Three incidents lately remind me that child abuse aftermaths last a life time. One lady tells me of how her step father beat her, but not her siblings. He singled her out. She sighs, "It kept him off my mother." On the outside, she is coiffed, beautiful- she's beautiful inside as well, lives in luxury now. But fifty years later, even though she was homecoming queen and popular, the emotional scars remind her that somehow she is not worthy. We never knew her pain, then, or even later as an adult with her sparkly eyes and sweet composure. She confided in me only recently.
A comment on my sister's post about missing our dad's hugs from another woman stated her dad never hugged her. I don't know if it were abuse or just some men have problems showing affection. Still, the loss screams in her written word.
A friend today recalls how she was raised in an alcoholic family. The beatings, the screaming, and the abuse sound like too many stories. She affirmed since she met Jesus, she determined it would stop in her generation. Her grandchildren are taught love and acceptance. She doesn't bite the bait her sister throws out to fight anymore. Jesus makes the difference.
These abuses happened long ago. Like my resident, who will be ninety six in October, I wrote about before. The memories don't fade. They haunt in the quiet evening hours, as she sits with her thoughts. I see her head bowed, she's not reading, but she bringing back those hurts, wondering what she did to deserve the emotional neglect. I hug her when I see that hunched, lonely position, if I'm there. A hug brings the smile, but never erases her hurt. I tell her about Jesus. I feel she may slowly be getting it.
When an adult is mean to you, like a clerk in a store, remember she may be hurting, too. Show that little extra kindness. Offer a prayer. Tell her about how Jesus loves you and loves her as well. We may not change the world, but one person may be who we need to love.