Ecclesiastes Chapter 3: Verses 1-7
This past week, a friend sent me an email that caused me to dust off my King James version of the Bible that had been given to me as a child in 1961. The referenced verses begin with: “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the Heaven.”
I am writing this blog one week after the launch of Kept in the Dark at Parnassus Books. I have been amazed by the love, support, encouragement and praise for my book. I have also been pleased that so many responded saying, in spite of the heartbreak, pain and crime, they ultimately viewed it as a love story. From those that sent messages of how they sat down and read the book straight through – to those that sent texts with chapter updates as they progressed – the overall response has been incredible.
I have also had friends reaching out to me sharing something in their lives that they have kept private until now. There are many wonderful professionals with the ability and training to help – I am not one of them. However, I can listen and feel compassion and for many, just having someone actually listen to their story can be cathartic. I know personally by keeping my discovery to myself, I felt consumed with questions and doubts. Once I finally said everything out loud to a friend, I was then able to step out of the tale and start to process just what it meant to me. If given the opportunity of having someone confide in you, please listen with an open heart.
This week also found me receiving a message from a childhood friend that I knew through church. She remembered her parents, along with others, going to our pastor with concerns regarding two men within the church family. Her parents warned her, along with her brothers, to report to them if they spotted the men. I was not given this warning but have to assume my parents might have been made aware of the possibility. I also realize that this was just a short period after our situation in Miami and therefore can understand if my parents wished to distanced themselves from the controversy. However, one of the men she had been warned about was the first of my three church-related abusers. I actually felt a bit of relief when she mentioned his name. I had kept this to myself since childhood and there were times I feared I might be confused and had silently been putting blame on the wrong man.
Someone else sent me on a wild-goose-chase this week by writing to me of an incident regarding my father she remembered being mentioned in the local paper. She had wondered why I had chosen not to share this tidbit in my book. She provided few details and has yet to respond to my followup questions. I was left with a queazy stomach as I frantically searched arrest records and archived newspaper articles. Ultimately, there was nothing to be found and I’ll chalk it up to a misunderstanding and hope the misdirect was not intentional.
Again, my book launch could not be thought of as anything but successful. However, is it not human nature to be grateful for the overwhelming positive response and yet, find yourself saying, “but…?” I can’t help but wonder about those few people that did not come but had been so excited about the book’s release, saying: “Couldn’t wait for the launch” – “Plan to be on the front row” – “Leaving work early to make sure I have a good seat.”
What about those people I’ve worked closely with for years helping and supporting with their charity events and fundraisers? I did not help them thinking of what I might receive in return but is it wrong for me to feel disappointment that I’ve yet to hear from them? Or what about those I consider close friends – confidants – travel companions? Do I have the right to feel let down that they did not attend something I considered to be one of the most important and personal events in my life? Am I allowed to be upset after reaching out to them and being told: “Something came up” or “It’s a long story?” Although I am expressing my honest feelings, I realize I am being petty by wanting to know – what came up? – what long story? I have decided that there is too much positive in my life to continue to dwell on the negative.
Verse 4 continues with: “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” Through this process, I have wept and I have mourned. It is now time to celebrate. I am ready to laugh and I am ready to dance.
J. Ronald M. York, author of Kept in the Dark, is also an accomplished musician and founder of York & Friends Fine Art Gallery.
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