Spotlight

Grace is our 28-year-old daughter. She is beautiful, dynamic, fun – spirited, a rich blessing! She and I scheduled a night out to a movie and after a great walk through Portland together we arrived at the cinema. We’d arrived just in time to see “Spotlight” — a movie on our list. 
  Spotlight is the true story of the Boston Globe Spotlight team to expose the efforts of the Catholic Church to hide, minimize, sideline the sexual abuse by priests of mostly boys in the Boston area over the past decades. The denomination had systematically paid off families and moved priests.  
As the movie began, I was not connecting to the fact that it dealt with sexual abuse. And even if it did I didn’t believe this would be a challenge for me. But then, about an hour in, there was this scene when a character passionately describes the horror he went through being groomed and abused by someone who was powerful, who was like God. As he spoke his story it was my story — although my abuser was Presbyterian clergy person. He even used the same words that I’ve used. And in a similar way the abuser was moved to another parish, rather than punished.
Sobs came from this deep place inside me, as I watched this scene. I just felt so pressed into a place. I quaked within. Even having dealt with this season of devastation yet it’s never done in some ways. It was so powerful. Grace clued in. She was present. She looked at me and asked with that look “Are you ok?” Had I needed a hand to hold she would have offered it.  
I just was so struck with the fact at how at 57 I can suddenly feel the stripping pain of abuse. I can feel 7 again.  
The power of that riveted me to the story. Then another man described how he was abused, and began to weep about the sense of confusion over same sex attraction. I have felt this as well. I found my story in the movie.  
Mark Ruffalo’s character has this great, great speech pushing for the story to be run. It was powerful for he displays the anger of those who have not experienced abuse on behalf of those of us who have. So impactful. I whispered to my heart– “You see? People are fighting for those of us hurt.”  
By this movie, as God put the spotlight on me, I was struck with the power of shame, the long term pain of abuse, and that the pathways we walk, although those paths may take 50 years, or more, are gifts. And although what was done to me was wrong, that God still is using those actions to make me grow into the man I’ve become and will become. 
Grace and I left that theater at nearly midnight and walked away discussion the power of a use, the need for authentic places to heal, and the hope given as people fight. 
I left realizing that Jesus by putting the spotlight on pain had illuminated hope. Hope in all this and that I got to experience in the healing company of Grace.  

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