Do you think it’s possible that you learned things as a child that layed low until some point in your adulthood? In fact, these things may have manifested from time to time – you may even have wondered why…briefly.
My father died when I was 10 years old. For years…decades, even, I thought – “well, it just happened” and “he couldn’t help that he died.” On the surface, both statements are true – very true.
In addition, there is my sister, who is deaf from birth and also experienced oxygen deprivation at birth. The doctors told my parents they were not sure how my sister was affected by this event and that they may not know until she was older. At the time of my father’s death, my mom and dad were beginning to have problems with my sister, behaviorally. They wrote it off to being a pre/early teen.
After my father died – man…such a rough time. Looking back, we were blessed. Insurance money, veterans benefits and social security allowed my mom to stay at home until I (the youngest) was 16 or 17 and not have to work. We tried going to church. Something we did prior to my dad’s death. But it became increasingly difficult. We never really dealt with the reason why. My sister became very difficult to deal with for both my mom and me. My mom had difficulty with her doing the things she’d always done. Screaming and slamming doors were common in our house. God alone gave my mom the strength to deal with it all. Even with that, I know my mom suffered from severe depression. As for me, as I got older the difference between my sister and me became clearer and clearer. She could not deal with many things that girls her age could deal with – maybe with difficulty, but they learned how others dealt with it and moved on to the next thing. Not so with my sister – she rebelled and struggled every step of the way. Added to that, she struggled with why she was deaf or at the very least, why she wasn’t like others. So painful. This came out in all sorts of disagreeable behavior. Flat out violence even.
I used to “joke” that when we sold that house, there was only so much we could do with the door to my bedroom. You see, it was marred from countless pounding and throwing things at it by my sister while I put all my weight against it to keep her out and to protect myself. Police were called in the latter years before she went to college (yes, she was accepted to a college in upstate NY but spent the two years in drug and alcohol abuse and eventually had to leave).
By that time I was in college in S. Georgia.
Jump ahead to some really deep and pointed christian counseling in the last year. In this counseling, I discovered that it is common for people who had a rough time growing up or trying experiences to retreat in some way. Actually, the term used for me was that I tended to isolate myself. The term/issue was first suggested as something to consider – though I knew instantly that he was onto something – like a light had been shined on something that hadn’t seen light in many years…if ever. As I prayed for revelation on this issue it became clear to me that God was guiding me…healing me…and I needed to let Him do it. For those reading who are not christians/followers of Jesus, this may sound odd.
Over much thought and prayer, I began to suspect (though my counselor saw it clearly, as did my beautiful wife) that it may be something that I do even now.
So, I’m driving home this evening and a radio pastor is talking about things that happen in our childhood – abusers who we may not even have seen at the time as abusers having a lasting affect on us even into adulthood. He said, it may be a parent, teacher, SIBLING or other person. For some reason my sister and the whole situation I’ve described above came flooding into my immediate consciousness. I immediately knew this was a message, for me, related to my situation and issue. I listened. The message continued into one of forgiveness and buried bitterness that, as I’ve become well aware, will eventually destroy. It’s a fact. I suddenly found myself speaking out loud that I forgive my sister for the abuse I experienced as a young boy/teen. I finally realized that my rationalizations (she couldn’t help it, she did have a lot to be angry over, it “wasn’t that bad”, on and on) were nothing but bandages over a wound that hadn’t healed.
God orchestrates things in absolutely amazing ways.
I was on my way to meet with my mentor. We were meeting this evening – off our usual schedule due to both of our schedules being crazy. Pretty amazing this happens as I’m on my way to talk with someone who knows as much about me as my wife and….not many other people. Divine meeting.
On top of all of this – an amazing thing that happened yesterday – something that I didn’t think too much of in the moment, though there was some emotion…
I went by my old neighborhood…by my old house…the same house where all that I described above took place.
The current owners had recently defaulted on their note and were evicted. The house looks horrible. There was furniture in the driveway until recently. This day, the debris had been cleared – making it easier for me to stop the car and walk up to the house. (I had driven by a number of times before and seen the bad looking scene).
This day, I stopped the car and walked up. I looked in the windows, some of them broken out. The inside was like a number of homes where the last defaulting residents totally trash the place. All appliances were missing – yes, even the kitchen sink! :-)
As I walked around the house my mind was FLOODED with memories. When I looked in the large living room picture window, I had a view to my sister’s room upstairs. I stared for a minute remembering slamming doors, harsh words, tears….one time, my sister standing at the top of the stairs holding a gun. I shuttered.
I moved around to a lower level and looked in the den. I remembered laying on that floor as a pre-teen with my matchbox cars, with a tape player listening to music….alone. I felt sadness. I got choked up.
I walked around to the end of the house and tried to see into my bedroom but couldn’t see through the dirty windows. I thought, “just as well”.
As I was leaving I passed through the carport – all had been wiped clean from debris but it was still very dirty. On a wall at the side of the carport was a brick – just a lone brick laying there on the wall. I went over and took it. I left.
I think this was supposed to happen. Someone will fix the house up and move on. It’s a nice place on a large lot. It’s not the house or property. I think I was supposed to have those 10 to 15 minutes. I think it’s part of my healing.
Thank you for reading. There’s a lot more to the story – to my story – but I think this is core and key to where I am now. I know without a doubt that God is working in me to mold me into someone who needs Him more than anything on this earth…more than anything…period. I just know it.
Note: “The Behaviors That Bind Us” was the message on the radio – by Charles Stanley.