So What’s the Story?

20 07 2014

When we define the word “understanding” as an adjective, we get the definition “sympathetically aware of other people’s feelings; tolerant and forgiving.”Pearl and Price2

There are three moments in my life I like to concentrate on tonight that if understanding had been defined like this the outcomes would have perhaps been different.

The first incident occurred when I was about 11 years old; my Great Aunt Pearl worked the afternoon shift at a factory there in our hometown of Fremont. Every Friday she would leave early to do shopping at the grocery store before her work day began. In the summer it would be my job to follow her one hour later and retrieve the groceries that would be in our two wheel cart inside the door of the store. I would then wheel the cart home and unload the food for the week. I came to hate this weekly chore, not because of the work involved, but because of two older boys that enjoyed giving me a hard time whenever they saw me. They got their jollies calling me names and making insulting remarks about having the grocery cart; one of their favorite things to aggravate me was run up and grab something out of the cart and give it a toss so I would have to chase it down. I wanted to yell at these two “tough guys” and say, “This is the only way we have to get food to our house, okay?!!” But something told me they just wouldn’t understand.

Then came the time I looked forward to what every other teenager who turned 16 did, taking driver’s education so I could get my license. As joyous of an event I had hoped it would be, the contrary proved to be the rule. Without a doubt I was the worse driver in my class. If there was a mistake to make I did it, and as the class wore on I became a nervous wreck every time it was my turn to drive. The instructor wasn’t a whole lot of help; seeing my ability or lack of, he had little patience with me. On more than one occasion my turn behind the wheel would be cut short quite abruptly with the teacher yelling for the next student to switch places with me. When the end of summer semester came, he informed me I had done well enough to pass but he wished he didn’t have to because he was sure I would be something dangerous someday; his final words were a stern warning to grow up and get serious about the responsibility that driving was. Just a few short weeks later I was involved in a fender bender where I backed into another car, this got my name in the paper and license suspended for a week (Only suspension I’ve ever had BTW). A teacher that attended the same church as me told me my former instructor reveled in the fact that he was “right” about me and proceeded to tell his current D.Ed. classes and others to follow how right he was about me. I wanted to go to him and say, “Eo you know the very first car in my life that I sat behind the wheel was in your class?” No one drove in my family (also the reason we hauled our groceries via shopping cart), so I had no prior experience and little help after I began. I wanted to tell him that, but something said he just wouldn’t understand.

Without a doubt the time I look back on and see it as the “dark years” was when my Great Uncle Price (shown in the picture) was still alive and I suffered almost daily from his hands physical or mental abuse; I can clearly say he is the only person I ever truly hated. Because of him I suffered countless emotional problems for years, some to this day I struggle with on occasion. In Price’s last year he was very sick and had to stay in bed in his room, a place I entered only once during that time. When he passed away there was no sadness in me, still only anger and hate for what he did to me. His wife, my Great Aunt Pearl knew how I felt and once said to me, “If you knew how Price was raised, you’d understand better why he was the way he was.” But the truth of the matter was that I felt I couldn’t understand and frankly I didn’t want to understand. I only wanted to be happy in the fact that he was gone and could no longer hurt me; if only it was that easy. In a previous story I explained that no matter how long my Uncle Price was gone; he continued to hurt me because I would relive those days over and over. It wasn’t until I learned to forgive, truly forgive him for what he had done that I finally experienced peace in my life. What was an element to finally forgiving and laying all that garbage to the side? W ell as Pearl tried to tell me so many years prior, it was understanding the man more than I already did. When I pursued this hidden knowledge, I learned that Price was the oldest child from a very large family. Because of his position as the oldest he was expected to produce and work like a man from a young age. Pearl told me that he once told her he never once can remember hearing either of his parents telling him they loved him or even give a hug of affection. It seems he was raised up hard and cold and stayed that way all of his life. Suddenly a light came on in me; now it made sense like it never did before. It didn’t excuse him for what he did, but at least now I could see how this man got to be the way he was. I understood and when I finally understood, then I was able to forgive.

It’s easy to have a misconception about someone or something because of a lack of understanding. Another way of putting it is judging and I follow the teaching of a certain Book of how God views that. In one spot He tells us about looking at the speck in one person’s eye when we can’t see the log in our own; another place He says “judge not——,” (I’ll let you look up the rest of it.)

During the moments in life when I’ve taken the time to know and understand an individual and his or her ways, I’ve had a much better relationship with them. It doesn’t guarantee every situation will be successful; some damage runs deep and can almost seem irreversible. But if you gain nothing else, I’d encourage you to use it as a tool for your own life on how to act and interact with others. I will boldly state that if it wasn’t for learning understanding and forgiveness that came to me when I became a Christian, I probably wouldn’t be much better than my dear uncle.

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” C.S. Lewis

As each of us “Travel the Rock Road” the question should not be, ‘Can we avoid people with negative input into our lives,’ but rather what do we do to combat that negativity while learning how to care for the individual? For me the answer is two-fold; understand them and then forgive them. Works for me, Understand?!!

Don’t know if I’ll be here next week, going on a short excursion with my Lady and three little people the first of the week and then meeting up with the rest of the family for camping the last few days.

Until we come together again, never forget how special you are, to me, but especially to God.

Blessings to you and your loved ones!!!







One response

21 07 2014
Diana Stull

When you look back and see where a person comes from, it is a lot easier to forgive them for what they do. If they haven’t been given the Blessing from their parents it is hard for them to move on in life, in a positive way. I had a hard up bringing, but when I saw how my parents were raised. It was easier for me to move on.I saw that they made it a little better for us then we had and it. Then in marriage I became saved and we gave out children a better start then we had. Forgiveness of others past is hard. God is so good to forgives us. Thank you John for sharing from your heart.

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