"I give you a new commandment, says the Lord: love one another as I have loved you." — Jn 13:34
I encountered Jesus in the olive garden again today.
Jesus placed me before him and invited me to pray. But instead of praying, I drifted off to sleep and entered a dream. In my dream unfortunate events in my childhood replayed: from the age of six to sixteen, I was molested by different members of my family. At the end of every molestation scene, I saw Jesus standing there, watching.
My dream continued into my adulthood. I had closed myself off from God, from the world, and from myself. I heard Jesus calling me but I ignored him. Jesus wouldn't give up. He followed me everywhere I went. I was annoyed and decided to face him one day.
"You were there weren't you Jesus? You showed up at every scene and you saw everything that happened, yet you chose to do nothing. You just stood there and watched. Did you enjoy watching my childhood Jesus? Did you?!!! What kind of friend are you? You said you love me but why didn't you protect me? Was it fun watching it happen? Did it excite you Jesus? Explain it to me because I can’t comprehend it!!!"
Jesus said something, but I didn't bother. I continued, "Liking myself has been a great challenge because I think of myself filthy, unlovable, and unworthy of anything. I want to overcome these negative thoughts, but I’ve lived with them most of my life, I don’t know how to get rid of them."
Tears raced down my cheeks. I suddenly felt weak, my knees wobbled. I turned away from Jesus and plummeted. Yearning for a loving embrace, I wrapped my arms around my knees and rocked myself until exhaustion carried me off to sleep.
Jesus moved. He sat next to me, and put his arms around my shoulders. I started rocking again and Jesus rocked with me. His tears dropped onto my arm.
Jesus spoke softly: "I do love you very much Maddie. When those people violated you, I wasn't just there. I was in you. What they did to you, they also did to me. They molested me." Jesus was quiet for a moment then spoke again, "What hurts more is that I love those people and was also in them, so when they violated us, I felt like I was the one who hurt us, hurt you, the one I love. I'm so sorry Maddie."
I heard commotions and woke from my dream. Looking, I was terrified because Jesus was being taken away. I remained in the garden remembering Jesus’ declared love for me.
Thank you, Jesus, for loving me, for sharing in my experiences, and for taking ownership of my sins even though you didn't commit them.
Once again, you invite me to love as you have loved, but I’m not yet capable of such love. Help me to keep my focus on you and to allow your love to flow through me so that all that pains “us” can be transformed into gifts of life and love.