A house destroyed… Pictures ripped off walls, TVs thrown off their stands and cracked, a broken kitchen table… It looks like a home invasion crime scene. The three youngest are shaking. The oldest is angry and protective. Standing in the middle is a frightened Mom try to reason with her very ill unmedicated husband.
The police are called. It’s not their first visit to the home. The harsh words of our legal system roll out the officer’s mouth without any hint of sympathy he says, “Mam, your husband is on the lease. He’s the father of your children. His name is on the van. You are welcome to file an order of protection on Tuesday. But for now, he can do this to his property.” And, with that, the Mom realizes that she is property too. No offer is made of protection. The unmedicated angry husband puts his 3 youngest in the van and drives away. The Mom, the only one working in the house, calls her boss to explain why she’s late again for work. The boss says her son can come with her. Then she calls her friend for a ride to take her to work. It’s Saturday. Tuesday is a long way away.
She is a beautiful woman inside and out. She loves her husband. She loves her children. She is in a place financially where after years of struggle they are finally making it. They are making it all on her. Her husband is unable to hold a job for more than a month. He struggles when confronted with even the smallest obstacle like running out of milk. He is demanding and angry.
Sunday morning, he drives to her work place and waits for her. She goes home with him calmly. Tuesday is a long way from here.
Sunday afternoon, a window of opportunity opens and she is able to get out of the house with all her children.
She is strong today. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time they’ve gotten away.
How does this become a life? This angry raging father was brought up in a home of rage and abuse until one day, his mother couldn’t handle life anymore so she took drugs to ease her pain. Eventually she was so numb, her children were taken and placed in the foster care system. This boy of the system became a grown man. He found his way into the heart of a woman who thought she could love him enough to change him. She never thought their life together would mean counting down the hours til Tuesday.
Children learn what they live. What are these children learning? Is there a chance the history of the Father may grow to be reality in the son? Will the three youngest grow up respecting men?
It’s only Sunday. This family lives in Bethel. These children attend school with our children. This is reality for more than one family in Bethel. But you don’t know, unless you make an effort to know your neighbor.