F. Neil Folks: You don’t understand my story
Most of the time, I don’t even understand my own story; how can I expect you to do so?
About all I know is the pain associated with my living. I have little or no trust of adults or others that represent authority. All they’ve done is cause me pain by physical or mental abuse, tell me I am worthless and that I’ll never amount to anything.
I don’t know where I belong, except with others like me. Some counselor told me once “birds of like feather gather together.” I believe them.
Anyone who “tells” me this is what I should or shouldn’t do, I shun them. That someone reminds me of those authority figures in my life, particularly that male who claims he is my dad, who whipped me time and again, for things I don’t understand why he’d done so.
I asked him, and all he’d said is “I told you so” or “I am the boss around here.” I never understood my mistakes.
My family had very little in the way of material things. I never understood what this thing they call “love” is all about. I assumed that what I was getting in this relationship of abuse while growing up was a “normal” life.
I knew nothing about what people call “quality life of good values.” I never was exposed to it, and if I was, I didn’t recognize or understand it. I didn’t know otherwise, just that it seemed to hurt all the time. All I knew was the “parents” are supposed to be the role models, so I followed in their footsteps.
They said I should call upon God the Father to help me. Oh, yeah, if God the Father is anything like my father, I want nothing to do with him.
Where was he when I needed him the most? He sure didn’t answer my prayers for help, or it seemed so.
My parents were alcoholics and used up most of our incoming resources for booze. Quality food was not a high priority on their list.
They said there are programs out there that can help me in my times of poverty. Yes, I can use some help, but I am afraid to ask fearing there may be some strings attached, that I would have to trust them to help me.
Many have told me this in the past and didn’t come through as I envisioned them to do so, or I had to do this or that to get it. Change my lifestyle, they said.
To what? I don’t understand your way of living or its value system. I’ve never been there except walking through your neighborhood or sitting in the back pews of your church.
They represented those “hated authority figures” of my past, and being as it sounded like “orders,” I ain’t going to do it.
I have been told that I was a chaotic person, living a chaotic lifestyle. Looking back over my history, I was conceived in times of chaos between my parents, maturated during those times in my mother’s womb, born into these turbulent times and grew up in them.
So, what do you expect? I also live by many unsaid rules of the family, as well.
It’s much easier for me to live as I do; I understand the past even though it hurts me to live this way.
I don’t understand the future, particularly your way of life. It’s so strange to me right now. I’ll stick with the familiar, thank you. No one has offered to walk with me daily with your value system until I feel a familiarization with it.
What I seek the most right now is for someone who is willing to sit beside me on the curb, maybe buy me a hamburger and a Coke and just listen to my story without judgment. I don’t want your “stuff” at this moment, even though I need it drastically.
I don’t want you to fix me. I already know that I am a sinner by your standards. As I tell my story, I’ll eventually come to understand my story. I already have the answer, but it’s juggled in with my chaos.
Yes, you fear doing this because I mirror to you where you could be in just seconds with wreckage of the economy. There are no guarantees in life as I’ve learned the hard way.
As I’ve been told, this is “the compassion” of our Jesus.
F. Neil Folks is the volunteer spiritual grief companion at the Moffat County Detention Center.