i turned on braveheart the other day. once one of my favorite movies of all time.
appendages flying everywhere. faces covered in blood. eyes wild. men screaming like animals. vengeance. killing. rage…it was turning my blood cold.
i found myself turning off the tv. i couldn’t take it anymore.
it’s not that i’m a total pansy when it comes to that stuff (CONFESSION: even though i did walk out of the hunger games), but my taste and tolerance for it has certainly changed. i was a different person a few years ago. i thoroughly enjoyed violence and sensuality. but these past few years, it’s really toned down. it’s a change i didn’t look for…it just happened. and as i reflected on it, it triggered some things.
i’ve never focused much on the violence of my childhood. it occurred in the early years of my mom’s second marriage, as i went through middle school. the bruises have long since healed and disappeared, so i’ve spent energy on healing from the sexual and psychological abuse.
i see myself sitting on the school bus, carrying such a knot of fear and anxiety in my stomach. i hated going home. i never knew what to expect: what mood he would be in, if there had been something i did or didn’t do that had set him off while i was away. if i saw his car in the driveway, my legs would turn to jell-o. the blood flow would rush to my head and be sent tingling through my body. my feet would carry like cement blocks as i walked through the back door of the house.
i remember how he would get such a wild look in his eyes…and i’m not just saying that to be dramatic. it bordered on the demonic. it made me want to shrink and disappear from this world. he would pull our hair, yanking it so hard it would bruise our scalps and leave strands tangled in his fingers. i had some rude awakenings in the early morning hours. my brother often received the brunt of it whenever our stepfather came home from work late at night. my sister and i would lay on her beds, tears streaming down our cheeks…sometimes he visited us, sometimes he didn’t.
once i took a bite of a doughnut on the counter without asking. he grabbed the back of my head and shoved my face into it, pressing it hard against the counter top. i can still see my face in the bathroom mirror, a mess of chocolate frosting and tears.
one morning i was pulled (literally) out of bed to begin doing some yard work out front. i began on an empty stomach, and started to feel sick not long into the chore. so i did what none of us dared to do…returned to the house. i knocked on their bedroom door and was yanked inside. i had a thermometer shoved in my mouth and watched in fear as his temper escalated. he picked me up by my collar and flung me against the closet door. the thermometer broke in my mouth. once they were assured i hadn’t swallowed any of the mercury, i was given a bowl of corn flakes, and then sent back outside.
my hands are trembling as i recall all this. it’s almost hard to believe that was my life at one point. constantly living in fear. my whole world revolving around one single man: his mannerisms, his tones, his expressions, his moods. and there’s so much i don’t remember…like something is stopping me. i witnessed such evil, such violence…and maybe that’s why i have to turn the tv off every now and then. it gets to be too much sometimes. it’s like i’ve seen enough.
“…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (phillipians 4:8, nasb)
but then i think of Christ, and the violence that was inflicted upon Him. unjust, cruel, inexcusable…but all for our sakes. to Him, it was necessary. out of love. love for us.
…dwell on these things.
let me know if this train of thoughts makes any sense to you. i’m not sure that it does to me...