Wednesday, July 25, 2012

When Life Was Taken Away

Since writing the blog post about Focus On What You Want, I've been thinking about how I view the lack in my life.  In fact, I talked about in this blog post that when everything was taken away from me, it changed me from there on in life.  Nothing was the same and it laid the foundation for what I was would know throughout my life.  It was not something I consciously hoped and wished for, but I was dumped into.

It all started when I was a young baby and my father was in the hospital for hepatitis.  Why he was struggling with this, I don't know, but it was so contagious that my mother had to make a choice between seeing me or seeing him.  As the story goes that I was told, she chose him.  I was left to be taken care of by the nurses in the hospital.  While I was not quite old enough to remember this in plain detail, I'm sure it was one of the earliest moments when life was taken away from me.  Imagine being a small child that is left in the arms of strangers to nurture and love you, but who were busy taking care of others.  Imagine how a small child would view that, knowing their basic necessities were only attended to when someone had a chance, not because they were loved and desired.

Of course, the next time when life was taken away was when at the age of 5, I wake up to a nightmare of laying in a pool of blood as my father tried to quickly clean me up, acting as if nothing happened when  my mom came home.  From there, I feared everything about life including pain and love.  For everything had been taken away from me in life and nothing was safe and secure.  Other moments would fill in the cracks and crevices should I forget such as going through my days with little food and having my stomach starve for the slightest thing to eat. The moments of shivering in the cold of the house from the drafts of the winter winds and inadequate heating or the time my older brother felt a whack in the head with the end of the round point shovel was warranted.  School was no more of a refuge as I was constantly picked on and made to feel like I was not one of my other classmates since math was beyond comprehension for me.

Life was again taken away when I was just old enough to be an innocent little boy discovering life at the age of 7.  In this moment, I was forced to watch the two adults in my life doing all kinds of gyrations and movements on their bed.  Without understanding what was going on, I saw my father and mother in very awkward positions, naked and with all kinds of things happening that I could not understand.  Frightened at the things I saw and the sounds I heard, I wanted to flee out of the room, but I was forced to remain and watch this beautiful act as it was described to me.

Later on, I would once again lose my life when I was once again welcomed into the grownups room to help do what was required of me as a boy.  My father and older brother needed me and so I had no other option but to oblige them with their requests.  Of course, the requests were nothing more than demands that you did not question. They were one and the same. You were their toy and you were there for their pleasure and enjoyment.  You did as you were told, hoping to end the nightmare scenario sooner, rather then later.

There were the times that some stranger met me in the basement bathroom during a church service.  Of course I knew I needed to complete my purpose for being there and return to my seat next to my parents.  Yet, this unknown stranger with a face I cannot see met me there and decided he needed to show me some of God's love and shower me with God's blessings in my life.  Yet, as I write this, I'm perplexed because I never recall being given the evil eye or being chastised for taking so long in the bathroom.  In fact, I almost remember my father looking away from me during the rest of the church service.  So while my life was being taken away, the entire church was singing in joy and adoration of all that God had given them.

Another time involving church was a campground that I so loved.  It was at Pine Lake Baptist Camp and this was a special time because it was Family Camp Weekend.  We were supposed to become a more loving and caring family, whatever that meant.  I really didn't want any more time getting to know these people because it seemed like all they wanted from me was to take more away of whatever I had left.  Yet, it didn't stop them from making sure I assembled all my friends at the boat dock down in this ravine where it was quiet and hidden, just about the time it was getting dark.  Tricking my friends into this adventure, I realized that I would become the sacrificial lamb that night as the monster demonstrated for all my friends.

Later in life, I began to barely notice what all had transpired because it became such a common place to me that I barely felt as if I was living life because it was something I wanted to do.  In fact, I felt my purpose on this earth was just to be there as an expendable resource for others.  Love meant that you didn't get beat for the day, and caring was something you did for someone when they were sick.  It was readily known that you were there as something to be used for and by those who cared for you only when they wanted you.  Otherwise, you were to work hard and be seen but no heard.

I could go on with example after example and while I'm leaving many details out, please don't get the impression that any of this was as simple as I'm making it out to be.  There is much more behind these words than I am writing.  However, this is not the reason I'm writing these words.  Read further to understand the real purpose.

See, in life I feel like I am not worthy of anything and no matter what, I feel as if it is a losing battle at times.  Sure, there are those in my life that care and they truly love me, but after all these years, I feel like nothing more than damaged goods that someone is wating to use for their own enjoyment.  I can see that not all people are like this, but in the back of my mind I am wondering at what point the monster will come out and at what point I will return to those early days of my life on this planet.

So, I go through living this life in the only way I know how.  The familiar is watching my life be taken away one piece at a time from as early back as my memory will carry me.  The foundation feels as if it is built upon a lie that will crumble into the sea at any time.  I wish it was different.  I try hard to make it different and yet, my little brain does not seem to understand.  It is as if someone is telling me a fairy tale and claiming it is truth.

I so badly want to give this all up and God knows I've traveled a million footsteps already, but it feels more powerful than any other force in this world.  I rack my brain trying to find my way into a life where all of these things don't exist, and yet I feel like that would be living a fairy tale.  I keep telling myself that it is possible to rise above all this I endured, but as the days wear on I struggle to believe it.

No longer in life can I run from any of it.  It is my constant tormenter day in and day out.  I feel as if I am being gulped up by the monster as he swims away with joy on his face.  I want to hate those that did this to me, but I've no longer got the energy.  I want to rip them to shreds, but I know that it would make me no better than they are.  I want to live in a new reality, but that seems more ridiculous than anything I have ever heard.

For now, I record these thoughts in trying to make sense of all of this.  The emotions are void at this moment because it seems like in order to write these words, the emotions must hide.  To feel the emotions at this moment would be like a million daggers thrown at me in one split second.  I've been through worse moments and I have survived.  I'm sure I will find someway to survive through this and learn to make sense of it all.  It is my only hope.  Anything other than that, I feel completely overwhelmed.  I keep treading along through the swamp, hoping to find a piece of dry land where I can rest my weary legs.

For more insight into my life and healing, you can check out my book, Hope And Possibility Through Trauma by Don Shetterly

Blog Post And Images (c) 7/21/12 by Don Shetterly

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  1. ::BIG HUG:: I wish there was more I could do and more I could say. Every time I read your recollections of the past, I shudder. So much anguish and I just wish I could somehow take it all away...

    1. I wish I could go "poof" and it would be all gone as well, but I'm beginning to learn (or trying to get myself to learn) that all of this was for something greater in my life that I cannot fully see at this point. It doesn't make it easy, but at least it gives me hope that there is more to this than the pain from the past. Some days I just feel like I was given almost too much to deal with... and yet, I write and share these experiences so others going through it will know they aren't alone - unlike my journey through the dark moments. Thanks for the big hug...