Revulsion churned within me as I stared at his meticulously manicured hands, so clean and so pale. The flat fingers of his left hand were pressed against rule lined paper lying on the kitchen table; high school math problems were being solved by the pencil he held in his right. Enunciating carefully, exaggerated patience underlying his soft, controlled voice, he droned on about things of which I had no interest. His words receded, becoming indistinct and meaningless. Against this white noise backdrop as clear as the sounding of a bell, his breath wheezed quietly through his large nose, soft odd clicking sounds periodically slid from his mouth as his tongue and full lips formed words. Hatred welled from unknown depths. Desiring to shove myself away and run, I obediently stayed…after all, he was my father.
Stifling silence surrounded him and his family room chair, inhaling and exhaling was all I could hear. My heart in my throat, I quickly moved to pass him…would I make it? His hand shot out and grabbed my teenage arm causing my skin to crawl. “Kathleen”, he murmured. I froze. Moving ever so slowly his hand slid down to my wrist. Sad, longing ice blue eyes met mine. Lowering my head, I backed away; he released his hold reluctantly. Numb, I slipped away.
Across the kitchen he hesitantly and awkwardly approached, a tentative expression which pled for me to like him on his countenance. Inwardly shrinking from him I waited. Placing his hand on my shoulder, he drew close, his wet kiss engulfing my clenched lips. Smothered by his closeness and repelled by his affection, another nail was hammered into the coffin of my soul. Dully I stared at the cornfields ripening in the warm sun beyond the dirty family room windows. Oh for that beauty to penetrate the stifling darkness that was within. Hopelessly I stood, knowing my side of the glass panes was reality in this home of unending pain.
“Why does she look at me that way?” my father asked my mother with deceitful intent, speaking as though I were not in the room, yet his darkened eyes bored into mine. Not knowing why, I glared at him with loathing. Too much to bear, the hell of my young life with him was buried in the hidden recesses of my mind.
Only years later, with Jesus as my guide and light, would I dare enter those labyrinths of unspeakable horror. There, as we walked together (many times He carried me), He would pick up the pieces of my shattered life scattered throughout the underground tunnels and caverns to gently and gradually knit me back together….from the inside out. So much has transpired since beginning this journey; so far has He brought me. Calling me out of darkness into His wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9), my life has been transformed, gradually becoming brighter and brighter through the glory of His Son, my Savior and Lord.