In the stories of Jesus’ public ministry there are accounts of people who have been healed of skin diseases which would have set them apart from their communities due to infection prevention measures codified by the Mosaic law.
In some of these stories, Jesus heals them and gives them permission to not tell people they were ever infected with these diseases.
I think this injunction was made (at least in part) to allow them to have a new life, unencumbered by prejudice.
When my family moved to a new place a few years after we found out that our adopted son had sexually assaulted some of our children, I realized that this was our chance to “start anew.”
We had pushed for legal consequences for Charles. We had a good counselor in the aftermath. We moved to protect the children. We were open with everyone in our previous community.
But we chose to continue
To tell our story.
The result has been fascinating and lonely.
There is a lot of prejudice about victims of sexual abuse and their families, maybe especially in churches.
We could be contagious?
Or maybe it is our openness that scares them.
Either way, we call it “the island.” We live on an island
An island made of truth and pain and loneliness
With a single, unwavering resident
The one who heals us.
The one who knows this quiet place.
The one who tells us the truth will set us free.
My family is healthy, happy, and stable because we have never tried to hide
The story of our grief
But it can be quiet
On the island.