy. He is trustworthy. He is strong so I don't have to be. He is faithful when
mine is fraying.

Wherever  you are and whatever valley you're walking through, trust Him-He's right there with you.

He is what makes walking through it look easy-even when it's the hardest thing you've done.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Tale As Old As Time

This past Thursday my best friend and I took our daughters (14,10 respectively) to the opening of Beauty and the Beast.

Because of remarks the director had stated regarding the character, Lefou and his sexuality, many

Christians were/are calling for a boycott.

As, a family we made the choice not to participate and address any issues head on that might arise.

After all, we make this decision  about every movie we see.  We are diligent to check

 and other on line resources, to help us make our decision, and because of the information we receive

there, we either pass, or take the opportunity to talk with the kids about whatever issues might have

 cause for concern in each particular movie.

But, this time, frankly the whole thing felt contrived from both sides.

Let's be real, there's nothing a branch of Christianity loves more than a boycott.

I went in with my mom radar on high alert. Waiting for 'the scene' I would need to talk through

later with my daughter.  What I got instead was a beautiful, lovely movie.  There were no

'gay scenes'.  Nothing you would have to explain. 

Lefou is still the sidekick of Gaston who gushes and preens over him. . .just like in the original

Disney version. I always thought he was playing to type of a stereotypical gay man in the original

but, I'm pretty sure that's just a stereotypical French man. 

Lefou talks to Gaston about his relationship with women.  At one point during the Gaston song,

they embrace and Lefou says "that's too much isn't it" and they both agree.

When Gaston leads the raid with the townspeople to the castle and the fight ensues, the wardrobe

attacks three men, wrapping them in ribbons and gowns and wigs of the time period, two run away

one briefly looks into the camera and smiles. ( It remind me of the Bugs  Bunny cartoons when he

would dress in drag-although Bugs always seemed to be much more sexualized than this even

remotely was.)

Spoiler Alert:

At the end when the spell is broken and they've all returned to their human form, there is a beautiful

dance scene (think harpsichord  and very old fashioned waltzing) where everyone is moving and

twirling and exchanging partners, and one spin of the partner change meets Lefou with the man

from the wardrobe scene (dressed in the fashion for a man of the time) and nothing. . .no wink

at the camera, just the end.

Our theater cheered and clapped at the end. My Belle already has a date with her daddy to see it


We (on the Christian right) CLAMOR  for Hollywood to make family films then we when hear

something said to, let's be honest, illicit a reaction from us, we fall right into the trap. 

Without seeing it for ourselves, we dig our heels in and shout boycott from our highest hilltops.

And the world is watching.

I do believe there is a case to be made for not letting an agenda be forced upon our children and our

society. But, this isn't the movie on which to base that argument.

Be my guest and go see this lovely movie. 

Save your righteous indignation for another day. I'm sure there will be a true battle to be had, but

we will have used all our credibility up on nonsense fights like this one.

Have some popcorn and sing a long for me.

Bonjour !