By Amy Oestreicher
“Healing” has meant different things to me at various points in my life. As a child, healing took forever when I skinned my knee running around outside. As a teen, healing also meant crying on the phone to a friend when the “guy of my dreams” was taken. But “healing” took a completely new meaning – on the inside and out – when my life and world as I knew it changed forever.
When I turned 17, a mentor-figure in my life who I had known and looked up to for several years transformed into a complete stranger when he started to molest me. I went into total shock and coped by leaving my body and staying numb. This father-figure in my life who I completely trusted had broken our sacred bond in a split second, and suddenly I didn’t know who I could rely in. I kept this secret burning in my gut, hidden from my family, who didn’t recognize the numb space-cadet I had become.
I was so out of touch with my emotions that it was hard for me to face that I had been betrayed by someone who intimately inside my circle of trust. One day, I was browsing through the bookstore. Pacing through the aisles (as my way of coping and marking time) and I experimented with scanning the “Self-Improvement” aisle. I had an instinct that something within me had changed, but I wasn’t exactly sure what. It wasn’t even a reality to me that someone so close within my circle of trust could betray me in such a horrific way. I “window-shopped” each shelf, trying to look as casual as possible, when a big yellow book popped out at me: The Courage to Heal.
I was struck by those words – courage, heal. Was there something I was scared to face, that I needed to find the strength inside to really confront face to face? I involuntarily reached for the thick yellow binding – as though someone else was leading me towards this. Now I was face to face with the cover, every now and then glancing over my shoulder to make sure no one was looking. Continue Reading…