Critics and Naysayers: an Open Letter
It’s come to my attention that there are far more readers of my blog who actually know Vale and I in real life than I thought. This doesn’t concern me, I don’t hide what we’re going through because I’m ashamed, it’s just not my story to tell. Vale will reveal when he wants to whom he wants when he’s ready. However, I am becoming incrementally discouraged with the amount of criticism that is coming my way concerning my blog, the condition of my heart and the way we are choosing to treat Vale. We understand that the situation with Vale has a medical component as well as a spiritual component, and that doesn’t sit well with some folk in our life. I would suggest that that is due to a fundamental lack of understanding (on their part) and not error (on our part). Please allow me to expound:
1. Concerning this blog: I would note that this blog is not for those of you who are associated with us ‘in real life’, for lack of a better term. This blog was created for two reasons. The first reason was for myself, I needed a way to process and excise the conflicted painful feelings that were being thrown my way on a daily basis. This is a safe and effective outlet for me. It allows me to manage my anger in a productive way. Why is it productive? For the second reason I write this blog; for the other mothers out there. When we started down this path there was absolutely NOTHING out there about boys in the condition we found Vale. No moms out there were talking about self harm, sexual assault or eating disorders (although I have since found a blog about a boy with ED). Everywhere I turned there was a blog or a memoir or a website about girls with these disorders, but boys have some huge and fundamental differences in the whys and wherefores of these things. I have heard from readers time and time again tell me that they appreciate the writings that I spill here because it reassures them that they are not alone. I am open, honest and stark sometimes, because I think that maybe these other moms may be struggling in these ways too. That is why I write this blog.
2. About the condition of my heart: I would contend that this blog does not contain the sum total of my heart. I write my worst fears, nightmares and dealings here. I put the pain in here. I articulate the struggle here but that is not all of who we are or what we do. This is not a daily journal nor diary. It is a blog about a mom who has a son who was raped at a tender age and this son has since then fallen into cutting and starving himself to deal with the shame, so not every aspect of our lives is put in to this blog. So if one looks at this blog and thinks that they see the epitome of my heart they’re mistaken. I would go a step further: what is seen when one looks at us is not all of it either, we’re very good a masking the turmoil within. Why not ask me? Why not come to see me? Why not call me? Why assume that what is read (or seen) is all of what there is to get? I recognize that there was much prayer coming our way, and the effects thereof are very visible. I think that Vale has come so far in such a short amount of time can be directly linked to the time folk spent in prayer. Prayer is a powerful tool, but is it the only tool out there? Does praying alleviate any other responsibility that one would have? That’s something to consider.
I would admit that when Vale disclosed what happened and we began to deal with all the subsequent fallout, I was shattered. As I look back, do I wish I had responded differently, yes. Do I wish that I feasted on the Word or drew strength from God instead of myself, oh.. yes I do. If I had to do it over again, would I do things differently, yes, yes yes! However, I have learned so much more about God than I ever knew before. One of my biggest struggles with my faith was understanding the grace of God and that one component of His nature was made so much more clear to me in my brokenness. And as I begin this journey back to the fullness of faith I say with all confidence that I am …more than I was before. For instance, I was just reading yesterday that our English word ‘trouble’ is translated into more than 30 different Hebrew words. The fact that God uses 30+ words to describe our heartache reassures me that He understands all of my heart, and there is an endearment to Him and His Word that I have never had before. I am excited to see how this bares fruit. I hope to be like that famous style of Japanese pottery, Kintsugi. The pottery that was broken or cracked was filled in with gold making it far more precious in it’s previous state.
3. How we are treating Vale: I find it curious that no one confronts my husband about this, him being the head of the home. If it is felt we are in the wrong by utilizing medical and/or psychological means to treat Vale’s trauma, why is it brought only me? I don’t have much to say about this aspect of the criticism, we both feel that it is ignorance (meaning the lack of knowledge, not the absence of respect) that causes this discrepancy. Moreover, my husband is of the opinion that perhaps we are here to deal with this not only for Vale’s sake but for others as well, because as more people come into our acquaintance who have walked this walk, we will be a resource for them and so we were purposefully place by God in this position to help others, to carve that path for them.
I also am confused that opinions are so strongly offered when so little information is received. If one gleans all their knowledge about our family and what we’re dealing with from this blog or from the short tidbits we may exchange than they’re missing large chucks of necessary information that would be needed to form an opinion one way or another. Lastly, can it not be considered that we are praying and seeking wisdom in every step we take? We are not running headlong into one thing or the next like some wild decapitated chicken. We are doing things in a very purposeful manner. To say we are wrong is to insinuate we have thrown off all of God’s leading, how could anyone make that assumption without truly knowing?
Rebuke and correction are two very valuable assets people can offer in aiding a family in distress. But where is the edification or instruction in righteousness? Where is the comfort? I do not write this open letter out of anger or bitterness; although, the criticism in the absence of comfort is starting to become a bit of a stumbling block. God in His tremendous grace and mercy has addressed this in me and helped me dig those roots out (and yes, I am on the look out for regrowth ~ daily). I simply write this letter to ask would you mind talking to us to ensure that even the right information is had before there is critic? And if there is indeed error being made; if the rod is going to be use, then please also use the staff? Applying comfort when someone is in pain allows them to hear truth, even if it’s not pleasant. Pour the balm of Gilead liberally first, always.
But most importantly, even if none of this is addressed in us, before judgement is turned on the next family that is seen falling apart because their whole life has been turned upside down, think of this open letter and remember that with what measurement of judgement you are dealing out, the same measure is going to be meted out to you. I’ll tell you, I’ve learned that and am already trying to apply that in my life and with those I deal with, even though I have much more to learn.
Written with an incredible amount of love,