Saturday, August 9, 2014

Staying Safe and Sane

I live in a community that has an intense love of fireworks, which has never made sense to me because of the dryness of our natural environment.  Most cities have outlawed all fireworks except those deemed "safe and sane," which is a term designated for fireworks that do not fly or explode.  In spite of law enforcement's efforts, however, many unsafe and insane fireworks are regularly displayed around major holidays in my community.  Sometimes neighborhoods look like war zones because of this intense love of things that go boom in the night.

For a family living with the fallout of exposed pedophilia, staying safe and sane becomes a challenge.  Sometimes it feels like we are winning the effort and at other times it feels like we might as well surrender because we have already lost the war.  The collateral damage from the arrest and incarceration of a fmamily member is huge, especially when the crimes were committed against children.  Safety and sanity feel illusionary--like the desert mirage promising a respite from the heat and unquenchable thirst.

We crave validation and affirmation but are afraid to risk telling another our "secrets" for fear that we will be judged guilty by association.

Our sense of personal safety was destroyed when a family member became involved with the criminal justice system.  As all victims of trauma do, we seek to re-establish saety but since we are distrustful and suspicious, it is challenging.

We crave the ability to live productively in the world but constantly fear repercussions and exposure.  Will our employment be threatened if we tell our story?  Will we come under criminal investigation simply because we lived in proximity to the criminal?  Will we be seen as damaged goods by friends and potential romantic partners?

We want to become crusaders for children's safety but instead we guard our privacy, isolate and hide.  It is risky to identify with this form of social leprosy, it is very risky and we know it from our personal experience.

So we struggle for truth, authenticity and transparency from a place of safety.  Staying in that safe place requires every bit of faith, hope and sheer grit that we can muster up.  the boundaries of our safe place keep changing so we must shift and change with it.

We long for stability and security in a world that has become quite unstable and chaotic.  We flinch when we hear a loud noise or see a police cruiser because these are no longer symbols of help and safety.

We don't like things that go boom in the night and we don't enjoy life explosions.  We have lived through enough of those to satisfy us for a lifetime.  And really there is nothing sane or safe about holding even the "safest" firework in one's hand--sparklers are estimated to burn at 2,000 degrees--hot enough to cause significant damage to the human body.  And there certainly is nothing sane or safe about pedophilia--even for the innocent parties, which include the predator's family members.

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