One of the deep and shattering effects of the violence I suffered was the Imprint on my Psyche and my Soul that I was Different, I was Odd, I was a Stranger. It became more and more isolating when I entered into the school systems because even as a young child I was Conscious that I did not Fit In; I did not perceive things around me the way other children did, I did not respond to the world around me as other children did and worst of all, I NOTICED that and it made me Sick to my Stomach with Terror!
The deepest Isolation was that I was becoming more and more of a Stranger to Myself as the years of Torture and Abuse went on and on…My Persona’s began to hide from one another, and competed with one another at times. They also died for one another, and sacrificed for one another….I was a Crowd of Children Within Myself, and yet I was the most Lonely Stranger, begging the Universe, begging God, begging for a Companion, a Sibling, a Parent, any relationship that would ease this pain of Severance from Everyone that I felt.
It is certainly not an Accident that from kindergarten on I was helping “Strangers” in need. Any time I saw another child in need I was the first to run and help. I helped stray animals and helped the Earth by picking up stray garbage on the streets.
When the sister that I shared a bed with was being raped by my father, and turning comatose with anguish, I would push myself between them and tell my father that she was too tired and I would beg him to let me do it instead of her. In his evil frenzy he would push her off the bed and onto the floor and pounce on me like a Wild Animal.
You see, I did this because I could help her, this Stranger in the double bed we shared, because I could See Her, Hear her Whimpering and I could Touch her, I could Reach her..whereas I could not feel Myself, I could not Locate Me because the Array of Persona’s were always Shifting and Changing in order to Keep Me Alive. All the while I was Rushing to the Aid of Strangers, it was the Children Inside of me that needed help, but as close as they were, I could not reach them back then.
I continued to spend most of my adult life Caring for Strangers in places far from anyone Familiar to me. It was not until the brutal assault in my adult life that lead to my complete breakdown that I began to find help for the Strangers Within me. Now, after these years of inner work and inner travel, there are No More Strangers, there is only Me, and I am Unity.
The title of this post is the title of an ancient hymn that is sung on Good Friday at the end of what is called the Burial of Christ Service. I first heard it sung about 35 years ago when I went to Church on a Good Friday and it has never left me. It got seared into me, like a branding on my heart. It resonated all through me and I felt a consolation, because I realized that Christ, too, was a Stranger.
The hymn is about what was going on in the heart of Joseph of Arimathea when he asked Pilate for the Body of Jesus after the Crucifixion.
“Seeing that the sun had hidden its rays
and the veil of the Temple had been rent at the death of the Saviour
Joseph did approach Pilate and did plead with him crying and saying:
Give me this stranger, who from his youth hath wandered like a stranger.
Give me this stranger, whom his kinsmen killed in hatred like a stranger.
Give me this stranger at whom I wonder, beholding him as a guest of death.
Give me this stranger who knoweth how to take in the poor and strangers.
Give me this stranger that I may bury him in a tomb, who being a stranger hath no place whereon to lay his head.
Give me this stranger, to whom his Mother, beholding him dead, shouted crying:
‘O my Son and my God, even though my vitals be wounded, and my heart burns, as I behold thee dead, yet trusting in thy Resurrection, I magnify thee’
facing down Pilate with these words the noble one took the Saviour’s body
and in fear wrapped it in linen and sweet spices
and laid in a new tomb Him who bestows on all
eternal life and great mercy”.
Many years after I first heard that song, I heard my Soul singing it day after day, week after week, year after year, as I recovered the Strangers Within Me…the Children of My Being that Died Thousands of Deaths.
I am Joseph, Recognizing the Horror of Innocence that Murdered and I am impelled to Offer Honor and Dignity to the Remains.
I am the Mother, Trusting in the Resurrection of My Inner Selves.
I am Christ, a Lamb Murdered, Sacrificed and Buried as a Stranger.
I am Forgiveness.
I am Death and I am Resurrection and I am the Stunning, Frightening and Glorious Journey Between!
With my Utmost Love and Embrace of Everyone Who Feels Themselves to be a Stranger,
Gabriel Orion Marie