Holding On: The Scars of the Battlefield
This reflection is a long time coming. I’ve been reading the personal reflections of other PITT soldiers and I finally have a whiff of energy to write my own. I’ve been nursing these wounds for a very long time, holding on, holding on. It’s time to let the sepsis drain. And yet, strangely, I don’t want to. It’s part of me. It’s part of my heart. And I don’t want my heart to drain with it.
I’m standing on a scarred, cratered battlefield. There’s a haze in the air that makes it hard to breath. The mud is clinging to my boots, making it hard to move. My battle armour is falling apart. I desperately hold it to myself. Holding on. Holding on.
This battle-scarred landscape is my family. A place that was once a sanctuary. An Eden. A place of nurture, growth, love, faith and transformation. Love is still here. It’s holding my armour together. Faith is still here. It’s holding my body upright. But my armour is falling apart. It is riddled with bullet holes.
The first bullet holes came when I dared to stand up to the effects of alcoholism that had infiltrated the sanctuary, our family. I grieved for two years. My identity changed – I became a single mum.
The next round of bullet holes came when my oldest son fell into the trap of gender ideology – a trap he embraced. He is gone. My son is gone. I don’t know where he is. I don’t know how he is. My child who I nursed through sickness. My child who struggled with life’s hurdles. My child who grew up and turned on me with the dark in his eyes.
“You Christian bigot!” The bullet pierced.
“You f…ing transphobe.” Another bullet.
“If you really loved me, you would accept me for who I am.” And another.
“I have always felt this way.” And another.
I told him I love him. He scoffed. Another.
I told him that if he doesn’t feel comfortable staying here anymore, maybe it’s time to go our separate ways and that I would support him and still love him, always. He told everyone I kicked him out of the house. Another bullet.
My mum reached out to him, sharing her own grief, “Where is my grandson! I miss him.” He replied, “F...k off you f….g transphobic c….t”. Both my mum and I got wounded that day.
I have heard that he has been living in an unhealthy group environment. I have heard that he has been in and out of hospital. I have heard that he is struggling financially. I have heard that he is selling his chemically enhanced “female” body on OnlyFans. I have heard that he has anorexia. I have heard that he is bouncing between many different relationships. Another bullet. A mother’s dream lost. A bright, intelligent young man with the world at his feet. He chased a rainbow and he is now gone.
He shared his coming out with my autistic daughter. She said, “Me too.” That bullet ripped into my soul.
Her psychiatrist barely acknowledges my presence and looks at me with disdain. Another bullet.
Her NDIS team skirt around this “fundamentalist mother” who won’t get with the program. Another.
Her friends and her support workers call her by her preferred name and pronouns. I stand on the edges, using a name that is alien to her. Another.
I sit with her in the dark at night when she cries. She knows she is different. She is filled with anxiety about being different. She hates her autism. I hold her. I hug her. I sit up with her through the night. I listen in the dark. I tell her I love her. Her vacant stare looks over my shoulder, staring at the rainbow. Another.
I have another son who is also trudging this battlefield. My two lost children say that he is the favourite. Another bullet. This “favourite” son is actually holding me up whilst holding himself up. Two wounded soldiers.
I have recently been diagnosed with multiple myeloma. The science is still out on how this incurable cancer is caused. But I know. My body and my spirit can only take so much.
I’m holding on. I hold my armour to my breast. My faith fuels my footsteps. My faith has not been shaken. I don’t dance like David danced in the Psalms. I lament like Jeremiah, in the trenches, for a lost nation, my lost children, a whole stolen generation. I keep going. I love my job. I work and then come home and go to bed. My body is so tired. But my Aaronic PITT brothers and sisters hold me up with their reflections, their collective mourning, their battle cries. I keep going.
I look forward to the day when I can lay my armour down and hide myself in my Lord’s arms. But for now, I’m holding on. The battle is the Lord’s and the latest Goliath is called gender ideology (1 Samuel 17: 47-48). I hold my armour to myself, kept in place with the glue of love. I am not alone. There are other soldiers walking this battle-scarred landscape. I’m holding on.