I have been in therapy for over 20 years now. I almost slugged a therapist who told me I needed to "forgive" my abuser back in 99. Four years ago, when my preacher asked if I would step forward as a deacon candidate, I initially said no. He pressed me for a reason why. I told him about my journey in CSA. He told me my journey, was not a negative, it gave our small church a knowledge base that he could not provide. When my candidacy went before the congregation I told them of the abuse in broad strokes. I received nothing but love and support.

I recently made the "mistake" of telling my preacher, I wish I came forward in 74 instead of 88, and I felt responsible for every single one of Thomas's subsequent victims. If I only had the courage to stand up and speak. My preacher told me my therapist had been correct in 1999, that I needed to forgive Thomas, not for him but for me. He went one step further by telling me I needed to forgive one other person, myself. I asked him forgive myself for WHAT! He replied feeling guilty about surviving. He told me I was a good man, if wasn't I would not be hurting so badly for the other victims (I hate that word). He reminded me evil existed long before I entered this mortal coil, and will survive my eventual departure from it.

How do I forgive the man who sold me as a whore, to so many? What kind of hypocrite am I? My head knows my preacher is right, but my heart... It is the longest sixteen inches in creation, the distance from the head to the heart.

"There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind" C.S. Lewis