There aren’t many victories when you’re a survivor of sexual abuse. Healing is slow to come, and when it does the deep scars remain. But today, I want to toast to the women who spoke out and who took the stand against Bill Cosby. When it had been my turn to take the stand, I refused for many complicated reasons. I know the work and exhaustion and pain of speaking out, and I’m thankful for the brave souls who did. Had the case I was involved with taken place in this #metoo climate, my story could have been much different. But it is what it is, and I have different victories along the long road of healing.
My little family has a small tradition of toasting. Maybe because of all my hard days, we really value celebrating the big and little things in life. One of us usually starts off the toasting at supper by saying, “I propose a toast” and the rest of the family lifts their glasses and repeats it. Augustine says something more along the lines of, “I have a propose a piece of toast!” which we always chuckle about. Then we share what we’re celebrating, everyone repeats it, and we clink-clink-clinkety-clink. Usually it’s water or milk sloshing in our cups, but it’s still fun. I love teaching our boys to celebrate the big and the mundane.
In the middle of this meal-time ritual, Augustine has inserted his own. He always sneaks in, “To Christmas!” before we can share our reasons for a toast. “TOOO CWISTMIS!” is actually what he says in his high pitched, innocent, asserting little voice. He won’t let us move on to toast whatever it is we wanted to toast until we toast, “To Cwistmis” with him. We end up toasting Christmas every time we toast, which is at least once a week.
We started this tradition around Halloween, which apparently didn’t affect Augustine’s desire to toast Christmas. It probably has something to do with the presents (“pwesents!”) and the magical cookies, candy, and songs. I like that he does it. It always gives me a moment’s reverence. I clink to Christmas and remember that God put on flesh because the body–my abused body–matters to him. I clink to Christmas and remember that God is making plans to rescue and restore us all even if it takes much longer than I think it should (400 years of Israelite slavery, for example). I clink to Christmas and remember that the magic, joy, and excitement of the season are very real, eternal things, even if they are transparent renditions of what the Hope of Christmas offers.
So in light of today’s victory, and the victory of God with us, and the victory yet to come, I propose a toast. To Christmas!