One day at a time. In reality that’s all we get. As I sit listening to the birds joyfully each morning I am reminded of the newness of the day. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow has not come yet so why do those two seem so daunting at times. Faraway yesterdays were lost in a sea of trauma for me. But they were only lost at sea. It’s taken decades a lot of prayer and therapy for the memories of those yesterdays to land on the shore. Like tarnished silver I gather them up in a tender embrace. In each one I see the reflection of a quiet little girl who longed to be loved. Now she smiles back at me each time I look into the eyes of a street prostitute and ask if she wants a hygiene bag. I know behind the drug induced desperation there is a little girl once filled with wonder, hopes and dreams longing for love to be a safe shore upon which to land. Like me someone entered into her world unwelcomed and stole those dreams shattering her mirror into pieces with her soul scattered among them.
In my yard was a gloriously tall magnolia tree. It was the perfect place to hide and dream; a child’s wonderland. I would climb it’s branches to my “spot” and sit perfectly still on a large branch that fit me just right. Watching from my perch I stared down on my neighbors yard as the boys and my best friend gathered for touch football. Scurrying quickly down the branches I ran into the pack ready to play. Then “it” happened; the moment that would change my little girl world forever. The football landed in the bushes and I ran quickly to retrieve it. Within a matter of seconds he was there in the thick hedgerow with me. I remember being frozen and just staring at him in disbelief as he put his hand in my pants and touched me. I felt ashamed by the feeling my body had in response. After a minute or two he stopped grabbed the football and ran out of the hedgerow with it. I really can’t remember what I did next but I remember thinking “Why did he do that? What did I do to make him do that? I can never tell anyone.” That was the day shame became my prison and fear my enforcer. Over the course of the next six months he groomed me continually enticing me into a game of hide and seek until one day I followed him up the stairs of a secret treehouse deep in the woods where I was raped and told never to tell.
My little girl died that day or so it seemed. She came to life again thirty four years later when true Love found her and set her free. Her true love said “There has never been a moment you were not a twinkle in my eye. I have known you since before the world began and loved you through it all. Nothing you can do could ever separated you from my love and I will be with you always. I want nothing from you except your heart.” So she gave him her heart and began to live.
by Mimi Nikkel, Love's Arm Founding Director