In the Night.

I originally posted this story on "Beautifully Rooted" but since that site is ending, I didn't want to lose this post.  I'm currently working on the sequel, though painful as it may be, it will answer the question about why I never, ever drink.   If you didn't catch this the first time, I hope you'll take a few minutes to read it now...


"In the Night.

I wake in the night, not sure what has awoken me.  I lay there as still as I can waiting to hear what comes next.  It's not long before I know.  It's happening again.  Another night of yelling, screaming and throwing things.  I can hear every word through the paper thin walls of our trailer.  I roll over and hug myself to the wall.  Praying and hoping that my door doesn't open.  Praying that I won't be called to the witness stand as though our living room had become a court of twisted law.  I hear a muffled cry.  It belongs to one of my smaller siblings.  They've managed to sneak to my room undetected.  They huddle in close and we both lay there pretending to sleep in case the door should open suddenly.

It's funny the things that no one has to teach you as a child that lives in a house of alcohol and violence.  You know not to speak up without ever being told.  You know not to volunteer information because it will be used against you or someone else.  You know to pretend to sleep even though the whole neighborhood is awakened by what is happening.  You know not to talk about anything, ever.  

I glance at the clock.  It's 3:15am.  I know that when I went to bed they were both asleep.  Why does this always happen in the dead of night?  What demons shake them from their slumber and rile them up to the point of screaming and throwing and hitting?

The door opens wildly.  My name is yelled.  I pretend to wake up with a start, rubbing my eyes at the light shining in.  My testimony is needed.  Where did we go today?  Who did we see?  How long were we there for?  It doesn't matter what I say if it doesn't go along with what my father wants to hear.  If my testimony doesn't line up with his theories it's thrown out of court immediately and I'm accused of siding with the enemy, a conspirator in lewd and unsavory behavior.  I'm questioned to the point of tears.  My mind searches frantically for the "right" words and answers.  What will calm the demons?  My efforts hit the wall like jello and drop to the floor.  There is no right answer but I'm still expected to talk.

Eventually frustration with my lack of cooperation in his favor causes him to slam the door and leave me in darkness once again.  Screaming, breaking and door slamming continue into the night until I can no longer keep my heavy eyes open.

I awake the next morning leery to leave my room.  I'm a shell of a human walking through the expectations of my day.  I'm a good student.  I stay quiet and hidden at home as much as possible.  I don't have any dreams or expectations for my life past running at full speed when I hit 18.  My life is void of emotion, too much pain for a child to endure has stripped me of every feeling in the spectrum but fear, guilt and timidity.  If there is a God he can't seem to get through these paper thin walls.

I awake in the night, not sure what has awoken me.  I lay there in the silence trying to decide what it was that stirred me.  I hear a whimper from the other room and slide out of bed to investigate.  In the darkness I peer into the room that my two boys share and find my youngest stirring from a bad dream.  I nudge him enough to bring him out of the dream and into the realization that he is safe.  He calms quickly with a hug and a nuzzle and before I leave the room he is sleeping sweetly once again.
My heart is grateful that the occasional bad dream is the only evil that vexes my boys.  My heart is full of love and thankfulness and peace.  My children live the dreamy childhood that was so far from my own.  The ease and abundance of blessings in my life is something that is brought forth in my list of thanks on a daily basis.  My boys have never been woken in the night to face adult things.  My boys have never been called to testify against a parent.  My boys don't know fear, or guilt or timidity.
My life now is the opposite of that valley from long ago.  Each day, each step, each ascent out of that dark place has been painful.  The whys and wheres and what fors all had to be dealt with.  The Lord has delivered me from a place that was barren of love, grace and favor into a place where my heart can barely contain my Joy.  Slowly he has revealed to me where he was hidden in those days and his plans for their use in my future.

I've been praying for some time for a safe place to tell my story, to use it for good for others, to reach out to those still in the valley and give them a rope to hold onto.  I'm thankful to have found this place and I can't wait to share my life with you." 


Kathy said...

Thank you for your honesty and bravery:)

Happy Mama (Lisa Gonzalez) said...

Thank you for sharing this. I too remember waking to the yelling, the thumping, and the fear. It never goes away completely.

hugs to you.

christaj3 said...

I, too, have been unfairly burdened by the weight of overwhelming pain and fear which wasn't mine and should never have been laid on my shoulders. And without delving into the unnecessary details of my story, I will say that I am astounded by how completely different your story is from my own, and yet the words you wrote sound so eerily like my own.

I'm only 33 years old, but I can honestly say that most of my life has been devoted to my attempts at overcoming my past. It has only been within the last five years, after being hit by some extremely unpleasant realities, that I have finally begun to discover what it is to truly be a "normal", "stable", and "healthy" adult.

Looking back, I thought I had overcome my past and it would be smooth sailing from the age of 19 on. Boy was I wrong!

But, my point is (sorry, I'll try not to ramble), after so many years spent trying to move past it all, denying that I hadn't moved past it, and finally finding the peace I have searched for my entire life, I now spend my time helping others to break their own unhealthy cycles and patterns learned as children. And one of my favorite sayings is that we almost never see ourselves in the same light which others see us.

The pain you feel is very clear as I read your post. The shame, discomfort, feeling as though you don't belong in your own skin. But you might be surprised by what you portrayed even more as you wrote this- you are much, much stronger than you think you are. Your past will never disappear, and it will mold you and help shape the person you will be in life. But you have the power to decide how you will allow it to shape you. I know it doesn't always seem as if you hold the power, but, I promise you, the power is in your hands, and once you learn to use it, your past will no longer define you again.

You have obviously worked very hard to overcome this, and you should be incredibly proud of how far you have come. There will still be times during which you feel as though you will never overcome this, times when it seems all you have is the pain and frustration. If you always remember that the control is yours, however, you will find that those moments of doubt will become less and less. Until you fully realize the strength inside of you and then you will be free. There is an end in sight.

In my work, I am always amazed at how rarely some people are told these things. And although you seem to have a great support system, I want you to know, from a stranger and fellow child of God, I can sense your strength and your persistence to move past this is obvious. And for that, I am so so proud of you. Many people simply give up, it's a daunting journey, but I have no doubt that you will succeed and get to the place where you finally have peace in your heart, soul, and life. I'll be rooting for you, and should you need some affirmation, I would gladly offer it to you. Good luck, you have done an amazing job.

Alice G said...

Your children are blessed by having you as their mother. No child should have to bear what you and your siblings did when you were growing up.
Tell your story for those among us that pray daily. So many people pray for unknown souls that are in need and some of them will continue to pray after hearing your story. They will pray in hope that their prayers will ease the lives of children that have no one else to seek God's assistance for them.
alice g

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