All of my life, I have carried rhetorical questions around on my shoulders like a yoke:
Why did my parents resent that I was not a boy and repeatedly set me up for shame and rejection when I was young?
Why was I born with bipolar disorder?
Why did my husband not love me?
Why have I not been able to support myself with my God-given talents?
Why was I not appreciated by my co-workers and managers during my 22-year career and forced to retire in disgrace?
I now know why.
Had I not been raised with neglect and abuse, I would not have learned to watch the signs and I would not have needed the kind of spiritual healing that has enabled me to release wounds, scars, and resentments and be open to God.
Had I not suffered with mental illness, I would not have the patience and understanding I now have for others who suffer in such a way…nor would I have an appreciation for the gifts of such an illness.
Had I not been left to raise two babies on my own, I would not be as strong as I am now or as compassionate toward other single mothers. Had I remained married, I would probably not have sought reconciliation with God. Had I built the dream we shared, I would be selling a business now, not living alone, writing, praying, blessing, and consoling others.
Had I been successful selling my photography, paintings, and writing, I would not have had to sell my home and move into a 60-year-old house trailer and be able to see life on ground level with other people who struggle day in and day out, figuring out ways to buy gas and feed the animals.
Had I been supported and encouraged by others in my career, I would probably hold a high level government position now…not doing ‘God work’ and helping others figure out how to tell the truth about climate change and to serve the poor and needy when and if the bureaucracy is destroyed.
I know what it is like to be abused and neglected…and to abuse and neglect. I know what it is like to look back on my life with guilt and horror. I know what it is like to be lost, confused, and full of anger, doubt, and resentment. I know what it is like to fail. I know what it is like to look to God and imagine Him turning His back…looking remarkably like someone else I knew when I was a child. I know what it is like to want to die by my own hand.
I know what it is like…to live this life…
…and that is why.