For some, and to be candid it could happen to anyone, they [you, I?] are born on Good Friday. And for too long, getting beyond that, takes too much. Some start out in the bleakest and direst of circumstances. For some there are always shadows and they are so precarious in their experiences, they never see that shadows are evidence there is light somewhere. They simply don’t see the cause of shadows. Because too often it’s the rejection, it’s the demands and subjugating and controlling and demeaning that keeps them in constant cower.
What I share now is about Good Friday. I read it this morning and thought about people who start off on a lame foot, at least emotionally. This is not easy to read, so you may want to shift to the postscript. I share it though, with permission of the author, because it’s about life that should never be…but is. Far too often. Way far too often:
As a very young child I once asked my mom why daddy didn’t like me. I don’t remember the love word being spoken in any house in my child hood and there were many houses… “He wanted a girl” was the answer.
Life is tough for a single mom with 6 kids from 3 different marriages, an affair and eventually 5 to 7 marriages. There has been debate between my oldest sister and myself on exactly how many times. But honestly… it’s never been an issue that has caused any consternation amongst us offspring. It was the life we knew. A chaotic affair with the participants coming around every so often to push the Merry Go Round. Mom standing in the middle and the kids hanging on. Each time someone pushed they extracted their due for the effort. We were never a family… just people thrown together in desperate circumstances.
Maybe it was the second summer of my cotton field experience. Mom promised my brother and I we could keep all of the money we earned our last week in the cotton patch before school started. At the end of the day on Saturday we were handed about 40.00 dollars each for a 60 hour week. Eyes as big as saucers we jumped on our bikes and headed to the one café in town to play nickel pin ball, buy a payday candy bar and a Dr. Pepper. I can’t remember what I ate yesterday but I remember that day. We came home after blowing less than 5 dollars doing everything that was possible. Mom set us down and asked for the money back so she could spend it on our school clothes. I watched my brother shove his hand down his jeans pocket and start digging out his money turning it over to mom. I ran out the door … went behind the work shop and tore the money into very small pieces so it could not be repaired.
In 1971 I graduated high school. As was the case through my time in school no family member was there. I was okay with that…I preferred that. I remember on parent’s night football games, I ran out to the coach. Truly, I think by High School, I was done with needing or trusting anyone. I had a sense of shame for myself and my circumstance.
I don’t know your life. If could be worse or better than mine. I would encourage you not to minimize the missed needs and painful events that happened in the past. You know where the past is…I boxed mine up and put it in the basement. The boxes were taped shut so nothing could get out or in. You walk in my house it’s in order. No mess … no fuss. I have a great attitude, I’m successful, life is good.
But eventually life put me in the basement. Opening the boxes one at time I was sucked into painful past events. They made me cry … not because I was sad. Because I was angry. Angry at the way that little boy was treated. Angry at those that did it and angry at myself for not caring for him. For treating him the way everyone else did. I had sealed off those feelings, denied it happened, put that complainer away.
The last box is opened. I’m spent emotionally. I thought I knew every nook and cranny but I see a door under the stairway. I have to open it …maybe there is another box… the hinges creak as the door swings open … light enters the room…on the floor in a fetal position crying … it’s that little boy … right where I left him years ago…it’s was me.
He was crying out of loneliness.
I stood him up… hugged him deeply and muttered, “ I’m not leaving you again.”
So…Who am I becoming? A person that would not turn his back on himself… or anyone else.
Postscript: I’m crying right now. Am not afraid to admit. How absolutely painful this person’s life started out to be. But. For my friend life did not remain Good Friday. He opened the boxes, has dealt with them. And because of his strength not his weakness, was willing to share his vulnerable world of Good Friday as his statement during a banquet when he was honored for the value of his life he has shared with others. He never points a finger and castigates. Rather, he finds the goodness in others as a response when his goodness was never acknowledged during his childhood and youth. I never see him as a Good Friday guy. Never. In truth he’s an Easter guy. The tears now are of gladness.