Choosing to retreat intentionally into my own everyday world is really NOT an easy decision. It is nearly excruciating for me to not act on behalf of my fractured fellows. To cease striving for a season also triggers really old feelings of being on the outside and looking in, being worthless, and insignificant.
I have for some time sought ways to communicate truths from a midlife shipwreck. I have fought the tension between enforced silence and speaking, running from ruin and writing about ruin; being and becoming in the midst of brutality.
I also live with the very real fear that if I now seek significance from an external source I am no better than the men who consumed me to relieve their own feelings of inadequacy and insufficiency.
I look at what people I admire are doing and I too also wish to do and to be admired. I look at the meaningful things that others participate in and I wish to meaningfully participate. I observe with enviable interest at their impact and I ardently want to be enviable and impactful.
But to do so is to be emotionally absent for my family, and even myself — we who have have lost so much. It is also run after the external to satisfy my own ego needs, doing so on the backs of the brutalized. You know those people — they look through you though they are meant to serve you. I would even tell myself that I am doing it for others. We have enough offenders doing that — we don’t need our advocates doing it too.
To retreat intentionally is to do what I have never done: rest, recreate, and recover. That might sound easy, but it is MUCH easier for me to do than to be. When and if I resume a life of public advocacy, I hope there will be a place for me.