An unexpected buried memory became instant reality. I remembered being seven and wanting to know if God was real, but I was still questioning the elements of proof of his existence. My parents always encouraged questioning as a viable way to learn. So it was arranged; a meeting with the Father of our local church, to ask the most qualified person around for the truth about God.
I excitedly attended this educational meeting. My mother even bought a yellow pantsuit with white lace and embroidered flowers for this special occasion. After I was dropped off, the meeting began with the recitation of certain excerpts from the Bible. Periodically the Father would explain to me what I was reading. As I admired the tremendous collection of books I thought, “What a smart man this priest must be.” I was flattered that someone so smart was taking time to teach me specially. I even remember how much I liked the clean, old churchy smell of the office.
I’m not sure how long we were there・the Father picked me up off the chair next to him and placed me gently onto his lap. As I had often done this with my grandfather, it didn’t seem very unusual. I continued to read while he helped me with the words I couldn’t pronounce. I can’t remember much from this point, but he began to put his hands in my pants. I don’t even know if I objected or resisted or kept on reading; I don’t even remember getting picked up to go home.
Once at home I went into my mother’s room; she was interested to hear of my enlightening experience. Through a period of casual discussion I described the strange thing the Father had done to me. I can still feel the sensation of the mattress on my mother’s bed where we were sitting as it sank, like the weight of five people being lowered onto the mattress beside me where we were sitting.
My mother was great. She calmly listened and carefully coaxed the details out as she sat with this increasingly horrified look on her face. When I noticed her expression I asked her to promise not to tell daddy because he would be angry with me for letting something like that happen. She quickly promised and just as quickly got up and said she’d be right back.
I waited only a few minutes for fear of her telling daddy. I went downstairs and found my father and older brother putting on their jackets. My father’s face was as red as it gets when he’s really angry. I became immediately furious with my mother that she told and broke her promise. It was strange, but my emotions were lashing out at everyone and everything except what had happened to me. I wanted to know why all of these bad things happened to block out the importance of my need to know the truth about God.
That had been the last of it. As it turned out no one in the family had to go to church anymore. My mother even gave away that beautiful yellow outfit. At the time I was angry, but my mother convinced me it was too small. I even found out that the Father had been made to move away. Periodically I attended my best friend’s church with her; just so we could see how long we could sit without laughing at nothing. As I grew up, I slowly devised my own theory about the truth of God・that God has a unique and personal relationship with each of his children in any way we choose.
With this thought, a slow feeling of resolution came over me and the terror was over. As the nightmare subsided, I finally entered the office to begin the prenuptial meeting with one of the most genuine speakers of God’s word I believe I will ever meet. My marriage may not have survived, but my faith in God will certainly endure.
After we left the meeting I felt a renewed faith in the potential gold of mankind. And realized, that from the pains in my life I have grown into a strong, independent human being with a great capacity to give strength to those whose pains have not yet been resolved.
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