He grew up seeing his father being a sole provider. Without him there was no food on the table and very little of every other necessity. He saw his mother have nothing, be nothing, demand nothing yet she gave the entirety of what was her. His little heart cringed every time his mother was punished for an obscene reason; it broke countless times when she remained in the very same toxic environment. More often than not, his mother’s eyes reflected pain and exhaustion, she knew little else. He hated his father, for never helping with that school assignment or bothering if there was even school in the first place. He hated him for starving his mother and siblings of his time and attention, but freely gave to a cousin, a niece, some distant relative. He hated the way he would just disappear for days, months unknown.
For a long while he carried a weight of self- blame in his young delicate heart. Maybe there was something wrong with him, he though. Maybe he was just not good enough. For years he tried to prove himself worthy, if only for that pat in the back or simply the words ‘good job’. He craved those words, no; he needed those words to somehow solidify his esteem, to somehow give meaning to his being. Those words never came, nothing was ever okay. He felt his very presence to be a mistake, more than once he heard his father mention this. It wrecked him. He never knew a way out of such suffocation. It was as though he were drowning in pain and confusion , and the last gulp of air was a struggle to work extra hard. Work was the only thing he knew how to do best.
So he did exactly that, work extra hard. He gave his best in school, on the days he was able to show up at least. He fought extra hard on the days his eyes were drowsy while his body weak and he could not pin point the reason to be his empty stomach or the fact that he barely slept the previous night because of the cold. All he had separating his body from a cold ground was an old piece of cloth his mother secretly gave him when his father threw him out of their already falling apart house.
He tried to please his father, when he worked a little harder on his chores, or ran to him with a great grade from school yet none of this effort was good enough for his father’s attention. With time he learnt to substitute it with the attention he received from others. That teacher, that friend…that lady. It did not quite suffice, it never has, but if for a moment Oh for that slightest moment of pleasure, it worked. In time he chose in his heart to head in the direction of what he hoped to be better out there; something, anything other than the torturous ache he felt subjected to at home. So he set out to chase that, whatever that may look like. He left certain of only a promise he made in his heart… ‘Never become his father’.
• • •
She grew up seeing her mother work harder than most mothers she knew. Many a times she wished she could have only a moment to talk about something other than school and performance. It was as though that was all that got her mother’s attention, that and when she felt ill once in a while. She could not fathom her mother’s need to be perfectly independent even from her father. Even when he very much was present, at least in the beginning he was. Her father provided what she saw they needed. If anything, she was content with only his presence and that he was not always mad about something.
She watched as her mother buried herself with her work, that phone or whatever else supplemented her craves for attention. She hated when her mother’s mood suddenly changed when she forgot to close a window, or when her siblings delayed from the shop. Her mother forgot what power gentleness was for a woman, she replaced such with aggressiveness. Even when it worked at her office it backfired at home. She took on all that was before her with a fire that burnt and was fueled from a source that was anything but pure. It was fire all the same. The fire burnt ever so brightly, except it burnt down to ashes whatever connection was left with her father.
Over time she saw the wall between her parents grow and like magma solidify to form crystals that lacked glitter. She watched as her mother long for that door to be opened, her voice to be heard, a gift for her birthday or even a memory of it, some form of affection from him. None was there, it was never built in him, or maybe he felt she needed none. It was as though affection equaled weakness in a man, and a man must never appear weak, never. And then one morning he never showed up for breakfast and when evening came, he was not at his usual corner with a newspaper. Days passed and his chair remained empty. He chose to leave. Maybe he went to his other family; her mother did mention about the “other” children in one of the many days she was mad. She broke her favorite cup that day. Maybe he just decided he did not like them anymore. Maybe he did not want to make her mother mad all the time. His very presence did that some days or maybe he liked the “other” children better, she thought as her little heart sunk.
Her little heart cringed with embarrassment every time her friends brought their dads to school and asked where hers was. She hated the aggressiveness which stole the gentleness she longed for in a mother, and she hated the work that stole time she would have had with her mother. She cried herself to sleep many nights wishing she could share or speak to someone about a heart ache that boy caused, or simply a moment with mom like her friends would with theirs.
She tried to be perfect for her mother, but it was never enough, there was always something that needed to be done, an assignment, a younger sibling, some work anything other than her that demanded her mother’s attention. In time she learnt to silently deal with her wins and losses, without expression. And when that first chance to walk away from that environment presented itself, she grabbed it with both hands. She left certain of only a promise she made to herself… ‘Never become her mother’.
• • •
Sigh! Somewhere along their journeys, the two hearts on the run cross paths. They were bound to, like a magnet to iron, their brokenness fitting perfectly. You could barely see the bruise on his young heart from that freshly cut, tailored suit that hugged his trimmed body ever so perfectly. He still is oblivious of the fact that in his brokenness, his sight was repulsed by a woman that seemed to be in any form of financial constraints. It terrifies him because in more ways than one, it pokes a wound from the past. It is a painful reminder of a mother in constant agony without a way out. In his eyes (more so subconscious mind) a woman that seems to have it together has immediate approval. But no, he jolts his mind after a thought of a comment from a long time friend crosses his mind. That he barely considers a woman without some form of material privilege. He reminded himself that he will love his woman unconditionally; he will never become his father.
