One Sunday, some 20 years ago
I let my chin sink into my chest and the tears run silently down my nose. I tried to drown out the sear of your voice, the gravely dig of your words.
You wanted to get Taco Bell, if memory serves me. You always had to have fast food after church — like some payment for ripping yourself out of your morning on the couch playing video games and attend church with your family.
I know it was hard for you — even though I’d done all the work of lifting spirits, dressing our boys, and encouraging us along the path of “happy family.”
“Why aren’t you answering me?!” you screamed at me. The kids were silent in the backseat. They’d heard it all before and were likely just hoping for tacos or for it all to blow over.
“I am praying.” I answered quietly, desperately trying to get out of the conversation, for it to die down if I agreed that yes we should all go get tacos. I can still remember your exact order. No tomatoes. God help us if they put the tomatoes.
“God hates you. If he was here he’d spit in your face.” You growled at me. I am sure there was another statement about me being “disgusting” but the tears drown out that memory.
I don’t remember if we went for Taco Bell.
I don’t remember if the kids started crying or if there was any yelling or if you tried to choke me from across the car that day. But I remember those words.
It’s been a long time since I have been to church. And a great many years since that day when I got my family up and to church on time and then taught an adult Sunday School class to the “Pairs and Spares” class. I don’t remember what I taught that morning.
I don’t know why it is hard now for me to get u p on time for church. Given, we live in a different area far from the church family I grew up with — but I could find another.
But it is hard to get on a dress or a skirt and look in the mirror and not believe your words.
I know down deep that God does not hate me. That I do not disgust him — but why the words still circle my memory.
“God hates you. If he was here he’d spit in your face.”
Your words live with me no matter how far away from you I get.
A note to anyone reading: Abusive words stay with you long after the bruises on you heal. Remember this. Be loving with your words — no matter how angry or disturbed you are. And if you are hurting people like this, do the world a favor and get some therapy.