There is a bond that connects many survivors of sexual abuse by clergy. I wish I could pin it down and tell you what it is. It is far more than a shared experience or knowing the depth of the anguish that comes from holding a secret as horrible as this for all these years. All I know is that the connection is instant and strong even if you have not physically met the other survivor.
When I first started looking online for information to help me sort through this mess I have had in my life, I began finding websites. Groups like SNAP, Bishop Accountability and Voice of the Faithful popped up and I began to explore links from those websites to others that not only gave me information on the vastness of this problem in the Catholic Church worldwide but provided the insight and perspective you can only get from another survivor. I started finding blogs.
I have mentioned some of the more influential blogs, at least for me, in my posts over the last 11 months. Some are everyday reads others are less frequent because they do not publish more than one or two posts per week. Posts on Off My Knees seem to be on an almost random frequency.
One of the blogs that I read is “It’s About Me“ written by Tim Fischer. Tim is from the Midwest. I have never met him in person although we have exchanged a couple of emails. I had the honor of meeting his wife Kim, a documentary film maker, at the SNAP Conference in Northern Virginia this past August. When I met her, I asked if Tim had come as well. I was a little disappointed when she told me he was not attending this year’s conference. I was disappointed because Tim’s blog helped me move out of the darkness of the secret I was holding onto. I really wanted to meet this man in person and thank him. His story has many parallels with my own and his struggle to make sense of his life and the damage done to him as a child by a Catholic priest are very similar to my own. His story is similar to lots of survivors out there who have come forward or to those who still hold on to the great, terrible secret.
Tim, through his blog, provided me with a primer on what to expect as I began my own journey. I was able to get past the first gut wrenching posts on “Off My Knees” because I was able to refer back to “It’s About Me”. Someone else had cleared the path for me. Someone had been brave enough to put it out there on line, so I could do it as well. I owe Tim Fischer.
You are wondering where I am going with this. It’s time to cut to the chase. I was checking my email last night and found an email from Tim to his distribution list. In the email, Tim told us that he has been diagnosed with colon cancer. He is scheduled for surgery at the end of the month.
I have a request for anyone who reads this blog. If you pray, please mention Tim and his family in your prayers. Ask your higher power to allow the surgeon to focus his/her knowledge, wisdom and skill to take away Tim’s pain and the cancer from his body. Ask that his wife, children and friends stay strong and focused on helping him get back on his feet, even if he is a pain in the ass while recovering, hogging the remote control and asking for stuff.
Ask for Tim to have the courage and grace to fight this and to win.
If you don’t pray, send your best wishes and good karma his way. He needs all the help we can send.
During the opening moments of the Frank Capra movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life”, you hear the voices of the people of Bedford Falls reaching heaven, praying for the main character, George Bailey. Because of those prayers, an angel named Clarence is brought up to speed on the life and good works of this man. He is told how people’s lives were changed for the better because a good man did the right thing. Heaven dispatches Clarence to help George Bailey through a serious trial that threatens his life and his family.
I would like to think that heaven answers prayers in the manner portrayed in the movie. Clarence, we have another job for you. Please help my friend Tim Fischer and his family.