As a child, I grew up in an environment where encouragement and conquering was the language of my father, and silent love and provision was the life of my mother.
My sister and I moved through life understanding a few important things.
We must always win
We could do anything
No one had to tell you that they loved you in order for you to know that they did.
No matter what, you would always have.
While all of this might have seemed pretty great, the assurance that I would always be “good” caused me to live somewhat recklessly. In my mind, I reasoned that I could conquer anything and no matter what, I would win the proper type of love… It was understood, he never had to say he loved me because it wasn’t necessary.
Silent love was what I grew up on, and no matter how much it hurt, in the end I would be “good.”
I started out by conquering that 5AM winter run in a half foot of snow around Bishop Forde High School with my father singing that good Ol’ Queen anthem, “…We are the champions my friend,” while holding a stop clock as we ran around. “Tomorrow’s time has to be better than today,” he would say. Conquering that time was gratifying…
“Hold the chopsticks like this.” “Don’t go to an Italian restaurant and order a hamburger.” “Always let the man sit with his face to the door of the restaurant just in case someone comes in to rob the place, so he can protect you.” The idea of what a man should be in my life was indelibly carved into my mind by my father… “He should be your protector and teach you somethings,” he always said.
It was my parents’ commitment to Christ church that made my life my own. I would come home from school Just before I had to, and anticipated the age when I could go out and come in late and just be “regular,” like everybody else.
It was while trying to be “regular” that I made some of my worst choices.
We met one Saturday night at Club Epiphany. It was the train ride home that made me think that he would be my protector, after all, how bad could it be if he saw me to the door? The thought of having a man give me his undivided attention was gratifying; the words never had to come out of his mouth, because love is silent and providing.
I pushed and pushed until I had to go. “You can’t come in at any time you wish living here,” dad stated. It was time to go. Alienation from my family would follow…
“Are you stupid? You are so dumb! You wouldn’t even know it was your nose if it wasn’t on your face,” he would say. These were the words of what I thought was silent love.
Fighting my way out, swinging the blender, running out in the cold with no coat, running for my life… Today I would beat yesterday’s time.
My encounter was real. I couldn’t hold my head up before I came face to face with Him. It was the encounter that made me understand that in order to move on I had to forgive myself, and in order to become the full person God called me to be I had to forgive him, for the abuse. It was the encounter with Christ that made me know that I could forgive myself because He loved me before I even thought of being “regular,” and that the road He allowed me to walk was in preparation for His purpose. The hardest thing I’ve ever done was forgive, really truly forgive. I wasn’t able to see who I was until I was able to move past the reflection of the person who I thought was to blame. Me.