Don’t lose your grip on Love and Loyalty. Tie them around your neck; carve their initials on your heart. Earn a reputation for living well in God’s eyes and the eyes of the people. Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Proverbs 3:3-4 The Message
Haunted by what he saw and experienced with the war, Vinnie came home a changed man. He was no longer the loving husband and father. Because of what his wife had done in spending all the money he had saved to come home to, she was the one that received the brunt of his anger and frustration.
Alcohol became Vinnie’s choice to self-medicate. Spending many nights at the bar, drinking with a brother or friends, he would come home loud and boisterous. The alcohol would bring out a side to him that was evil. A behavior that would eventually trickle down from his wife to his children.
One of the most horrific stories Ben told me, occurred when he was about 16 yrs old. After a long night of drinking with his buddies at the bar, Vinnie came home in a surly mood. He had actually gotten into a fight with one of the other patrons at the bar before coming home. His mother had tucked the younger children into bed and had gone to bed herself before her husband came home. Drunk, loud-mouthed and in a mood to pick a fight,Vinnie roared into their bedroom.
When his wife wouldn’t fight with him, he began to slap her and eventually he got completely out of control by raping her. By this time, the noise of the altercation had some of the younger children crying while the older children came to see what was going on. Ben, the eldest, saw what was going on and began to try to talk his Dad down from the angry place he was at. He would do anything to get the attention away from his poor mother. At first his dad ignored him. But when Ben stepped in between his mother and father that was all Vinnie would take.
Immediately Vinnie hit Ben with a powerful blow to the stomach. As Ben was doubled over in pain, Tess ran to his side to make sure he was okay. This just enraged Vinnie all the more. He grabbed Ben in a headlock and dragged him outside and down to the horse tank by the corral. All the while Ben begged his father to let him go. By this time there was no reasoning with Vinnie.
Vinnie plunged Ben’s head into the cold water and held it there for what seemed an eternity. Ben gasped for air as his father pulled him up out of the water time and time again. Each time as Ben was being held under the water, he struggled to be free from his father’s iron grip. Amidst his father’s curse words and threats of murder and due to the fact Vinnie was drunk, Ben was finally able to escape.
Ben went into the house again determined to make sure his mother was okay. Little did he know that his father was hot on his trail. Vinnie came into the house in a blind rage. He grabbed Ben by the arm and swung him around hitting him in the jaw. As Ben lay on the floor dazed, Vinnie got him in a chokehold around the neck once again.
Vinnie dragged Ben to the bedroom swearing at him in the process. Ben tried to pull free and even reason with his father, but to no avail. Vinnie knew there was a .38 special handgun lying in the bedside table in the bedroom. When Vinnie reached for the gun in the drawer, Ben tried once more to get away from his fathers’ grip. During this struggle, Vinnie just fell into a deeper rage.
Still holding Ben in a headlock, Vinnie threw Ben to the floor to his knees. Vinnie began shouting at Ben. He called him every bad name he could think of and ridiculed him beyond belief. But the thing that stuck with Ben through the years was when his father stuck the .38 pistol to his son’s temple, threatening to kill him.
Ben’s mother, Tess began to beg for Ben’s life. She even offered herself in his place. Anything to keep the peace! Eventually, Vinnie let Ben loose. But, not before Ben was traumatized for life. The boy/man ran out of the house as fast as he could. Ben cried out to God that day. “Where are You?” “Why are You allowing all this to happen?” With nowhere to go, Ben slept alongside the road that night.
Ben returned to the family farm early the next morning and waited for his father to leave the house. As luck would have it, Vinnie left early the next morning, looking for work. Ben snuck up to the house and went in. His mother was working in the kitchen when he entered.
Tess ran over to where Ben was and embraced him. She told him that she had been so worried about him. She asked if he was okay, and lying to her, he told her he was. The truth of the matter was that all he could think of was getting out on his own where he wouldn’t have to put up with this type of trauma ever again!
He shared with Tess that he could no longer live there. Somebody was going to get hurt or even killed! He knew it was time for him to go. He packed what little he had in the way of clothing and kissed his mother’s cheek goodbye.
That day, Ben made a promise to himself. He would never allow someone to get close to him ever again. No one to love, no one to hate….no one to trust…no one. He felt it was so much safer that way. Never again would he trust someone!
Coming Soon! Part 3 of Trust in the Lord