This is a story of a grown man who first finds memories of his past in the middle of his life, that are filled with hurts and habits that he didn’t understand. He is repulsed by the thought of parts of his life lost to something that he had no control of as a boy. Intellectually and emotionally he knows he needs to find self-forgiveness, validation, reconciliation and purpose to the incomprehensible hurts he experienced as an 11 year-old boy.
The long lasting effects of the hurts of his childhood ran so deep he could not understand how they impacted his life, his behavior, his self-worth, relationships and a childhood he feels was missed. He spent most of his life wondering which way to go. Through the memories in the darkness he begins to realize his life was filled with the years of self-deprecation. He realized he was numb to emotions living a double life in his head. To protect himself from dealing with the truth of this childhood betrayal he would separate his thoughts from reality.
Living in the darkness was normal. Denial, compulsiveness, addictions and the obsessions of pleasing everyone, served a distraction to accepting the truth. These behaviors became who he was and used as a personal defense protecting his mind, body and spirit from any more hurt.
This man was on a quest to find acceptance from anyone who seemed to care or love him, even if their love was self-serving. He would give and give unconditionally putting his own needs last never acknowledging any of his feelings. He would blow up in anger from the rejection when he felt others were not accepting of him. He would cope by hiding, retracting, running away, arguing or even being mean.
He recognized at age 50 years old, that these behaviors were related to a little boy who was violently and unjustifiably betrayed. A betrayal that he would learn Father God used to create his heart, his compassion to understand others hurts and provides hope for others in recovery.
He would eventually find understanding through faith. Finding God’s purpose in this betrayal, setting him on a journey to share his story of hope, recovery and to inspire others’ healing. Through a process of healing at Living Waters, he would learn how to receive forgiveness, and press his pain, shame and guilt into the cross. He would journey with the most amazing brothers and sisters who moment by moment would push him to the cross and lead him to Jesus. He fell in love with Jesus Christ in a relationship for eternity. He is finding his true self, committing every part of it to Jesus, for the purpose of the glory of God. The first time in his life he understood completely the grace of God.
He was a sweet little 11-year-old boy, so young and innocent. He was the boy who everyone loved, who had a great chubby heart and an enormous smile. He loved others unconditionally and was surrounded by a circle of children he loved to call his friends. He enjoyed making others laugh while always seeking their acceptance. Mature for his age, adults singled him out as a leader who could be trusted to be responsible, honest and loyal. He loved to share of himself.
It is hard to imagine this little boy was repeatedly hurt so violently by 4 young men. This life changing betrayal was the plan of these men in the darkness of the hot summer night. It took weeks of grooming this little boy for a night that would change his heart forever. A betrayal of his body, his mind and his spirit, left this tender heart lost in a world that lacked understanding and acceptance of his broken reality. Threaten, never to tell he would live in years of silence and pain.
The physical, sexual and emotional betrayal was wrong. It was not a game of boys coming of age, not a game of post office, spin the bottle or truth or dare. It was not even a part of the process of a boy becoming a man. It is an undeniable, unjustifiable, illegal crime of robbing the innocence of a young boy’s heart. There is no way that little boy wanted or even had a clue what was going on while he was held down in a canvas tent in the dark of the hot summer night. No way.
Instead he was a child left with emotional hurts, habits and hang-ups that would affect him for the rest of his life.
So this is why I tell my story: This 11 year old boy was me.
- Childhood trauma is real and it can affect anyone even men like me.
- I can share my story now without worry or threat of being hurt again.
- I have been asked to share my story at national conferences, with the intention to lead and give hope to others like me.
- I share because I want to live in a world that is intolerant of childhood physical and emotional abuse.
- I found my way out of the darkness and have been blessed by the Grace of God and the unconditional love of my family, my best friend, my brothers and sisters at Eastbrook Church, Living Waters and those I share my life.
A comment from the writer ….
A Heraldry is an old literary device meaning a story with in a story. If you wish, click the links in the text highlighted in red and read stories leading to the foundation of my Hearldry.