DIVINE CHILD
Evil vs. the Angels of Stony Island
by Jim Heaney

ON A LATE DECEMBER NIGHT IN 1989, I sat drinking coffee with a group of troubled young adults, discussing the heartbreak- ing issues they were dealing with as a result of sexual abuse they had suffered as children.
All of them had addiction problems that prevented them from confronting their demons. I had traveled that dangerous route myself, and looking around the table, I knew how deeply they had been harmed as children. I also knew that as adults, they had turned their anger against themselves. With their addictions, they were playing Russian roulette with their lives. At worst, they would live long, self-ruinous lives; at best, they would die young.
I said my good nights but couldn’t bring myself to drive away. I sat in my car, watching them through the restaurant window, and made a promise to them and to all the victims of childhood abuse—that I would write a book to share the path I took to healing and accomplishment. Divine Child: Evil vs. the Angels of Stony Island is my promise fulfilled.
God has worked in my life in mysterious ways. As I write this in the spring of 2008, I’m 53 years old. The sexual abuse of children is no longer a taboo topic, in part because of disclosures over the past 20 years about the tragic abuse within the Catholic church. However, I experienced a different side of Catholicism. The man who molested me was a man in my neighborhood, not a priest, and the heroes in Divine Child are four individuals— a Catholic Sister, a priest, and a laywoman who taught at my Catholic grade school, as well as a Buddhist monk—whose teachings have lasted a lifetime. Together they let me know that they believed I could be bigger, stronger, and smarter than the abuse that changed my life forever.
Even though I no longer participate in Catholicism on a daily basis, I do participate fully in the simple spiritual concepts which were taught to me in my grade school religion classes. While undergoing therapy, I came to see that the self-destructive behavior that I felt powerless to control was really a spiritual problem. My quest for healing led me to learn about and incorporate into my life aspects of religious belief from several traditions, including the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes of Jesus, and the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.
After living these mantras, I realized that they are all very similar. They all ask the individual to believe in God, to examine one’s self, to serve humanity, and to pray for guidance. I have been blessed in my own life to be able to weave together all of these threads, and I have flourished as a result. In writing Divine Child, I have added the details of my personal spiritual journey to the gifts of kindness bestowed by the Sister, priest, teacher, and monk in order to share this path with other victims of child abuse.
As I said, God works in mysterious ways. If I had not met with those troubled young people nearly twenty years ago, I might not have been able to write this book. The horrors I endured may be part of a larger plan to help them and other past, present and future victims of childhood abuse. For instance, even though my parents turned their backs on me when I needed them the most, I found myself drawing on their good traits as I parented my own divine children. Because of my personal mantra, I was able to forgive my parents and hope only the best for them in the next life.

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