by Peggy J Stanley

When Sherryl said the phrase about being a witness to my life, something struck a chord within me. It's like a part of me wanted to say, "Yes, yes, yes!" My little child grew up wanting someone to notice her, to pay attention to her, to care for her, wanting to yell, "Hey, look at me." "Watch this." Wanting a witness from the first baby steps, to riding a bicycle, to driving a car - a witness of the small and great accomplishments throughout life.

Not only desiring a witness of the good, but also yearning for someone to notice the abuse - to notice the hurt and pain. Silent screams from deep within a wounded spirit echoing off deaf ears. Invisible tears streaming from a broken heart exposed in front of a blind world. A downcast soul looking for someone to bear witness to the pain.

When I felt so trapped in my loneliness I got into recovery. What amazement to find people willing to listen to where I am and be OK with it. People willing to hear my pain and not try to fix it or cover it up or hurry to make it better, but instead be a witness and validate it. A cloud of witnesses to hear my story, what I've tried to silence for years because of shame and fear. My story - allowing me to own and accept the part of me which had become in my mind so detestable.

Knowing and being known is truly one of the greatest gifts to bestow upon another human being and one of the greatest honors to be entrusted with by another human being.

Thank you Debbie for allowing me to be a witness of: your pain and insecurity with being unemployed and your courage and strength to keep on keeping on through the whole ordeal; your courage to be vulnerable and expose and share you feelings; your pain and loss of not having a family.

Thank you Geneva for allowing me to be a witness of: your questions which were deep and prodding; your pain of being taken out of an abusive home and put into a home where you got lost in the shuffle.

Thank you Marie for allowing me to be a witness of: the pain of the tremendous loss of your beloved grandmother; your struggles with your relationship with Rich.

Thank you MaryAnne for allowing me to be a witness of: your pain of loss; your anger at God; your struggles with sexuality and boundaries; your courage to be honest in group; your hurt from a mother not being there for you.

Thank you Debbie, Geneva, Marie, MaryAnne, and Sherryl for giving me this precious gift. The priceless gift of knowing and being known. Thank you for being a witness of and to my life!