Archives For emptiness

Too Much to Ask?

randomlychad  —  April 22, 2014 — 3 Comments

If the other day I wrote of love being more than they have to give, today I’d like to address the other side of that coin. Namely, how growing up with a marked lack of intimacy creates questions, and puts burdens on others they were not meant to bear. For you see, nature (and here I mean human nature) abhors a vacuum. If we don’t get the mother love and/or the father love we need in our formative years, we look to other people, to tbings, to substances to fill that void.

We put burdens on spouses, and friends, that were simply not meant to bear.

If the questions:

“Daddy, do you love me?” and

“Do have what it takes?”

“Am I pretty?” (in the case of a little girl)

Are met with stony silence, or outright hostility, we naturally question our worth. The inference is that we don’t have what it takes, and we will do what we can to find it. They are all questions asking the same thing:

Am I valuable to you?

If the message is that we’re not, then we’ll go looking. And it’s often a fruitless, and heartbreaking, search for identity. As a husband, and as a man, say that I go to my wife: I’m not going to  get the affirmation of I’m looking for. Because she is a woman, and masculinity is something which is imparted. Besides which, having coming from a broken home, who is role model? My dad, with his philandering? Is that how a woman is to be treated? He took his question to the woman–and still hasn’t found what he’s looking for. Just a string of affairs, and two divorces.

And several disappointed kids.

The cycle of dysfunction set him up to fail, and that is the legacy he has handed down. I have learned I can’t look to him. Yes, looking to God is the answer.

But…

Other than His Word, the Bible, God is largely silent in today’s world. It’s not like we can sit down with Him and have a face-to-face conversation. Oh, sure, we can have a heart-to-heart via prayer. And we know He loves us–the cross proves it. But sometimes we want arms, we need our daddy’s love. Let’s face it our hearts are fickle: when we don’t get what we think we need from:

God

We turn to people

And when people likewise let us down

We turn to things

But the things never satisfy

Leaving us longing for more.

It’s a recursive loop, like a serpent devouring its own tail. It’s nuts to be so needy, but growing up without those loves needs met leaves one very vulnerable to getting on this affirmation treadmill.

Because enough just never is enough.

And I know Jesus is the answer. I just don’t know how. My heart is fickle, and wants to go full on Children of Israel:

At least I knew Egypt, but like song by Sara Groves says, “Those places that used to fit me cannot hold the things I’ve learned. And those roads were closed off to me while my back was turned.”

Maybe it’s a trust issue, you know? Maybe you and I know that God loves us. But maybe we’re just not to sure about his people? Or we view Him like we view our earthly fathers? I just wish He would show up more often and help me make sense of my messy heart.

Is that too much to ask?

What do you think?

A Boy and His Drug

randomlychad  —  August 27, 2012 — 11 Comments

'Porno Cherry' photo (c) 2008, Anthony Easton - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/Last week, in my post “Do You Want to Make Love?,” I wrote:

“Though he didn’t have the words at the time, he medicated the pain away with a drug already known to him:

Pornography.”

This is the story of a boy and his drug.

It was 1979. Though there had been wounds, and indeed misunderstandings, the red-headed boy was largely happy. The future lay before him. Like James Bond in Moonraker, perhaps he could one day head out into space? There were still possibilities in those days: His family was yet whole, and while not perfect–not by a long stretch–there was security in that. His dad, though he didn’t know how to be one, was at least there. Most of the time, anyway.

Though he didn’t quite cheer his son’s successes, he wasn’t yet veiled away, lost in a cloud of unemployment, alcohol, and affairs. But soon he would be lost in the fog, unable to cope with his diminishing glory. From youngest plant manager in his company’s history, to the shuttering of the plant–all in the span of a few short years.

He was a man, carrying a wounded boy of his own inside, who didn’t know who he was apart from his accomplishments. His very identify was assaulted.

And when his sensitive older son began to intuit that something was up, a wall, veiling: Dad was lost to him. It was then, in midst of questions he couldn’t voice, the boy found Eve.

Nature, and Satan, are alike in that both abhor vacuums. The boy knew an ache, but didn’t have to words, or the maturity, to put a finger on his soul’s deepest need. So when the counterfeit offered itself–cheap, easy, free–his heart leapt within him! Oh, he came by it innocently enough: there at the barber shop, amongst the combs immersed in jars of blue sanitizer, the sounds of shears and clippers, the smells of talc and hair, the barber with his beard trimmed just so, in his bright, starched white shirt. There she was, amidst all the other magazines–People, Us, Life:
Playboy.

It’s very name was evocative: it emanated cool, and stood out like a tall drink of iced water on am arid Arizona day. Whatever it was, it promised refreshment to a ten year-old’s parched soul. Ah! The glories of it! Eve was beautiful! And the feelings stirred inside? The boy didn’t know them, but he did know:

He felt alive. For the first time in sometime, he felt alive. And his mother was with him, there at the barber shop, approving of his burgeoning “curiosity.”

If only she knew. Knew just how rent the fabric of her young son’s soul was. Would things have turned out differently?

Maybe. But that’s a question without answer; what was, was this:

The boy, once entranced, shortly thereafter was allowed to take his favorite magazine home. And not too much later–still ten, maybe eleven–had a subscription in his name to Mr. Hefner’s gentleman’s magazine.

All with his mother’s approval. His dad neither knew, nor cared.

—————–

Fast forward a few years:

When an older cousin moved in, the boy–Chad–inherited his magazines. The hook was baited, and he was reeled in like a fish without any fight: for there was no resistance left in Him.

Eve was his religion. His room became a shrine to her mystique, her allure. Where concert tickets, and band posters, had been was her picture–in all its varying forms:

Blone, brunette, redhead, black, white, asian–he loved her. Loved that she made him feel alive. And she was easy, too: he could take from Eve whenever he needed, and she never asked for anything in return.

A setup straight from the very pits of Hell.

And along called “normal,” “healthy,” “curiosity.”

It was anything but. The boy become a man struggle to this day to grapple with the reality of how deeply he was allowed to get into pornography. That his involvement was encouraged, and when it became worship, was ignored. For it was: when the centerfolds went up on his bedroom wall, his mom’s solution was simple:

Close the door.

And her a counselor, a therapist, a woman adept in helping others find hope and healing in their pain.

Her solution was denial.

But to fair, she had no hope in her heart at the time, had watched her marriage of sixteen years crumble, and die. Her own wounds clouded her eyes. Because with dad gone, and with him any hope of learning of healthy sexuality, she was on her own. His leaving took her away from the boy and his younger brother, too.

Despite her learning, and years of experience, she didn’t know how to raise boys. Didn’t know the wound, and couldn’t answer the question: do I have what it takes as a man?

All our little family of three could do was hold onto what we had, and find solace wherever we could.

The boy’s–my–hope, comfort, solace, peace was in pornography. It became my drug of choice: when life became hard, when the questions screamed the loudest, when God seemed far away. Make no mistake: it was never about sex, but about life, about feeling alive, when I felt dead inside. Which is to say that it was idolatry. For what is worship if not a turning towards something for life? Whatever we turn to–whether it be porn, sports, technology, cars, music, food–for life instead of God is an idol. When that thing, whatever it is, takes His place, we are in deadly danger. (Look in the coming days for a post on the devastating effect this had later in life when I thought I had freedom).

It was a long, long time before anyone told me any better.

Have any of you ever been there? Where have you turned to whatever–instead of God–for life?