And There Are Windmills
Tim Barrus
112

I am so grateful that you and the boys have one another, Tim. Having worked with sexually abused children birth to 10 years of age, although rather more tangentially than you, I “got” your work immediately. I never understand people who don’t, except as I understand denial. And sometimes as I understand lack of empathy. Or abject fear.

The work you do takes and not just in obvious ways. One can no longer be willfully blind or innocent. Life is real. There are things I once wished I could unlearn until I realized that living life fully is the only way one can truly live.

I couldn’t do the work for as long as I wanted. It made me literally physically ill, caused my Lupus to flare. The babies and children didn’t make me sick. Their offending mom’s, dad’s, uncles, aunts and pastors did as did those who hid the kids’ stories for fear they might scare people. What the offenders did to these tiniest, hearing the lies they told the children, the lies they told themselves: had I been not been armed with the knowledge of what my reaction could do to the child…let’s just say it is tough watching little souls die.

Knowing you and most of your boys are cursed with chronic illness and injury, I can’t help but feel wonder and admiration for the art you all create. It redeems. I think of you as an avenging angel. Reading this has reinforced that very unsentimental belief.

I am shaking angry that these predators snuck in to your world, especially here. It happens too often everywhere. I’m very impressed with how you and the boys are handling it.

After I stopped working with the tiny ones and recovered, I began training people who worked with kids in the Episcopal Church to recognize signs children often show when they are abused, how to recognize and report abusers. I quickly learned that most families, tragically, are touched by this. Most hide in shame which always allows abuse to continue and damages the child further.

Thank you for never hiding and for not allowing the boys to hide. That’s love. Thank you for catching and calling out this monster and his buddies, for talking things through with Alto who handled it all so well. Thank you especially for helping the boys process this. I know you and they will process it again and again. While I agree that this person is troubled and scared, right now I’m just really angry. Anger is something I learned from someone like you to use to move me forward rather than to self-destruct or destroy.

I feel in community with you and your boys. Medium appeared in my life at a lucky time for me. I have found joy in what I’ve seen your boys create this past year. Collectively I feel them peeking out of that black hole, at times. I only wish I could create art so raw, real and beautiful as they.

I believe that redemption is taking the crap life hands us, facing it wholly and making something beautiful of it. It is a calling most reject because it requires such consistent and scrupulously honest introspection. I hope the boys will keep listening, learning and expressing because that’s hope. No one has a right to take hope from us yet someone or some circumstance always does…or tries to.

Maybe the highest calling we each have is to so ground ourselves in the hope of redemption that we forgive ourselves and unconditionally love ourselves no matter what happens. It only takes a lifetime and some help from an infuriating, avenging angel who just keeps on.

Thanks for keeping on.

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