Witness


detail of textile, pigment on wool flannel
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A few days ago I was honored to sit with three women I respect and feel safe with.

Safety is the key word as I knew without a doubt they would keep a confidence and not judge me.

The woman I call my ‘teacher’ is wise beyond knowing and has shepherded me through many hills and valleys.

Her recent request that I choose two women to witness a disclosure on my part challenged me.

Who DO I feel safe enough to invite to sit with me as I say aloud something I feel deep shame about?

My task was to make public something I had kept hidden for so long that I really did think I had forgotten.

And yet.. it still had me.

Had me in a stranglehold choking off life that wanted to come in.

And my teacher knew that unless I unveiled the secret I could never be free.

And so she asked me to speak it.

And let the three other women in the room help me hold it from that day forward.

The time leading up to our congregation was charged with release for me.

I found myself afraid to speak the thing and tearful at the thought of being so exposed after 20 years of hiding.

What would it be like to tell the truth?

It doesn’t really matter what the subject of my shame was.

We all have something wrapped tight and hidden in some secret corner, it seems.

The thing is, when I finally spoke the words; sent them out into the light of day,

The weight of them was far less than my private stronghold.

After my companions witnessing my admission, the core of it was still with me.

But all the charge was gone.

Gone.

Gone.

And I was free.

I look different now.

My skin is a little more pinked.

And where all that shame was is now ready to hold something else altogether.

And I trust it will come in it’s own time.

But I won’t hurry it as this space feels awfully fine.

Very fine, indeed.

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