Amy at Texas Faith: Where was God…?

TEXAS FAITH: Where was God in the ordeal that young Lauren Kavanaugh faced?  

Question by William McKenzie
Over the last week, the Dallas Morning News has run a series on the story of 20-year old Lauren Kavanaugh. In “The Girl in the Closet”, you will read a devastating, demoralizing account of depravity.

The report tells the story of how young Lauren was locked in a closet, deprived of food and sexually abused by her mother and stepfather over several years. It will tell you how she rose above that horror to later be sexually abused again in her teen-age years. Throughout the story, you will learn of the rise and fall and rise of this young girl. You also will hear many an expert say this was as bad a case of victimization as they have seen.

Here, then, is my question: Where was God in the ordeal young Lauren faced? Of course, this is an age-old question, but I would like to hear your views.

Read the Texas Faith panel?

AMY MARTIN, Director Emeritus of Earth Rhythms and Writer/editor Moonlady News Newsletter

Forever seared in my mind is the night God never came. I fled the house, confused by the pain, the aggression, the delight in wounding. Social Darwinism masqueraded as child-rearing philosophy. Over and over, I found nowhere to turn, no one to believe me.

So I trudged in the darkness to the field up the street, collapsed onto my knees and begged Jesus to save me like Billy Graham said he would. But Jesus and God never came that night, nor any other time I tried. Until there beneath the stars one night I found my soul.

But I never found God, not a personal one at least, and Jesus seemed too busy assisting the school football team’s plea for a win to spread his largesse my way. That night in the space of my emptiness, arising from the Earth and descending from the stars, I was filled with a divine presence and peace that I came later to understand as Tao.

Was Tao with me always? Not that I could tell. Doubts were many. Did Tao prevent any more pain? Alas, no. There was no personal interceding God; only a witness, a strength. But as I grew older, my skills in connecting with the Tao improved. I began to know the Teh, the way of working with life’s energy, its blessings as well as travails.

My upbringing as a semi-feral middle-class kid at Camp Lord of the Flies doesn’t compare to Lauren Kavanaugh’s horror. Many times I was loved. I was well fed, all my physical needs were met, my academic education was excellent.

Abuse and neglect situations are reflective only of man, not God. They throw into stark clarity how easy it is to justify dominating, and ultimately dehumanizing, another human being when ideology triumphs, whether personal or in politics. They’re reduced to roles and symbols, in Lauren’s case being the scapegoat for the family’s ills and release valve for its tension.

This is the bedrock of the world’s ills: that we do not rise to being human, to be all that humans can be. We turn off the empathy that inconveniences us. We fool ourselves that struggle matters, that gain exists, even though nothing earthly has a chance of crossing the line with us at death except the intangible bonds of love that we make. Once we accept that truth, Lauren’s story will cease to be repeated.