I think most have heard the saying, “The Beginning of the End”, but today that saying doesn’t even begin to describe what is circling around in my mind. What I am feeling is something closer to THE BEGINNING OF THE BEGINNING.
On January 30th, tomorrow, I will be flying to Scotland, to catch up with my dearest of friends, Matthew Raphael McVarish – the man who has just walked 10,000 miles across Europe raising awareness of Child Sexual Abuse. It has taken him almost 2 years.
A year or so ago, after reading about Matty on social media, I knew that some day, some how, I was going to walk with him. The first time I met Matty was when I flew to Slovenia to walk beside him for 5 days on one small leg of his journey. We walked about 30 kilometers a day, and the journey was like nothing I have ever experienced. From Ljubljana to Zagreb, through beautiful countryside, vineyards far away, nestled in the sides of mountains, small streams that I insisted on putting my bare feet in, and oh, the conversations we had. We talked, we shared, and we became lifelong friends. During Matty’s 10,000 mile journey, he walks between 50 – 60 kilometers a day. But believe me, I was awfully proud of my 17 miles a day!
The way I see it is something akin to ‘dog with a bone’. Matty and I are both like that dog with a bone. We will not rest until the reality of the epidemic of Child Sexual Abuse is brought out into the light of day, and solutions are found.
There is no shame or stigma or leftover feelings of guilt in either of us. And that too, is part of the message. Any shame or guilt that you may still be carrying – please hear me when I say, “IT WAS NEVER YOUR BURDEN TO CARRY!” So I’m asking you from the bottom of my heart to lay your burden down.
Matty and I are both dedicated to creating a world where future generations will never have to experience the harsh reality of being sexual molested.
And so I find myself, once again, packing for a journey to a land I have never seen, to be part of the Last Mile Walk with this amazing man from Scotland. I know that I will be there as he brings this amazing journey full circle. And to paraphrase something Matty said,….. I do this for every adult who has yet to find their voice, and for every child that is born who will never have to experience the harsh reality of being a survivor of child sexual abuse.
I fly to Glasgow tomorrow and am so excited at the idea of seeing my friend, my fellow warrior, my hero again.
Stay tuned for more when I return home on February 17th.