and I built a strong deception,
and I locked myself inside of it
for my own protection.
And I sit alone inside myself,
and curse my company.
For this thing that has kept me alive for so long
is now killing me…”
– Bob Bennett, “Lord Of The Past”
I mentioned a post or two ago that there was a bit of a revelation that happened to me last week… it was in my counseling session that we ran into something that I had not even realized. And, the meaning of those words from Bob Bennett were finally clear to me…
I had forgotten what a lonely child I was. I never really fit in, never really had many friends (if any), had tough times in school (definitely was the square peg that had no chance of fitting in the round hole of education at that time…), and was a right-brained visually-oriented bewildered child who had teachers with no idea of what to do with me. So, I spent much of my childhood in solitude. Really good for my imagination, which is what makes me the storyteller I am today, but bad for social skills. Not to mention emotional issues. When my counselor asked if being teased and treated differently by the other kids was something that hurt, I answered that sure, it stung, but I had built such effective armor plating that anything they threw at me had no chance of doing damage.
Yup… armor plating. Didn’t even realize that I would describe it that way. Always thought of myself as fairly open and accepting… without realizing what kind of defenses I had built over the years…
And, the kicker is, those defensive devices are still in place today. The things I turned to, like food, to compensate for being alone most of the time. The sense of anger that still runs underneath everything to this day from being lonely but never expressing it. Always ready to raise the drawbridge, man the ramparts, and launch the first salvo.
Yet here, in 2005, at 46 years of age, things are very different. I have dear friends, a church family that is amazing, and my beloved Vicki, who is wife and soulmate and best friend all wrapped into one. Through God’s grace, I’m not the kid I was back then. I have found my calling at His Kids Radio and a place to serve at our church. God has shown His purpose in many things to build me into who I am today, and who I am becoming in His grace. But the old behaviours, the armor, the defenses – they still are running in auto mode. Always in the background. Ready to respond before I can even think about it.
And so, I’m learning to recognize them. And to remind myself that I simply don’t need them anymore. By God’s grace and loving kindness, the old is gone – the new has come. It isn’t easy. There’s a lot to work on. But it’s a major step in the right direction…
“For this thing that has kept me alive for so long
is now killing me…”
But, by God’s grace, I will live.