Recently, I have been thinking about my dad because the anniversary of his death is coming up. For some reason, I don’t think about it often, but that might be because I have already understood the reason for his death. Ultimately, he was responsible for his own demise. This was because of his experience in the Vietnam War.
He served in Vietnam for only one year, but that year of experience affected him for the rest of his life. As most of us know, Vietnam was a pretty bad war. It affected not only the soldiers that served, but the people back at home and the state of the country as well.
For my dad, I know he had a bad experience over there, but he never talked about it. Whenever I would ask him about the war, he would sort of ignore my question. I’m pretty sure that he never told anyone about everything that happened. Because of what he experienced, he began to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder in the later years of his life. He was able to keep the experience from majorly affecting him until he had children, which added stress to his life and made things worse (not to say that he didn’t love his children. He loved them dearly). I would guess that around the time I was four years old, he started to use food as a coping mechanism for the war.
By the time I was in third grade, he was dangerously overweight and needed gastric bypass surgery. The surgery made his stomach the size of a dime so he was unable to overeat anymore. It was pretty successful in stopping him from overeating, but because he couldn’t use this coping mechanism anymore, he had to find a new one, and he chose alcohol.
My dad began drinking on occasional nights, which soon progressed to every night. He would sit in front of the kitchen TV with a drink, every single night. However, he never physically abused us. He was instead hurtful with his words. He would yell and scream at us when we did something wrong or when we tried to tell him to stop. He said hurtful things to my mom, which she never deserved to hear.
He simply didn’t care about himself anymore. He was hurting physically and emotionally, and the only people he could unleash his hurt on were the ones that loved him. His family. He did this because he knew we would love him regardless of what he was doing. Because of this, he ended up hurting us with the hurt that he held back for so long. He hurt those who loved him the most.
I thought about this today because I was thinking about how much I care about how I act around others. I make sure I don’t hurt people’s feelings, and always worry if I’m being too annoying. But then I realized that I never feel this way about my family because I know that, no matter what, they will always love me.
And then this reminded me of someone we all neglect more than often. Jesus Christ. Recently, I have been so caught up in school that I have neglected to actually sit down and read my Bible for the past week or so. There are so many times when I just do whatever I feel like in disregard to how I should be living. My life has been consumed with friends and you tube videos (some of you obviously know this), and I haven’t taken the time to sit down and actually listen to Jesus.
All he wants is for me to love Him back, to make time for Him, to do everything for the glory of Him. And let me tell you, we definitely owe Him. He died on the cross for us. Yesterday was Good Friday, the day that He died on the cross. Today, He hasn’t risen yet. He is still paying for our sins in hell. We nailed him to the cross. We were cheering for Him, and then we left Him when the crowd was against him. We did everything to possibly go against Him and neglect Him, yet He still died for us.
Romans 5:6-8- “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die-- but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
And in this, I see that we are constantly hurting the one who loves us the most. We know that He will always love us.
Joshua 1:5- “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.”
Jesus is always going to love us, and because we know this, we hurt Him the most. We forget about Him amongst our desires. Every day, we do whatever we want. We surround ourselves with things that try to fill the gap that Jesus leaves when we do not intentionally have Him in our lives.
This was true for my father. It is true for me. And it is true for you. Do the ones who love us the most really deserve to be hurt the most?