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A White Room of Peace

I know I have talked about this man, Joe Secrist, for two years now. And finally, his book is releasing June 5. You will be amazed how Joe became a blind, skydiving, driving, EMT, martial arts champion, triathlon. Read about his many years of abuse, sexual abuse, and the challenge to find his purpose. Joe is a great inspiration for us all. The book will be available in kindle, print, and audible. You can pre-order the kindle for .99 before release day here

Read the chapter 1 here:

Life was good, until it wasn’t

If someone were to ask me what color safe looks like, I would say, ‘white.’ A white room filled with happy memories and imaginary thoughts. Occasionally, I might be in there with someone who gives me pleasure without wanting something in return. But there’s also another side of white—lonely. And I have found that in my life, to be safe, I must also be lonely.

They say having knowledge will keep you safe. But sometimes not knowing isn’t such a bad thing. That’s when adaption comes into our lives. What we can’t change, we must adapt to.

Adapting for me meant accepting I was different. Not different in a good way, but different in a sad and lonely way. Ways that kept me separate, when all I wanted was to fit in. To be a part of. To be loved. To have a birthday party.

Many times in my life when I should have been helped, I was treated as a Guinea pig, a slave, a tool. But for me, adapting turned into accepting. At the age of four, I don’t think we have that cognitive thinking to rationalize when someone, who we are to trust, hurts us. A parent, a doctor, a sister or brother, or a teacher. Who do you run to? Where do you run to? The White Room of Peace.

I remember a time I didn’t need the white room of peace. I was four years old and had the sidewalk all to myself as I rode my tricycle outside a café my mother would visit summer mornings. I felt special back then. I had my mother all to myself while my brothers were still in school. Until I came crashing into the trash cans, causing a ruckus and the patrons from the café would come running out.

“How could you not see those trash cans?” they would say. But to me, this was normal. Yes, I had worn glasses since the age of one and thought this was how all kids see. I never knew any different. I didn’t know I was blind.

I was born with an abnormality called coloboma. Colobomas are missing pieces of tissue in structures that form the eye. Basically, I’m missing pieces in the back of my eyes that carry information from the eyes to the brain. Not only was I born with coloboma, my eyes were then diseased with cataracts which led to glaucoma so severe with pain in my left eye it had to be removed when I was in junior high.

Looking back, that was the least of my pain. To be born with a condition was something I could not change. That I can accept. It was the hand of abuse, time after time, putting me in circumstances that even a rock and a hard place would have been more inviting. Those were the times that I would close my eyes and walk into my white room of peace.

Besides from being born with coloboma, my life started out normal—happy I thought. My family was looked up to in our community. My father ran his own business and coached baseball. My mother was a stay at home mom. Most childhood memories were hanging out summer nights at the ball diamond in our hometown, my mother working the concessions. I remember Halloween nights with laundry baskets full of popcorn balls for the trick or treaters, where all the kids would run to. Christmas mornings, running down the stairs to find presents under the tree. All of that was long before forced to eat in the basement, sent away and then later…sexually abused by those I was to trust.

In life, people look for their happy place. I was looking for my safe place. But even where I was to feel safe, I was abused. Abused by the ones we are to love and obey and respect. The ones who are to love us. But love wasn’t there for me, and even at the age of seven, I knew what was being done to me wasn’t right, but I learned to accept it.

When I was young, church was a very scary place for me. I was told time after time, that I was bad, not good enough. The pictures of Jesus, looking down at me from the pulpit, I knew he wanted to strike me down. My parents sat in the pew next to me with their fake smiles and pretend-happy-family. I wasn’t the child they bragged about. The child who got all the good grades. The child who made Dad proud at the ball diamond. I was the child who ate in the basement.

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