My muscles ached as sweat poured off my body. With no shade trees in sight the sun shone down mercilessly on that hot summer morning of 1960. I loved our nice, new house but our backyard was the Sahara Desert! After a few weeks of raking and removing a million rocks there were still a gazillion more! New ones seemed to re-surface by morning and it was depressing! I was a little upset when I found out my parents turned down the nice, grassy sod for the backyard. Instead, they bought an awning for the patio.
My younger brother was supposed to be my rock assistant but he was too young and too distracted to focus. He picked up a few handfuls of pebbles but mostly he stood there watching me work. He waited for me to fill the red wagon so he could dump the contents in a designated place and go play.
A large pair of eyes watched me from the newly, shaded patio. Dad was usually home by 8:30 AM after working the midnight shift at Ford Motor Company. Every morning he supervised me from his lawn chair while I did my “rock shift”. He thought it was funny when I acted hot and tired and pleaded with a sad face for a break. He made it clear that we had to remove every rock before we could strew grass seed. I was confused about the “we” part. When Dad finally went to bed two hours later, my mom waved me inside for a break.
One evening a big argument broke out in our new kitchen. Things didn’t set well with my Dad when my brother ran inside the house to get away from a bully. Dad followed Timmy into the kitchen where he started talking on how to stick up for yourself with a bully. (My brother and I would rather have a spanking than be corrected by one of Dad’s filibusters.)
Eight year old Timmy couldn’t focus on a teacher’s ten minute instructions let alone a forty-five minute lecture. I felt sorry for the little guy because I felt his pain. He had to be careful not to frown and to keep his eyes on Dad’s face the whole time or Dad would yell, “Don’t you look at me like that! Or, LOOK at me!”
“That’s enough talk, Jimmy,” my mom said.
“I’ll decide when I’m finished, Marie!” Dad said.
“You’re upsetting him, Jimmy! Can’t you see he’s shaking?”
“Stay out of this, Marie!”
“I will not!” Mom said as she stepped between my brother and my dad. My dad shook with rage when my mom said that. His fist rose and hovered three inches from her face. I watched with fear. My mother did not back off from his fist! I had never seen her stand up to him before!
“Marie… I don’t want you… interfering! You’re making me mad… and I don’t want…to hit you!” Dad was so mad he spoke is spurts.
My mom held her chin up and looked straight in my father’s eyes. She said calmly, “Pick on someone your own size, Jimmy… go ahead and hit me if it will make you feel better!”
As I watched the scene unfold I held my breath and waited to see what would happen next. As far as I knew Dad had never hit my mother before. He adored her! The atmosphere was electric. Dad’s trembling fist stayed near my mom’s face for too long! I couldn’t move or breathe.
Then, a miracle happened. Dad dropped his fist to his side. His shoulders slumped as he looked down at the floor. He was showing obvious shame and defeat. He finally turned and walked out of the kitchen with his tail between his legs.
My mother had showed my brother and me how to stand up to a bully!
Years later, my dad talked openly about that day in the kitchen. He said that was the day my brave mother rightfully stood up to him and showed him what a “stupid ass” he was. He told her from now on he was turning over all the disciplining to her! That was a noble thing for him to say but it only lasted a short time. I think he meant well in saying it but he had no clue on how to let go of his need to be in control.
Even though my dad didn’t have a clue on how to rear and discipline his children he did love us in his own way. He was faithful to my mother and he never missed a day of work to provide for our physical needs. I found out much later that his low self-esteem and anger was due to his alcoholic father not being a vital part of his life. Dad was so proud to serve in WWII for his country but the horrific acts of war brought on emotional bouts with (PDS) post dramatic stress that required counseling and much medication.
Dad said that next to Jesus Christ as his personal Savior my mother was his biggest love and best inspiration. I loved my father but I did not like being around him unless he was in a good mood. I loved playing ROOK cards with him. In the middle of playing ROOK he usually made himself a sandwich at the kitchen counter. He would take the bid and usually win without even looking at his cards. We loved it when he won because he laughed a lot and it made a good day!
The perfect God is so merciful, kind and loving with all of His imperfect children. He looked through each of our lives and saw the hardships we’d have in this fallen world. He saw we would need lots of love, patience, and mercy! Jesus knew His suffering would be excruciating but it would be worth it when it won him so many brothers and sisters! He knew salvation had to be easy for us to receive or nobody could get saved.
All it takes is to have right believing that Jesus is Lord & Savior, Jesus never sinned, and Jesus died for my sins and He was resurrected from the dead when we ask Jesus to come in to our life the Holy Spirit comes in to live inside of us. He helps us, he guides us, and He prays for us when we don't know how to pray!
Thank God we don’t have to earn salvation through good works and we don’t do good works to stay saved; that’s why GOD called His Salvation plan wonderful G R A C E. Because of grace you automatically want to serve God, live right, & serve others.
Did your home life appear normal but there was verbal or physical abuse going on? Comment here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org