joy and freedom




Joy and freedom is a glorious topic for a blog post! When one has survived the horrors of abuse and torture, freedom is especially precious. Sometimes human beings can take freedom for granted as well as joy.

Recently I had an extremely short chance encounter with my former defense attorney, Alan Rosenfeld. Alan Rosenfeld with my former public defense attorney successful defended me when I was charged with custodial interference. I was a protective parent who attempted to keep my daughter, Megan, safe from further abuse from her father and others. The jury trial ended in a hung jury. Charges were eventually dismissed. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Alan Rosenfeld as an attorney and as a man. His continued commitment to help battered women and their children is remarkable. (Alan’s website is:

Later that day I had a phone conversation with a dear friend. As we shared our lives, I was sitting on a bench by a creek. It was quiet around me except for the sounds of the ducks walking on the thin ice. Day ended and evening began. As I walked, I saw the Christmas lights in the park as well as on the outside mall. Absolutely beautiful.

My heart was filled with joy. In fact, joy erupted in my heart after my momentary connection with Alan Rosenfeld earlier that day. You see, now that seven years have passed since my trial and the dismissal of charges, I can fully realize how fortunate I was. A good attorney can make the difference between jail time and freedom. During the years of turmoil – escaping a domestic violence relationship of abuse, torture, and terror, reporting the abuse, dealing with German and American institutions, attempting to protect my daughter, dealing with the judicial system, healing further from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), etc. – I recognized that good things were occurring. I was grateful.

The night I was released from being in jail for around 19 days (after being charged with custodial interference and before my trial), the sky was dark. The moon was bright. Jail (especially as a person experiencing PTSD and as one who had never been in trouble with the law before this time) was hell. When I walked outside the jail and saw the moon, I cannot explain the feeling of freedom that washed over me. Unfortunately at that time, I still had the challenges of a trial, of not being in contact with Megan, etc. I was free, but only partially.

Yet now, after no longer being in such PAIN and with the huge challenges now in my past, I can experience the freedom from a perspective of joy and gratitude. Something happened on this day when I encountered my former attorney for a short moment in time. A weight was lifted off of me. I felt lighter. I am able to look backwards with further clarity and see such blessings throughout all parts of my life. I was extremely fortunate. Tears fill my eyes as I write. They are tears of joy.

As you move through this holiday season, notice the joy. If you are a survivor of domestic violence, child sexual abuse, clergy abuse, or someone experiencing freedom from other terrible situations … please do not take the freedom or joy for granted. Notice it. Savor it. Enjoy as many moments of it as you are able.

You survived! You faced the truth of the abuse or trauma. You are free from the actual abuse and are healing further! You are free to enjoy moments of your life now.

Life is wonderful!

As a country, we enjoy freedoms. Take note of these freedoms. What do you value? Just as a survivor does not want to regress by being in another relationship of abuse and/or torture, as a country how do we hold on to our freedoms? Those are questions that are not to be dismissed or taken lightly. It is worth taking the time to ponder on present American freedoms.

I feel free. I am free. My life is quite normal now. That in itself is a miracle after decades of abuse and torture.  I have concerns about loved ones, our country, and the world. My life consists of the worries that plague many of us such as financial concerns, staying healthy, balancing life, etc. Yet I feel joy, deep inner joy.

Life’s negative events crash down on you many times without warning. The day I described above, the opposite occurred. A deeper realization of how far I have traveled on this healing road to freedom and peace flowed through me. Acceptance of my life as it is now and acceptance of myself was absorbed into my being. A stronger sense of contentment started to flow underneath the normal trials and challenges of my life now.

Most of our lives will always consist of problems, stress, and challenges. Whether this deep joy stays with me for a short or long time, I know that it exists within me along with deep peace and love. What is inside of you underneath the feelings that everyday life brings? Do you take the time for silence and solitude and to be still with yourself?

Almost immediately after my chance encounter with Alan Rosenfeld, the music “Ode to Joy” entered my mind. It keeps returning. I wanted to share it with you. As I searched for a link, I discovered this one. May this video of “Ode to Joy: Beethoven’s Best Flash Mob” bring you joy! Glorious joy!