When I Stood Alone: A Poem
Shattered girl finds hope
As a very small child, I experienced a devastating trauma that would disappear from memory until my mid-forties. The trauma profoundly, and negatively influenced and affected the way I felt, behaved, and saw myself and the world, despite the fact that I blocked the event for decades. My mother said I was just a sober child when people commented that I looked sad. Of my two sisters and I, I was considered the fragile, sensitive one. It was thought that that was just my makeup - I was born that way. Perhaps to a certain extent, I was, but as I look back on my life, I realize that the periodic melancholy that came over and relentlessly pursued me throughout my life, was a result of that early childhood trauma.
I am happy to say I enjoyed lots of laughter and fun in my life as well. Though we had typical family problems and a few untypical ones, there was also laughter. My dad was hilarious, my mom could be quite funny, and I found myself unconsciously emulating my dad's humor. My sisters also could really be a hoot. It was infectious, really. Once dad or mom started, it caught on. Sometimes we girls would start the ball rolling. My dad's extended family were all hilarious people, despite their brokenness. My mother's family were very cheerful, fun, and extremely loving. Each side of the family was very different, but there was lots of love and laughter on both sides.
The saving grace of my life was having been taught that God loved me unconditionally. My maternal grandmother was a Christian Scientist. I don't hold to, agree with, or in anyway follow their teachings; however, one thing I learned from Christian Scientists was the love of God for me. It became instinctual to talk to God quietly in my mind and heart throughout the day throughout my childhood. I couldn't get enough of the Bible stories I heard in Sunday school and on my grandmother's lap. The teachings of my grandmother's religion brought a lot of confusion to me. So I enjoyed immensely Bible stories and tried to ignore the theological nonsense. When I was twenty-three years old, I found Jesus was the Savior who, though I didn't know Him by name as a child, held me together, loved me, and pursued me. I just knew Him as God the Father. In 1979, I learned who Christ was and took Him into my heart.
Sitting on a grassy sand dune
This poem is based on a little painting I found many years ago at a yard sale, just when the memories of my trauma began to invade my life. When I saw the picture, I was transported to being that lonely, sad little girl - little Lori. The painting shows a small child sitting on a grassy sand dune watching the ocean. When I saw it I began to weep. That little girl was me, so many years ago; a retreating moment where I tried to process the unidentifiable anguish, abandonment, and fear of life I felt. When I look at this little girl, I know that is me, communing with God on that dune; He, filling the void of loneliness that overtook me sometimes. I felt His love.
In the painting, the little girl's hair is blond. One day I decided to draw the same picture, but gave the little girl red hair, as that was the color of my hair in my early childhood. You can only see her from behind. You cannot see her little face. After I drew a very good copy of that painting with red hair, I copied it and sent it to my mother. She said she gasped when she saw it. "That was my little girl. You looked exactly like that. It is so much your personality as a child." She wept too.
When I Stood Alone
When I stood alone
as a child on the shore,
I watched the ocean crashing,
like the fear that dashed me sore.
Waves battered the rocky crags,
Pain buffeted my soul,
carving jagged edges,
into a life that once was whole.
I began to wonder,
Would life ever shine for me?
Would my heart ever know acceptance?
A life unfettered and free?
Would hope ever glimmer?
Would I ever know delight?
Would I ever kiss with wonder?
Would darkness ever turn to light?
When I walked alone
as a child on hot sand,
I knew the burn of trauma,
grains of sorrow to withstand.
Searing pain of delicate youth,
scorching marrow and bone,
a precious childhood blistered,
febrile and alone.
I began to wonder,
Would life ever feel like home?
Would I ever taste the fruit of trust?
Could laughter replace this groan?
Would I ever know the sacredness
of lilies in a field?
Or blowing on a dandelion,
with glee unconcealed.
When I sat alone,
as a child on grassy dune,
the wind blew through my tresses,
and caressed my spirit through.
It ushered in the breeze of hope,
the whispering of a promise,
of healing and refreshment,
of love eternal and flawless.
I began to wonder,
Is this a love that I can trust?.
And will it last forever?
Or will it turn to dust?
Is this a hope that will endure?
Or is it teasing fare?
I want to believe it's more than a dream,
That God will always care.
When I stood alone,
as a child wading shallow,
I felt the Lord drawing near,
A Rescuer to hallow.
His arms outstretched, He beckoned me,
I ran to His embrace,
I heard his heart beating love,
I'd found my resting place.
God's comfort is available to you in your suffering
Have you suffered trauma in your life? Have you or are you struggling through deep grief and loss of a dear loved one? Has tragedy, hardship, or trials buffeted you? Do you feel abandoned and alone?
Know this: You are never alone! God is right there beside you. He will walk you through this if you only turn to Him. He is there in your heartache. He knows what heartache is first hand, as in Isaiah 53 we learn that Christ was "A man of sorrows, acquainted with grief" (vs. 3), and that is why He can and will be your greatest comfort and strength. In 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 we read, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God."
With all the love and comfort God gives us, we are then empowered and able to go out and comfort others. We spread what we've received. I hope I've done just that through this poem and article.
© 2014 Lori Colbo