A Sacred Act of Compassionate Witnessing

The leaves are turning in Georgia; my favorite season has arrived.  And for me, the arrival of fall evokes fond memories of the beauty of Park Slope, Brooklyn, where I grew up. I drove to work yesterday with my car windows down, enjoying the absence of humidity in the air, and my mind wandered into memories of playing stick ball in the street with the boys in the neighborhood, to going trick-or-treating with them, to walking back and forth to Adele’s Club and to school – St. Saviour’s on Sixth Street – and then my thoughts settled on the beauty of St. Saviour’s Church, where I went to daily Mass, and where often, I felt more at home than in my home.

This morning my thoughts returned to Park Slope, to St. Saviour’s Church, to the house I grew up in, and to the last time I was there. I was with Emmanuelle, my agent, and it was just before she would be pitching my book to publishers. We had been to St. Saviour Church, where she had arranged for me to be filmed for a short video, and we had walked around Park Slope a bit, until I was ready for the solemn experience of showing her THE HOUSE. We stood directly across the street from it. I pointed out what rooms were behind which windows, where the entrance to the basement was, the architectural features of the attic. She knew very well what happened in those rooms, and I knew very well how committed she was to me, to the publication of my memoir, and to the plight of abuse survivors everywhere. We stood in silence for a few moments and then she took a deep breath and smiled, “OK,” she said. “I’m ready now.”

Looking back, I notice that there is a sweetness now embedded in my memories of that house. Her sacred act of compassionate witnessing created a healing balm that will be with me forever. Thank you, Emmanuelle Morgen. Have a beautiful day!

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