Functionality in this earthly realm is not the ultimate state that the human being is able to achieve. To stop there in the place of “comfort” or lack of “stress” is a sad state of affairs. We were sent here to do great things in the name of the God who sent us, even as Christ was. Even more sad are those who live their lives in those places and look at others who are struggling and say “Oh, I am so glad that I am not one of those”, as if it were their “doing” that made the difference. This life that we have been given is for one purpose and that is to glorify God by testifying of his love for each of us and being a manifestation of God’s love on earth.
We cannot do this sitting in our “ivory towers” or “in the depths of our addictions”. It is interesting how the Christian world suggests repentance is our purpose or the end of our responsibilities and yet when we really get there, I believe, we discover it is only the beginning.
We must share our witness from the place of our understanding and experience to lift and to warn others. I have hesitated to share my personal story for several reasons. I do not want this blog to be about child abuse, I want it to be about the gospel of Jesus Christ and the principles of freedom that he taught. I believe pain is a universal thing that most of us can relate to. Whether it is forced bondage as in slavery, child abuse, the horrors of combat in war, or the subtle cuts of verbal and emotional abuse. Pain inflicted on another is typically recognized, unless one has deadened ones own pain, in which case one seeks to cause pain in another so that one can have the sense of being alive at all. This is the concept of masochism and sadism that I will discuss in grater detail in Volume Three of Portrait of a Harlot/Saint. (Volumes One and Two are available on Amazon.com)
I will share parts of my story so that you know where I come from and what gives me a place of empathy or compassion for another person’s pain. I do this with the witness that is the only way I can fulfill what I have been asked to do here. I will do my best to keep identities of anyone else out of the discussion.
I entered life in a crazy place. Born to a 20 year old woman who had two children about four and five years of age already by another man. She and my father had a son 15 months later. Two months after that they were married and then things are sketchy as far as I know. I have some memories that seem to back up some of what I was told and some that I was not told.
I was treated somewhat like a princess and dressed up with bonnets and gloves and lots of frilly dresses, I remember those. My brother, on the other hand, did not get such nice treatment. Dad said he thought he was his brother’s son. I know he fought himself on this because he desired to have a Father/Son business and he spoke of it many times. Sadly, it was my brother who received the abuse and neglect, as consequence of my father’s attitude and struggle.
I remember a burning love and affection for my brother. I believe that the emotional scars I had at seeing his abuse were psychologically damaging. And my heart breaks for the years of physical abuse and neglect he endured. (Luckily, he had a good -as far as I know- foster home when he was eight or so and was adopted by them and they left the state and changed his name. I still hold him close to my heart and pray on his behalf.) I was told I changed his diapers when he was two and a half and I was four.
My understanding is that our parents separated for good soon after the marriage, probably due to my father’s abusive and jealous behavior, his story was that she was unfaithful. And life did not get a whole lot better from there. I was told that mom brought us to dad one day saying that the man she was going to be with did not want somebody else s children. Dad said when I cried as she left that she slapped me across the face and walked away. My memories of affection or anything else towards her do not exist really; I had no feelings or thoughts about her in my growing up years that I can recall. I guess they got locked away somewhere. (Meditation may bring them out and I must be mindful of this.) I always valued her existence though; she did give me life after all. My father moved us from home to home and he had over 12 siblings. I remember being fondled in private parts by a male on a porch at one place. (I suspect there was more molestation though I do not recall it, nor is it important at this time. Just knowing the possibility was there tells me what I need to work on in my journey to health.) I was four when dad came with my step mom to pick us up. My little brother had scabs on the underside of his ears from having tee shirts pulled up over his head with little regard and that were obviously too small for him. Fifty plus years later I can see those thick scabs on his ears.
I was made to call this new woman mom before I was even comfortable with the term. Then my dad made it clear that I was his kid and she was to have nothing to do with me but to tell him when I did something wrong. We were spanked/beaten many times for things we did not recall doing.
About six years later one of my worst childhood memories was when my dad wanted to use me for masturbation and I said no and he bribed me with going to the fair that was in town. I asked him if he would let my brother go and he said yes. We went and I remember getting out of the truck and seeing my brother looking out of the window from the back of the truck as we walked toward the fair. It was sheer torture. I remember nothing else of that day. (I was too young to understand the concept of bargaining or the capacity I had to just say no.) I was forced beyond my control into an outright betrayal of my little brother. Psychologically I had to seek refuge somewhere and I did it in “fragmentation”. I could have locked into the bitter but I wanted to retain the ability to love.
Because of the crazy places, emotionally and otherwise, that I lived in as a child, I fragmented my life. Compartmentalization is what they say men do as they focus on one thing at a time. Fragmented would be a better term for what I did to survive. (In the deep meditation that I am doing I can feel that way of thinking surface. I am able to observe it in myself. I also know that the meditation can help it heal and “connect the dots” so that I am able to live a more “fluent” lifestyle.) Moment by moment.
It is curious to me how life as adult follows a similar pattern that does not allow me to embrace a happiness in this world very long without plunging me to the depths with a sorrow at nearly the same time even if I do not find out about it for years later. (The same three weeks I was being led into joining the church and baptism while out of town, was when my three daughters were being molested by their step brother, it continued for one of them which I found out two years later at our first Family Home Evening.) When you come into this life with a boxing glove in your face, sometimes it never ends and you just need to know that Heavenly Father trusted you to be able to overcome the trauma of such a life. He can give you respite. I testify of this with all my heart and when the pain becomes too much to carry he will carry it for you. He cannot take it away. All must be allowed their right to choose the wrong. He will send angels to help you though and prayer is needed by everyone who believes to facilitate this.
People look at me and know that I am different. They want me to be the same. It makes me laugh because every “same” they want me to be is “different”. I have found sanctuary in the gospel of Jesus Christ and I have found the ability to grow and understand and forgive myself and others. It is a source of great joy for me. I still have much work to do and am finally beginning to realize that this work is a real part of life and may even be considered the essence of life itself. The witness of the love of God for me is my greatest treasure, it is one I wish I could share in some other form but as the prophets of old in this I err because each of us must seek out and desire it of our own account. It cannot be handed over to someone or forced upon anyone. And that is just and right and commanded of God. Besides that, it is against all truth to give it out or to force it that would be like plugging the cord into the light socket without flipping on the switch, it has no desired effect.
May God bless you in your walk and may you seek his love through the light of the world, His Son, Jesus Christ.