His confidence is what she first noticed. You can hardly see the scared little girl underneath the now beautifully covered frame. She was at a perfect spot in her career, convinced that respect is earned by only the sweat you put in your hard work. And hard work is what she knew to do, if there is one thing, one tiny thing she might come close to appreciating what she got from her mother would be a work ethic like no other. The one thing she longed for was a man that emanates attention like warmth from a fireplace. It tickled her fancy. Perhaps if her father exercised this more; her mother might have been contained, she thought. Then again, she reminded herself that she will always cater to her man; she will never become her mother.
So in their ‘together forever’ posture, that very first burst of anger did not show up as a red flag, it was to her, rather attractive. In a strange way it defined masculinity to her. She was to him a sight of perfection, miss independent. He did not understand the heavy burden he had subconsciously placed on her when he expected her to never waver in her finances or never seem weak. Ah but for a moment there, she stroked his ego in a fine, fine way. He is for a moment, a quench to a thirst she has had for so long. She was his everything.
And then expectations came for and from both of them. Maybe they were present from the very beginning. They did not take into account the economic crisis which left her without a job and him barely holding onto one. She started a business but even that required time and patience both of which were too much to offer. Tension rose as days went by with both demanding to receive more than give. When did she become such a complainant? How could he just shut down and decide to never communicate? Unbeknown them, they started denying each other a chance to simply be human. That they will at one point be at fault, that they will fail by virtue of being human, that they are not perfect. Frustration sets in from a fearful realization that they cannot fill the emptiness in each other even if they tried.
He wanted to run; it was the only thing he knew to do when they begin to get clingy in a suffocating manner. She feared for the worst, that he would abandon her, a feeling all too familiar. It felt like he was in a vicious cycle and he could not tell what scared him more, another failed relationship or the fact that he was becoming exactly who he vowed never to become, a stark reflection of his father. It was as though his father showed up with a destructive ‘to do’ list for him, every time things went wrong. Yet he couldn’t help but follow it. It was the only reference of how to act he ever saw. So he ran.
May I submit for your consideration that the fitting of two broken people in a relationship is a well orchestrated dark covert operation…trouble about this is;
• It is a perfect setting to distract both individuals from their true purpose of existence and destinies. It is unlikely that a broken person has found, acknowledged or are effectively pursuing their purpose. In their brokenness they will be consumed with a pursuit of trivial matters about one another which are bound to distract them from a sole intent of their pairing.
• Either one might grow and be healed while in this union. This is where one begins to feel the other has changed and is becoming something they did not sign up for. With healing one will begin to understand the bigger picture and this where the smaller picture crumbles.
• Vulnerability to the devils games. Remaining broken keeps you on your knees and at the mercy (and there is little to none) of the dark side. When he chooses to press the anger buttons, he simply pokes an unhealed wound of the past. You wake up one morning mad, not wanting to see your partner, he initiates disagreements. You will, in your dark painful days, drink from a cup of confusion.
God specializes in healing first. He knows what we have been through. He cares to give us all our heart’s desires while executing his grand purpose for our lives yet he is well aware of the damage our desires might cause when we are given those while we are broken. He wants for us pure blessings with no pain added unto them.
“The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and he adds no sorrow with it” – Proverbs 10:22
So he calls: Look to me child, let me remove your hurt and your insecurities. Forgive those who have hurt you. When he says ‘forgive’, it does not mean that you are undeserving of an apology or that you are the one at fault. What he wants to do is untie you from the shackles that held and tied you down. With unforgiveness you still will hold on to the hate and the pain. These will put you down. When you forgive, you break these chains darling. It is not even about what they did, they just broken too. You forgive, you go above.
When God puts forth an instruction such as ‘do not sleep with them before marriage’, He is not trying to dwindle your happiness. He is protecting you from committing to brokenness. What do you expect from a person who has forsaken an instruction from the creator of the very act?
An employer seeking to incorporate human resource in his company will go further to ask for reference from previous employers and inquire for information on the performance of this employee. If any mistrust, under performance or behavioral misconduct is found it will impact the decision of partnering with this employee irrespective of their abilities. If one is not dependable or cannot be trusted, their refined skill set is useless. How then do we trust someone with a covenant so important when they violate the instructions of the one who created the very covenant?
Idolatry is conceived the moment we place anything or anyone above God. Be it a person man, woman or child (present or not), our possessions or a situation. It develops and forms in brokenness which more often than not results in a series of unions fitted. It births nothing less than frustration, confusion and a void that no man can fill.
When he says “I am your GOD”, do not make any Idol. The definition there of, is not limited to some phony curving of an image that a certain group of people decides to worship as a God. It is anything or anyone that takes the place of God. Anything or anyone whose importance one has placed before the all seeing, almighty, all sovereign God.
“Let there be no strange God among you. Nor shall you worship any foreign God” – Psalm 81: 9
He wants for us a healing, for with that comes an understanding that there is an assignment that requires of us a ‘sound mind’. He wants us to understand that true fulfillment of the emptiness comes from the presence of God. That it is necessary for us not to ever lose our individuality, for in our healthy individual differences, we trade our weaknesses for strengths. More than anything he wants to perfect us in him.
So as I pour myself out in the most eloquent and steadfast manner, while offering all my love may you never forget that I am human; more than anything I hope you remember – I cannot be your everything!