In my mind I am coming up with all sorts of reasons why the good looking blond haired girl should not turn up. I had convinced myself that there was nothing interesting or appealing about myself, I had a very poor self image and an equal lack of self esteem. I really believed that I did not have very much to offer anyone.
Around this time I was to discover what it felt like to be lonely. My father had been convicted of an offence that occurred when he was drunk and he was sent to prison. I cannot remember how long his sentence lasted but I think it was more than a year. I thought it would be easier to live at home without having to contend with an alcoholic father but I was to learn differently.
On one memorable occasion I had been invited to a birthday party by a girl in the church, there were quite a lot of other young people from the church there as well. The house that the party was held in was quite beautiful, there was an outdoor pool, large garden and the interior of the house was immaculate. I tried not to feel envious of the host but I lost the battle. Everything looked perfect and I was beginning to feel uncomfortable with my idyllic surroundings. As the night progressed I felt more and more out of place.
I was glad when the party was over, or at least I thought I was until I returned home. When I opened the door I entered a cold dark environment, everything was very quiet. I thought that I liked quiet, I did for a while but there comes a time when you crave company even if it is perhaps annoying at times. I switched the light on in the living room and the very first thing that caught my attention was the large square carpet in the middle of the floor that had a huge hole in the centre of it.
From there I focused on the glass front fire that had no life in it but it too had a large hole in it caused by my dad when he tripped on the carpet when he was drunk and his hand went through the glass front and he very severely burnt his hand. From there the yellow tainted paint work and wallpaper that was the result of much cigarette smoke also came into focus. This was far removed from the decor of the house where the party had been but in a sense it was more comfortable here, this was the lot that I felt I rightly deserved.
Suddenly I found myself being challenged by God, I was having a very powerful pity party but God was having none of it. He began showing me that I was ungrateful for the things that I had and I needed to stop focusing on the things that I did not have. He reminded me that there were many in the world with no solid roof over their head, many would have been glad of a carpet, even one with a hole in it. I said sorry and thanked God for what he had provided for me and the pity party came to an abrupt end. Giving thanks to God for what we have and not moaning about what we don’t have is far more pleasing to God.
Would she or wouldn’t she turn up. I walked very nervously around the corner to the church not really holding out much hope that someone would be there waiting. I did not want to feel embarrassed and almost did not go but the thought of her turning up and me not turning up felt worse than the embarrassment. To my surprise and some relief there she was waiting at the gates of the church as arranged by her friend. I cannot remember much about our first real conversation together but it was not as scary as I had envisaged.
I gradually felt more and more comfortable being with the blond haired girl and we started to see each other regularly. Her background was entirely different from mine. She had two Christian parents and was brought up in a good home, she was a bit of a home bird and I was the outdoor type.
I had stopped playing football but had started playing cricket for a local team called Victoria. I started in the seconds and soon progressed to the first team as wicket keeper, there seemed to be something inside me that loved to dive all over the place. A good test to find out if a girl is seriously interested in you is if she turns up to watch you play cricket on a Saturday afternoon. Almost every home game she would be there watching me play.
Things were getting serious; I was invited to her house for dinner. I think her parents just wanted to check me out, it was a memorable experience. Her mum was a good cook and baked good stuff as well, the problem was that one of the vegetables on my plate I had never eaten and could not stand, it was cabbage. Her mum had no idea that I detested the stuff but she knew and told me to leave it. Someone had told me that first impressions were very important so I somehow managed to eat the cabbage and diplomatically declined seconds. I think her mum made it a personal mission to try and fill me out as they say.
To shorten the story the blond haired girl called Helen became very precious to me. We were spending more and more time together, she left her parents church as did her friend and attended and became members of my church. I introduced her to fishing and shooting but her home bird tendencies won the day. For the first time in my life I could really connect and share many of my feelings and difficulties with a girl that cared about me and accepted me for who I was, with my many as yet unsolved issues.
I really believed that God had provided me with someone who I could possibly share the rest of my life with until out of the blue and for no reason that I can remember I told Helen that I would have to break up with her. She was devastated and broke down wanting to know what she had done wrong. I tried to explain to her that she had not done anything wrong but the problems lay solely with me.
I don’t know why it suddenly happened but I was overwhelmed with the fear of me getting married, having children and me then turning out to be like my father and making every one’s life a misery. I could not cope with the possibility of that happening and the only solution that seemed logical to me was never to get married and have children. The other thing that I could not face up to was the possibility of Helen cheating on me and deserting me. My past childhood experiences were starting to rob me of my future.
I think Helen spoke to our Pastor about the situation and we met together and discussed the way I was feeling. As usual he had the right words to say from scripture and he reassured me that in Christ I was a new creation and he could help me to live a life that was pleasing to him and be free from the bondage of sin. His talk worked, we were married on the 7/9/1979, thirty five years ago this year. God provided us with two wonderful girls and also four wonderful grandchildren. We thank God for the family that he has provided for us and for the blessings that they all are to us.
“To God be the glory great things he has done”.