courts & unicorns

original art by Katie Holzmann (edited by A.Chevalier)

What a strange sundae of topics we have today, just looking at the title.

Here goes nothing.

Early this morning, I found myself in the county courthouse. I’ve been summoned to serve in a jury (upon penalty of jail-time, and not allowed to leave until dismissed – take that as you will). I realize they probably do it at random, picking from all those registered to vote (yet another reason why I don’t think I’ll be registering ever again).


Out of all people.

They call in me.

I wondered what I would do, knowing it to be a criminal case, if this turns out to be an abuse case. What if it was a child abuse case? What if it’s a marital or familial abuse case? Will I cry? Will I have a panic attack? Who knows. Who cares. It was upsetting and PTSD-aggravating enough as it is, even if we were dismissed early. Here’s hoping justice was served but not holding my breath.

We spent the whole time in this waiting room before they dismissed us. Some dressed up, though others (like me) dressed more casually. Yup; I actually got out my geekiest tee to wear with sneakers and a hoodie as a small means of expressing how little I think of The System. I even put my crucifix back on, hoping they’ll find it offensive, and send me home to hate them in peace (“them” being The System and not necessarily the people who just happen to work for it). My one comfort in all this is that I’m not alone in my (putting it very lightly) discomfort about being here. One gentleman kept shaking his head impatiently, while one of the younger jurors among us quipped, “This is like detention,” (haha #preach).

For a while, I thought of just what I’d like to say to the judge, none of which is pretty. I thought of just working on the blog (like I was, and am), and when I was called, slip on a sunny smile and say, “Oh hey! Sorry; I was just working on my blog on abuse, and how The System screws over victims. How can I help you?

…I’m kind of hoping I do cry, if I have any tears left from yesterday’s meltdown. I wanted to when the silly video on “why you shouldn’t complain about being a juror” turned on. I spent most of the time with my head down, waiting for it to be over. I was almost brought to tears when the video talks about the questions they will be asking prospective jurors, the example being “have you ever been a victim of [this] crime?” and “has that experience left you with any bias or prejudice against the Commonwealth?” If that doesn’t just wrap it all up in a burrito of badness, I don’t know what does. (That’s the second food analogy I’ve made – am I hungry?)

The one thing about it that made me momentarily change my mind about all this was when the actor juror said he wanted to take this service seriously because, if he were ever in court, he would want jurors who likewise took it seriously. My faith in humanity being at an all-time low, I doubt that, even on the crazy notion that any of my abuse cases got further than the police, anyone actually would do that for me. All the same, it did give me pause.

…But enough hating on The System. Plenty of time for that later (and besides, it’s making my stomach turn).

I pulled a book from my shelf, one I’ve been pulling out often as of late: When Faith Feels Fragile. I might’ve referred to it in the past, and probably will still refer to it in the future. As I said in my Library of resources, I’d recommend this to any Catholic (not just “the weak, wary, and wandering”), as well as the curious non-Catholic. It’s a bit of a breath of fresh air compared to other books for times like these.

There was a bit I wanted to share from the book in the very beginning; Fr. Hurd addresses common reasons for one’s faith to break, and this is very much mine.

“Pain can weaken faith, too. Without exception, life beats us up. Hearts get broken; dreams are shattered.”… “We experience such things, or see their impact on those close to us, and our faith’s foundations can be shaken.”
“It could be that Church members haven’t exactly manifested the love of Christ to us.”… “Many have experienced Church as hypocritical, cold, uncaring, untrustworthy, boring, or more concerned with money or rules than matters of the Spirit.
When Faith Fells Fragile, pg. 5

I outlined this whole bit in my copy (though clipped the two paragraphs for relevance and legibility), as it words so intimately how I feel towards The Church…and I guess The System…and humanity in general.

The Church and her members have largely failed me, just as The System and humanity in general has failed me. I sobbed to God yesterday about this. I confronted Him with all that was taken from me, all I’ve lost (or again, never had): my virginity (at 5), loving non-abusive parents, friends, father-figures, my son, any semblance of justice or reparation, and much, much more. I tried so hard to tell myself it doesn’t matter if anyone loves or helps me, so long as I still love and help. “If you want the world to change, be the change”, or so it’s said. I tried. I tried to be those good things (love, healing, purity, etc.) when I know the very dirty truth. People always tell me how “pure” and “holy” I am when I really, really, really, really, really am not. I’m convinced now that I must’ve been born bad or something, like my Shinto ancestors might’ve believed (some people are born with very good luck or very bad luck, they thought) – it’s the only way this makes sense.

