Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Writing down the bones

Writing our story has been almost as interesting as reading a new book. I never know what is going to come out when I sit down. I think about this book all day long but I never know what I’m actually going to write until I park my butt in the chair and start to write.
What I wrote tonight was inspired from a friend that has always encouraged me and given great feedback about my writing. Her mind is sharp and reads from your side of things, O, reader, rather than my side as the writer. That’s so helpful for me because I can never get out of my head.
Tonight, as I started to write, the story really got away from me as I tried to think about why Timmy was reluctant to tell his parents that he got my daughter pregnant. I don’t know how he could keep it from his folks that they were grandparents.
I’m not a psychologist so all I can do is speculate as to what the reason could be. So I started to recount different interactions I’ve had with Timmy’s father. I’ve had great conversations with John. And he has been generous to our family on occasion. But the negative interactions have been memorable. And that came out as I typed tonight.
Here’s some of what I wrote:
So why wouldn't Timmy tell his parents why Charity was pregnant? Why didn't Timmy tell his parents that there was a baby after Allie was born? What must it felt like to be them when Charity brought that baby to their doorstep?
When John heard that Allie was in a coma and his son was in jail charged with child abuse, he was distraught. He shrieked at me, "I hope Timmy rots in jail!" John was beside himself as we all were. I can't remember if I was crying at the time, but I probably was and all I could say is that Timmy needs his dad more than ever now. ”You've got to be there for him as hard as that might be."
It turned out, that after John calmed down, Timmy became his first priority.
John’s behavior was unpredictable. One time, when Allie was in the Intensive Care Unit at California Pacific Hospital in San Francisco and both families were there together, John bent over Allie who was just coming out of a coma, and whispered in her little ear, "Your daddy loves you very much."
That set Susan off. "Don't you come in here and tell her how much her daddy loves her! Are you crazy? Look what he did to her. This isn't how you show love!"
Whenever John and I have tried to talk, it hasn’t gone well. I’ve indulged myself in disrespectful sarcasm when I’ve thought him unreasonable.
One time, John called me to ask if I'd write to the judge and vouch for Timmy’s good character. “A few of his friends have faxed letters over telling the judge that Timmy is really a good man,” John told me. He asked me to tell the judge that I thought Timmy was a good boy.
I said, "Let me see. He got my daughter pregnant and then left town and we never heard from him. Then when he was back in town and Allie was born, we saw him once and he wouldn't look me in the eye. (Granted, I probably couldn't look me in the eye either.) But after he saw Allie and met Susan and I, he left town again. I just don't think I can say that he's made any kind of a good impression on me."
"But your daughter was in love with him," John pleaded.
"That doesn't mean I think he's a good guy and Charity's judgment at the time wasn’t necessarily state of the art," I said. "I think you're barking up the wrong tree. There is no part of me that has ever had a good experience with your son."
Although one time he did wear a Ramones t-shirt over to the house and I do like that band. I'm not totally without grace. I'd have written them a good character reference.
I hope you, dear reader, understand that during this time, I failed often in my character. I’m not sure if I’m brave enough to write about my failures here on this blog, but I will find a way to write about it my book. The bottom line is that during this difficult time, I looked for relief in places that are regretful and I would counsel others not to go to. My own behavior during this time was not state of the art. Crisis is said to bring out the best in people. And I believe that to be the truth. But crisis also brings out the darkest side of people.
Crisis makes people more difficult, if not impossible, to communicate with. You’re constantly walking on egg shells. You never know how much more one can take before you set him off.
I believe that Timmy lived in a constant state of crisis since before he met Charity. That state of crisis climaxed in the violence inflicted on Allie. So it’s no wonder he was timid about fessing up to making some life altering mistakes.

3 comments:

Mike Lawrence said...

Your honesty is refreshing. While I've never experienced what you have been through, I have seen how difficult times have brought out the worst in me as well. I'm thankful for the redeeming grace of God. Thank you for sharing your story.

Bryon Mondok said...

Thanks for that, Mike.

Trip Kimball said...

Bryon, I second Mike's comment. I'm blessed to see your writing along the way. I'm really tired of "pie in the sky," we all feel so good & "everything turns out for the best" ("All things...etc, etc.).
Real life, real ministry, isn't like that. It's just real. Not like (un)reality shows, but rather unsensational, yet often heart-rending.
Write on, brother... I look forward to what spills out on the "paper" as you do.