A young boy sat in his dark bare room, attempting to do his homework for the second time, hoping that for once he would get a compliment from his father. Only a few minutes ago he’d just been beaten up by his father because he had gotten a few questions wrong in his homework. The pain and swelling had not yet faded, but that was no concern for the 7-year-old boy. To him, the physical pain was nothing compared to the enormous shame and guilt that tore his insides, twisting them into knots and clumps.
His hand was shaking as he held the pen and began to write. With every motion pain shot throughout his entire being like a bullet. I don’t care if this kills me, as long as I see a smile on his face. That will make all the pain better he thought. After completing his homework for the second time, he staggered and limped across the house to the lounge where his father was watching a TV show. As he approached his father, the young boy was startled by the amount of empty beer bottles scattered on the ground. The air stank of alcohol and cigarette smoke. He almost choked with every breath he took in.
He approached his father slowly, creeping up to him like a small mouse, insignificant and weak. Fear was written all over his face as his whimpering hand stretched out with the homework sheet. His father snatched it furiously. The boy waited and watched as his father’s eyes scanned the paper very briefly. Anyone else would have known that he had not really checked the paper, but the boy was oblivious. His father stood up, towering over him. He spat out filthy swear words as he grabbed the young boy by the arm and beat him again and again.
The boy cried hysterically as his body collapsed to the floor. The severe hitting and beating had stolen away all his energy. On the floor, sprawled and crying with agony, the boy kept crying out “I love you daddy! I love you daddy, do you love me?” amongst all that pain and fear his only desire was to hear his father say that he loved him.
“If you don’t shut up this instant, I’m going to beat you up again!” his father yelled. The boy had no other choice but to keep silent, just as he did every day when the teacher at school would ask him why his arms were bruised or why he had a massive bump on his head. Obeying his father’s orders he pulled himself along the floor, as his legs could no longer hold up his weight. In his room he sat on the floor and stared at himself in the small mirror his mother had put in his almost bare room.
“Am I a naughty boy? Does daddy hate me? Why does he hate me? Am I a bad boy? Why am I a bad boy?” All these unanswered questions floated around in his small mind as he tried to understand why his father acted that way. He cried to himself, until he had fallen asleep on the floor.
Early the next morning, he got up to the familiar pain he got up every morning with. Although he was beaten up almost every day he was still not used to the guilt and shame that haunted him every time. He got up and stumbled around the room, getting out the one pair of pants and shirt that still fit him. He put them on as quickly as he could and went into the kitchen to find something he could pack for lunch because he didn’t know how to make anything. He opened the fridge and scanned it with his brown chocolate eyes. The fridge was bare. He didn’t want to wake up his father, so he left very carefully as if he were a thief leaving a house he had just robbed.
As he walked to school that morning he remembered his mother and how she left him one night without any warning. Every time he asked his father about his mother, his father would say
“She got sick of having the responsibility for caring for you and decided to leave.” He felt that it was his entire fault that his mother had to leave and so he carried around that burden wherever he went.
The young boy didn’t know any better than to accept the abuse from his father and he had no one else to blame but his own self because he loved both his parents very dearly. These events forever stained his memory and these memories never left him as he never spoke about them to any being for fear that he would ruin the reputation of his family.
20 years later…….
The boy grew to be a strong man, whose eyes always carried a haunted sadness wherever he went. Only a few years ago, this man had come to know about Christ and because of the traumatic childhood he had, even when he converted it was hard for him to accept Christ as a loving father. Every time he prayed “Our Father” he remembered his own earthly father. The haunting, frightful memories of those days where he feared his life would always interfere with his spiritual life with Christ the Heavenly Father.
However, one day at church, after he had prayed the Mass with absolutely no passion, the priest approached him.
“Son I sense a deep sadness within you. Why will you not speak? Why are you so uninvolved with the Christian life? Why in confession do you insist on being silent?” The man stared at the priest a little surprised by what he was hearing. If I have been quiet for over twenty years, why should I start speaking now? He thought to himself.
The priest stared at him waiting for a response. When nothing escaped the mouth of the man, he thought it would be best to tell him the truth straight up.
“Son, I know of your story and I know why you insist on being silent.” When he saw the man’s eyes grow wide with fear, he continued.
“Don’t worry; your secret is safe with me. But Son, this is really affecting your spiritual life. I know because I had a vision last night where Christ told me about you and your life. He told me to tell you that he isn’t like your earthly father. He does not want you to think that you must do something for him to love you. He loves you just the way you are, because if he didn’t he wouldn’t have died on the cross for you. That doesn’t mean that you don’t do anything and take his love for granted. In fact take his love as motivation for you to keep pleasing him. In the past you used to work hard to earn your father’s love. Now however, Christ promises to love you no matter what, you only work just to thank him for that love. Does that make sense?”
The man stood there in complete silence. He had never in his life dreamed of such a thing, to be loved before he has done anything. A lovely feeling washed over his entire body, as if erasing and washing away all the pain, the guilt and the shame he had felt as a young boy. Tears streamed down his face, but for the first time they were tears of happiness, comfort and relief.
That moment changed him forever. Although he never did speak about his childhood, he always knew that there was someone that loved him unconditionally, no matter how many mistakes he made. He knew that there was someone who was always watching him and was there with him when he was being tormented as a child. And because of that he loved Christ dearly and was able to have a life just like everyone else, without having to bear the burden of his past.