From the very beginning he wasn’t wanted. He was the product of a molestation; a date rape. A somewhat sheltered and naive young lady was asked to a cocktail party. She was flattered...perhaps, even a little giddy to receive such an invitation from the handsome, charming, older gentleman. Although she was 21, she hadn’t had much experience drinking alcoholic beverages. She had never run with a fast crowd...this was all so new to her. To hear her tell it...she doesn’t much remember anything after that. A few drinks...she blacked out...woke up some time later to find out that she had been date raped. I guess the handsome, kind, older gentleman wasn’t so kind after all.

The year was 1959, and in 1959 not too many folks reported those types of things. Too much fear, too much scandal, too much shame. The victim was almost always portrayed as the guilty one. The expedient thing to do was to just get married, put a smile on your face and pretend that everything is O.K. Her life’s direction...her perspective of her future, changed in almost an instant...but, she just needed to grin and bear it. So, she and her male suitor began the life they didn’t want. 

Now, I’m not sure when an infant can first sense that he or she is unwanted. I guess some would claim that a baby knows whether he is loved or not, from the time he is in the womb. I don’t know. What I do know is that from the time this baby was born, he was not considered a little bundle of blessing. To her, unfortunately, he was the constant reminder of a painful event.

I can’t think of anything more tragic for a child, than to feel rejected, unaccepted, unloved, by his or her parent. Coming from a broken home with a history of alcoholism, I experienced a measure of that...but never to the extent that he did. He was looked upon with resentment and disdain from the very beginning. I think in her heart of hearts, she truly loved him, but it was just so hard...so darn difficult to express it.

Like most of us, she had a far from perfect upbringing. To use the buzz-words…she had ‘issues’...came from a ‘dysfunctional’ family. She didn’t have the wisdom or direction to deal with her past problems and pain, let alone, this new predicament she found herself thrust into. It wasn’t long before this marriage founded on quicksand... sank... and she found herself trying to settle into a role as a single mom. She didn’t possess the tools to be a mom, let alone a single mom. The resentment and bitterness festered...more decisions based on emotion and expediency. The little boy passed around like an unwanted burden between mom, dad and grandma. 

It was just a matter of time before the little boy started acting out. The doctors used funny words to describe the boy. He was diagnosed as “hyperkinetic’…‘hyperactive’...a nice way of saying they didn’t know what was wrong with him. He was considered incorrigible at school. Looking back, some of the stories of his antics, on the surface, seem hilarious...but they stem from tragedy. A kid…then a teen...then a young adult, screaming for attention...all the while feeling like he will never measure up enough...to just be loved.

His last interaction with her was 25 years ago. It ended in an argument and a promise that she would never see him again, and she never did. She died in 2007. Five years ago I finally got a hold of him. I hadn’t seen him since I was 17, and the last time I talked to him on the phone, I was 22.

Our conversation was short and somewhat strained. We didn’t know where to begin. I could tell that He still bore such a heavy burden. But his burden now was not so much anger as it was shame. I don’t know what he had done over the last couple decades to try to deal with his pain...but obviously, it hadn’t worked. I could sense the emptiness in him, even from over the phone.

I had spent years searching for him...phone calls, internet search engines, and finally after securing the help of an agency whose specific purpose is to reunite lost loved ones. I made a connection. My only agenda in calling him was to tell him I missed him; to reassure him and tell him I loved him. As the phone call ended, I indeed told him I loved him and he hesitantly responded in kind. I don’t think he was quite ready to commit to something that seemed so foreign to him. I don’t know if he was ready to receive love...don’t know if he was ready to extend love. Again, that was 5 years ago and I haven’t been able to find my brother since.

In Matthew 23:37, Jesus said, “Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers. How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me.” 

I guess I’ve gotten a glimpse of the way Jesus feels. It is so hard to reach someone when they don’t want to be reached. Maybe I understand a little of my brother’s perspective... it’s so hard to receive love when you don’t recognize it.

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