I remember sitting there at the end of my drive, trying to work out why I could not go on the bike ride with my sister and father. I had a bike, I wanted a ride - why exclude me? It was all so unfair. I cried buckets that night, although I was not really sure what the immense outpouring of grief was about. Deep down I knew the reasons I was excluded. I was only five years old, whereas my sister was eight. I only had a little tricycle - whereas she had a proper two-wheeled bike. So why the sadness? Even as I wondered this, I felt a kind of warmth come over me. I thought it must be God come to comfort me - finally I slept.
All I can say here is that there were reasons. There always are. They were the same reasons when three years later I again cried and cried. We were home after a long trip away and I was unwell. Instead of just going to bed and dealing with it - I sat on the toilet and cried loudly. This was the first time since the last time I spoke of. I didn't cry often in a load and attention grabbing way. I was going full bore - deep guttural screams and cries from a child who was in despair. Once again, finally, the warmth came - like an angel to console me. I crept through to my bedroom and enjoyed the virus more conventionally from then onwards.
On both these occasions it was as if all the sadness of all the years ran right through me. I cried inconsolably, as if the world would end if I stopped crying. I also cried in the hope my parents would see what was wrong and set it right. As it was, well... that was not going to happen. I felt so dirty, like it was all my fault as well - I had wanted to let it all out in one massive sorrowful and regretful cry. Maybe God would hear me and forgive me, at least. I knew I was not fit to be the Christian I was told I had to be.
I think of him often these days - that sad and frightened little boy. It's not difficult, because he still lives deep inside me. Still sad - still scared of what the world might do to him. Scared to truly exercise his power lest he lose those he loves, or who he thinks he loves. Unsure of what love truly means, because those who say they love him the most, do him the worst harm.
Now, all that is gone now. My sick and unstable family unit has been shut down for good, but somehow the damage remains for us all. We try to see each other sometimes and be polite - try to show we care, and we do... It just never really works out. I probably sound like I am all grounded and sorted now - that I have worked through my demons. I tell you the truth, if anyone with big issues truly looks inside themselves and tries to sort things out, all it does for a very long time is make things worse. The lid is taken off the raging furnace and we glance down as our eyebrows are singed clean off. Shut down? As a unit maybe, but the memories remain. The feeling of being misdirected, cheated and interfered with never quite goes away.
I watched Ashes to Ashes today - 3 episodes. All set in the 1980s. My time. The time when I was young and when I had options. A time when I could have prevented the worst things that happened in my life. I could have waited before getting married - avoided my first big life hurdle. Who knows what else might have changed then?
Then I realised how stupid such talk is - and it is as stupid for you as it is for me. We cannot change ourselves by changing events. The cast of characters might have been different, but we would have affected them and they us in similar ways. What really counts is what we do NOW. This is our big chance. It is never all lost - never all bleak. Goodness, the memories hurt and the strains tell, but right now we can actually tinker with history, even if it is just a little bit. As soon as now passes, our chance is gone.
For myself, I can go back in my mind to 1970 and hear myself crying those awful tears. I never realised this before but someone /can/ hear them - echoing through the years. Me. Again in 1973, I can hear them again, just as clearly. I can listen to what my own younger self is trying so desperately to tell me and yes, I can offer him some comfort. In my wildest dreams, I would like to believe that the beautiful warmth I felt back then was me eventually realising my own needs and taking steps to meet them. Caring for myself at last.
Why am I telling you all this? Well, apart from this being a blog, and it's kinda my call how emotionally indulgent I am, there is a more altruistic reason. Is there a message you left yourself in your own memories? What did you do, what happened? What can you do now to meet the needs of your own frightened youngster. They may need your help. Maybe then your memories will subtly change and you, too, with have a memory of a beautiful warmth coming to you at your bleakest moments.
Either that, or you missed the start of your favourite program through reading this. Sorry.