It’s funny…it brings to mind The Last Unicorn (the movie, at least), when Molly meets the Unicorn.

Her first question for her was “Where have you been?” She curses her, screams at her, to which the Unicorn responds with a gentle confusion, “I’m here now.” Molly laughed, that kind of laugh one makes when one wants to cry instead. “And where were you 20 years ago, 10 years ago? Where were you when I was new? When I was one of those innocent young maidens who you’d always come to. How dare you. How DARE you come to me now? When I am this?” That’s when she broke, crying as the Unicorn silently comforted her.

This scene always made me feel bad inside, even when I was too young to understand, memories of abuse securely repressed. Back then, it was because Molly was so angry. Now, it’s why she was so angry.

I wonder if, since Unicorns symbolize purity and goodness (a symbol for Christ even), Molly took the Unicorn’s absence as a sign that she wasn’t pure, and so found herself saddled with the likes of Captain Cully and his thugs in her midlife. She did say, upon being told this was the last unicorn, “It would be the last unicorn in the world if it came to Molly Grue.” It was mighty big of her, I think, to forgive the Unicorn and her kind. I don’t know if I can hope to forgive God, or The Church, or The System, or humanity. Maybe ever.

In The Last Unicorn, most people in the world wouldn’t recognize a unicorn if they saw one, seeing instead a regular, albeit very beautiful, white horse. As I told God yesterday as I poured my heart out in a destructive flood, I don’t recognize Him anymore. He’s a stranger. I don’t know Him.

Part of me thinks this unfair of me to think/feel, as it’s just His Church and His humans, both of which can choose to act independently of Him and His will, that’s making me feel this way. I just don’t know how else to think, looking at all the bad that’s happened. I can’t make sense of it. I can’t. I just can’t. How can I? How can I hope to understand a Loving God? How can I understand a love that lasts when love was always taken from me (or never there to begin with)? How can I understand those good, Godly things when I never had the chance to truly know what that meant?

I had the thought once or twice that maybe He wanted to make me more able to relate with Jesus. The courts failed Him, as did the jewish church (right after welcoming Him with palm branches and hosannas, btw), and even His own church: His first Pope, Peter, denied Him three times to save his own ass, His friend and apostle (maybe equatable to a Cardinal?) Judas sold Him for 30 pieces of silver, and everyone except those faithful few bailed when the water got hot.

Maybe He hopes that I can be Jesus’ close friend. But well…that’s kind of manipulative, isn’t it, to have all this bad stuff happen to someone in hopes to make her like you? So you can be her Savior? People would say that God allows bad things to happen to make us need Him; is God, then, an abuser? A narcissist? Is He that desperate for love as to allow all the worst things to happen so someone might develop Stockholm Syndrome for Him?

That doesn’t make sense, does it, if I’m to believe that God is one of Love?

Of course not.

When some say, “I don’t believe in God,” a little calm discussion soon reveals that they really mean, “I don’t believe God loves us.” How can we, when this kind of nonsense is what we’re told when bad happens? Something like “God has a plan,” or “God wants you to draw closer to Him in your sufferings,” or “God is testing you to make you a better person,” or worst of all, like Job’s friends, “You must’ve done something bad to deserve it.” At this point, that last one seems to be the one that makes the most sense in relation to all I’ve lived and was told, if not for everyone at least for me.

But God said, Jesus said, in so many words that He is close to “the brokenhearted”, the abandoned, the poor, and the unwanted. One of the four sins “that cry to heaven for vengeance” in the Bible and Catholic Catechism is to do wrong to such people, specified as “the orphan and the widow” (Exodus 22:20), “the foreigner and the poor” (Zechariah 7:10). If that’s true, those things I always hear can’t also be true, can it?

…I don’t know.

I don’t know what to believe right now. My faith feels more broken than fragile. Still…I dunno. If it is what it is, than that’s what it is. Cold fact, like gravity. I know God as a fact. But who He is? No clue.

Maybe He’ll show me. Maybe He’ll send me a “Unicorn”, someone who expresses to me who He really is.

Maybe He already has, and I just didn’t realize it.


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