Since Steve doesn’t have his own blog, here is his contribution to the Group Writing Project:
Initially I felt left out on this post. I come from a broken home where my most vivid memory from childhood is sitting at the living room window, looking out on the dark night, and watching my father carrying his suitcase to his girlfriend’s car for the final time.
One of my greatest shocks was as a teenager, proofreading an essay my mother had written, discovering where she talked about the fact that she’d nearly aborted me.
My childhood was filled with a lot of moving from place to place, a fair amount of violence, and an unimaginable amount of emotional abuse.
It’s probably not a surprise that overall, my memories of my childhood are not particularly fond, and even those which are dear, are tinged with a sense of sadness…of what might have been.
One of the most beautiful things about entering into Christ’s love is the reality of the healing that begins to take place. One of the greatest gifts I’ve been given is that despite the pain, I’ve been able to truly forgive my parents.
I’ve been able to attempt to see them as the fallible human beings they are, to try to understand what crosses they bore that led them to make the choices they did. That has been transformative in my life.
It even gives me the ability to find three things that they did right.
1. They gave me life. This should go without saying, but in the modern Western world it does not. When a husband and wife are already on the verge of divorce, their relationship is already horribly broken, and they find out they are pregnant, they’ve got a ready excuse to eliminate such an unwanted problem. They didn’t use the excuse.
Despite all the mess of their lives, they still saw me as worth bringing into the world. For that, I am thankful beyond words.
2. My mother loved me without conditions. She was negligent, she was irresponsible, she moved away to another state when I was only 13 and I saw her only a couple times a year. Nonetheless, she somehow managed to convey to me that she loved me whether I was good in school or not, whether I was a star athlete or not, and regardless of my ‘accomplishments.’
Her love was not performance or behavior dependent, and as little as we saw each other during my teen years, when we did, she conveyed a deep sense that she was just happy to be around me and accepted me for who I was. This was a great gift she gave me and it has served me well in the relationships I’ve participated in throughout my life.
3. My Dad gave me a love of reading. One of those memories from childhood that was fond was dad taking me on a regular basis to the library. When I asked him a question about the moon, or any other topic I was interested in, it was off to the library we went. I loved having my own library card. I loved bringing a stack of books home to read. I loved it because it was one of the few tender times he provided. It engrained a deep love of reading in my being. Later, when I needed it, books would be my refuge and escape. As an adult, books would be crucial to bringing me into the love of Christ. My love of reading is another gift from my parents, and I thank them for it from the depths of my heart.