Friday, May 13, 2005

Toils Highest Reward

The highest reward for a man's toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes by it. "John Ruskin (1819-1900)British writer & art critic

I love this quote. I like to think any good that comes from this will make all the pain worth its ache. Lives lost, honored by lives found. Tammy would be proud of this place and Jerry would be too, both for their own reasons. I look at it through their eyes from time to time, and like what I see.
I think of that young woman who just kept trying to make it right, until the effort finally cost her life. I think of that man who wanted so badly to live, yet he faced death bravely. She once said I was her inspiration. He said I was his strength. We changed each other, a strange triangle of walking wounded.
I walked happy beside a reformed abuser, the victim no more. She was made eternal victim. Knowing them made me see the best possible outcome and the worst, all at the same time. I am the example of how things can change for the better, she is the example of how things can end in tragedy. Loving them both enriched my life, losing them both in such tragic ways changed the course of my life.
I understood her pain. And she understood mine. Being a victim makes a person feel so isolated. There is a special emptiness that comes from hopelessness in the eyes of the abused. We can hide it from the masses, but recognize it in one another. I saw her agony, because it was a reflection of my own. She was the first in a long line of women I have encountered who share that expression, each face different, yet the eyes are the same. I soothe what I see, because I hear their silent screams.
I changed my life and the lessons learned along the way are recorded here, not for my sake, but for any who need a word of encouragement along the way. The tragedy's that litter my landscape gifted me with understanding I wish I had gotten some other way. But I can say with some pride that the toil of getting through has been the remaking of me.