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#445721 - 08/28/13 01:15 PM Altar Boy
DavoSwim Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/06/13
Posts: 326
Loc: Iowa, USA
When I was a kid, I was an altar boy. It was something I took a lot of pride in. In addition, I was good. My brother and I were always picked to serve at Christmas Mass, Easter Vigil, confirmations, etc. I guess we were the top team out there. In addition, during Lent I went to church every day ( 40 days) and served Mass.

When the priest abused me, that all came to a halt. I remember after the abuse happened, I stopped serving mass altogether, except for 2 funerals - my great uncle's and a neighbor kid who was killed in a car accident.

I was reflecting on all this, and what struck me, is that no one ever asked why I stopped serving. Not any of the priests or other altar boys or anything. It was like I didn't matter any more. My parents didn't even ask either - I just said I wasn't going to do it anymore and that was it.

I realize now, that along with quitting being an altar boy, I quit church in a way. I no longer felt a part of it. I wasn't angry and I wasn't rebelling, it's just that I lost my connection. It didn't make me feel special anymore to be there. At the time, I couldn't vocalize my thoughts or emotions on that, but I do remember just being frustrated with church. It was as though the words of the gospel were just empty words, devoid of true meaning. I realize now that one of the effects of the abuse was that I felt my soul had been destroyed. They attacked me at my most personal level. They took away my ability to love, to care, to experience emotion. I was just a shell, whereas before, I had been an active, vibrant kid.
I think back now, serving at those funerals in a sense meant that I was burying my soul.

What's funny is I kept going to church. I thought I had a duty to go. Maybe I was searching for something, and I was going to keep at it until I found it, even though I never knew what I was looking for.

It took about 20 years before I reconnected with God and religion again. I remember one cold winter morning out on a golf course. I was out on a run, and came to the top of a hill. From there I could look out on the vast horizon. At that moment I felt so small and insignificant, just a microscopic piece of the universe. But at the same time, I felt connected to a being far larger and more important than I. At that moment I felt that I had purpose and that I had been create to accomplish something. I remember that after that moment, all the words of the prayers I had been reciting since childhood seemed new and they held new meaning. I guess I began to understand what I had been taught since I was a kid. I finally felt like I was a part of my faith again.

It was a long time after that until I started facing the damage of my abuse. I still am dealing with that. At least that is all I struggle with - I don't have to worry about feeling at odds with my religion.

Dave


Edited by DavoSwim (08/28/13 02:26 PM)
Edit Reason: delete portions

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#445723 - 08/28/13 01:19 PM Re: Altar Boy [Re: DavoSwim]
pufferfish Online   embarrased
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6855
Loc: USA
Dave

That is so sad. I'm sorry about that.

Puffer

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#445746 - 08/28/13 04:54 PM Re: Altar Boy [Re: DavoSwim]
nltsaved Offline


Registered: 08/26/08
Posts: 842
Loc: Kc,Mo
These Scriptures came to mind when reading this. I saw God in his creation and began my relationship with him in that manner. floating down the river watching the sunset and had this peace and a connection that was profound and very real. I realized there was something out there and that I was made for a purpose also thanks for sharing .


Romans 1:20

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:


Isaiah 40:26 Helpful

Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing.


Psalm 8:3

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,


Deuteronomy 4:19

And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the Lord your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.
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#445860 - 08/29/13 10:40 AM Re: Altar Boy [Re: DavoSwim]
Still Offline
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MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/16/07
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That is the saddest thing I've read in a LONG time Dave. (tears)
First actual tears in over a year i think.

The death of your spirit, your enthusiasm and identified contribution to the world just deleted by a fake, self-fulfilling monster.

Vengeance is God's, but can't we send them to him?
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#446136 - 09/01/13 02:22 PM Re: Altar Boy [Re: DavoSwim]
SamV Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 5942
Loc: Talladega, Alabama, USA
I too feel at odds with my chosen faith, having been physically and sexually abused by those who professed to serve faithfully alongside me. I no longer hold the sexual abuse against the abuser, she was sexually abused herself and not yet a teen herself when she hurt me. Too, I no longer hold the physical abusers accountable, they were raised that way and had not come to know ways of peaceful mercy which they owed to me as their son. I also do not hold those who take the lead who marked me and with whom took away the healing they could have used to comfort. They were under obligation, to keep the flock clean, they did what they needed to, though they had no idea what had happened to such a nice, outgoing boy.

I am at odds with my faith because if I fail again, I will again lose the joy of fellowship. I long to be near those who serve with vigor and zeal, but I am too unstable, I roller coaster between zealous action and self destruction. Even now as I make inroads into attending and participating, I feel the dread, the terror of such loss. It is not as it should be, I am fixated on the discipline, no matter how I long for the rewards. It is simply the most important thing for me, yet I am almost frozen in fear. I went to worship today. I love the joy of association, but as yet cannot do much more.

Dave, I really enjoyed your statement, "I do not have to feel at odds with my religion". What a freeness! I hope to coat my hurt with that wonderful phrase into my heart. Thank you for those words, they will help me to continue to work towards an intimate relationship with my Heavenly Father.

Sam
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#446167 - 09/01/13 09:50 PM Re: Altar Boy [Re: DavoSwim]
DavoSwim Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/06/13
Posts: 326
Loc: Iowa, USA
Sam - I'm so happy that you were able to find something in my post that you could use to help you with your healing. Take care my friend.

Dave

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#446174 - 09/01/13 10:52 PM Re: Altar Boy [Re: DavoSwim]
KMCINVA Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1628
Dave

Your story hits home in many ways. I too was an altar boy, I served the Christmas, Easter, Communion, Confirmations, Weddings and Funerals. Only years later did I realize why--it was my grooming and bought my silence--hearing it was our secret.

I too went to church but in college I stopped going. My college roommate in senior year pursued me to return to Mass. I blocked the past and could go through the routine of the ceremony. I became quite good at it. When the past erupted the church became a place I did not want to go. Only now after time, facing the past, the parish and diocese am I beginning to feel may be one day I can reconnect but I am not quite there.

I am glad you have been able to terms and find your faith once again.

Thank you for sharing and it shows your courage and desire to heal. Best wishes.

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