I remember an array of memories from my childhood. In the summer we would leave London in the dead of night when traffic was virtually asleep with the rest of the world. One by one, my father would carry us, his sleeping children and lay us at the back of the car. By the time we eventually opened our eyes, we would be on the motorway; well advanced into the journey to Wales where we had a caravan.
I remember my mother’s stomach becoming so big that it was hard to get my arms around her when I embraced her. She explained that there was a baby inside it. When he was born I kept wondering what was wrong with ‘it’ because between his legs was different to what I had. His poo stunk and he cried too much for something that was so small!
My mother used to make an amazing drink blend of tinned peaches, ice-cream and milk. It had us wishing our tongues were longer so that we could lick the remainder from inside the glass better!
My sister before me and I, often dressed in the same dresses for church; I thought it funny that church folks thought we were twins because my parents joined that church before either of us were born! My elder sister used to make delicious recipes at school in her home economics lessons and bring it home for us to sample. I also remember when she had to rescue my other sister and I when we climbed to the top of the wardrobe in our bedroom and couldn’t get back down again!
I remember when we left our home in London and travelled to Dominica, the island of my parents birth; my heritage. It was our first experience on a plane. In my child’s mind, the journey took forever. At the airport, our aunt greeted us with mangoes; my dress got stained from eating it. It was so sweet and juicy. When we were enrolled in school, I found that I was no longer the one and only black child in
my class (well the entire school!). Racist slurs were a thing of the past and I began to really enjoy school.
My childhood wasn’t perfect, there were some unfortunate things that happened, but that made up a small percentage of it. It was healthy, it was adventurous, and I was loved.
Sometimes, those of us who have had the privilege of a positive upbringing often cannot fathom the toxic former years of others. That an adult would deny a child the opportunity to laugh, grow and explore buggers belief. It is an evil that unfortunately, actually happens.
One must appreciate that we are all products of our childhood; granted there are always exceptions to the rule. There are those who were raised in affirmative homes but somehow they lose their way and became a ‘defective’ product of society. Conversely, there are persons who refuse to succumb to their terrible past; they become a beautiful version of their past. Whether good or bad, our character and values are formed in our early years. It’s engrained within us to the point where we may not even be aware of how entrenched they are.
When we dated, my ex shared much of his childhood with me. It was pretty dismal. His mother was just a teen when she became pregnant with him. This ruined her chances of completing school which is probably why she resented him from day one. She raised him single handedly. In the summer months instead of roaming around the village with the other children, he was exiled to the house. Even though he was
old enough to make a cup of tea or help himself to a snack, she watched everything like a hawk. If there was sugar or coffee missing, he received a beating. If he snuck out and she somehow found out he was beaten. He says that these beatings were for virtually any perceived misdeed, and were frequently done on his head. As an adult he suffered from headaches. When he was still a young boy, his mother emigrated leaving him behind to be passed from relative to relative. It’s no wonder he had
separation anxiety and never really felt settled or felt that he belonged anywhere or to anyone. When he was fed up of moving from home to home, he built a small home for himself on his mother’s property. He struggled through life but was afforded the chance to study abroad. His qualification opened certain doors for him.
I remember thinking how, for someone who had experienced such neglect, he was well adjusted enough to have come so far in life. However, this was the external person. I saw him have conversations with his colleagues and make random jokes with cashiers at the supermarket. I saw his warmth, I felt it. He presented as friendly; an advocate for the underdog, he was a grass roots man. He was a man in the process of healing and wanting to excel and do better. I wanted to be a part of that journey. I didn’t want him to go it alone. If he was already doing this well, I knew he’d be even greater further down the road. He was the embodiment of a new person in the making. I wasn’t about to miss out on this miraculous transformation!
Christ never has and never will force us to change. The choice is always ours. If we recognize that we need His saving grace, He is ever ready to impart it to us. As time rolled by, I realize that my ex-husband liked the idea of change but didn’t have the desire for it. He felt that he was who he was; I had to learn to live with it. I had to discover how to exist within his toxic sphere; endure the insults, the put downs, gaslighting and his indifference. Healing was no longer a pursuit; he wore his brokenness like a badge of honour. The problem was that his brokenness was disintegrating me. He was happy with whom he was; I despised who I was evolving into.
Christ is only too happy to take us on the transformative odyssey of a lifetime! He will unlock our chains, iron out the kinks, and bandage our pain. You just can’t be the same once you have experienced his make-over. He doesn’t charge for this service and he promises to be your forever coach. He won’t judge you, He won’t turn you away. He is just waiting for you to have your first appointment with him, or maybe drop by for a long overdue visit. God is phenomenally awesome!
Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life emerges! 2 Corinthians 5:17The Message Bible