The day I got into a fight with a street Preacher …

I was reminded the other evening about the day, a few years ago, when I got into an eyes red rage fight with a street preacher. Actually, maybe it is unfair to say that we had a fight, because I never gave him the chance to speak. I’m amazed actually that I didn’t punch the guy.

It was in the middle of a city centre. That I was visiting. And waiting for a friend to arrive for coffee.

A few minutes earlier, as I was arriving at our meeting place, I could see the crowd gathered, so being the nosey that I am decided to go and see what was going on.  I stood at the back of the circled crowd of about 60 people, with shopping bags in one hand and a smoke in the other. And I watched. And I listened.

I was starting to get a bit bored, but decided to stick it out a bit longer because my friend had text to say they would be 5/10 minutes as they were running late.

So I stuck around and continued to watch and listen. And that’s when it got a little bit more interesting.

Because that was when someone else, who had also been watching and listening decided to have their say too.  Someone who looked like maybe he had been sleeping rough. Someone who looked like maybe he could do with a good wash, a shave, some clean/non ripped clothes and a good meal or five. Someone who maybe looked as though he had been in a few scraps.  Someone whose words were slightly slurred, because they’d perhaps had a little bit too much of whatever cheap alcohol he had been able to lay his hands on.

Someone who looked like they just needed some love and care.

Someone who felt that he needed to respond to what the guy on the stool was shouting.  Someone who felt that life’s darkness and pain was better dulled with alcohol and drugs, and someone who felt that we could find our own happiness. He was someone who needed to tell the crowd to just be happy being who you are.

This guy made me smile. Because despite his obvious dishevelled-ness and alcohol induced merriness he had a beautiful twinkle in his eye (the eye that was not black and healing from wounds) and an apparent desire, however big or small to cling on to whatever life was offering him.

I’ll never forget seeing the shock in his face, and I’ll never forget the horrified feelings I felt when, whilst addressing the crowd with his own ‘be happy’ message, the preacher guy, having stepped down from his stool grabbed him by the shoulders and pulled him backwards, so he could get back up on his stool, and tower above the merry man, whilst still having a grip on the merry mans shoulders.

And with one hand gripped on his shoulder, which appeared to make the merry man powerless to move, with the other hand he started waving and pointing at the merry man below him.

And then it started. The preacher man, holding and pointing started shouting at the gathered crowd, which was getting bigger as each second went by.

Addressing the crowd, pointing at the merry man he was shouting at the top of voice –

‘do YOU want to be like this’, ‘do YOU want to end up looking like THAT because if you don’t follow God you will’

and a couple of other things I don’t recall. I simply could not comprehend or believe what I was witnessing. And then he yelled

‘do you want to be like him? a nothing, worthless, a no one’

What? Did I just hear that right? Well I didn’t have to question long because a second after he said it the first time, he repeated it again, pointing at the merry man and asking the crowd if they wanted to end up like him, a nothing, worthless, a no one.

The look of bemusement and bewilderment in the merry mans face will never leave me.

It was at that point I saw red. It flashed across my eyes.

I grabbed my bags, stormed through the crowd, up to these two men, one on a stool with a firm hold on a vulnerable merry man and intervened. And when I say intervened I got hold of the merry man and moved him out of the way, and put myself in his place, but instead of facing the crowd and having this guy looking down on me and berate me, I got my finger in face and started shouting back as loudly as he had been shouting at the crowd.

As I said at the beginning, I’m amazed I didn’t punch the guy. Or swear. But I didn’t. However, my mouth ran away with me (what a surprise I hear you say) …

I shouted at him how dare he. How dare he speak to someone like that, how dare he lay his fingers on someone, how dare he pass judgement on someone. How dare he abuse and mistreat the vulnerable. How dare he suggest that someone was not worth anything? How dare he?

I shouted at him that the Jesus I knew would love a person like this. That the Jesus I know and I have read about in the Bible would love, cherish and care for a merry man like him, that the Jesus I know about is a Jesus who believes in people, all people, including this merry man being worthwhile, precious, valuable and definitely not a no body. That the Jesus I knew about was a Jesus of grace and mercy and kindness. And on I went, for about 5 minutes, telling him and the crowd about the Jesus I believed in which was everything opposite to what he had been preaching.

I ended by shouting at him that the Jesus I knew about would LOVE this man.

At this point, the merry man had wondered off. I stopped to draw breath and realised I had run out of things to say, so I picked up my bags, turned on my heels, leaving the street preacher speechless, and a crowd clapping and shouting as I stormed back out of the circle and back down the street we were in.

Why am I writing about this now? Well, simply because I have been thinking about it. Every now and then over the last few years I’ve thought about the merry man, wondered where he is now, and hoping he is ok. I hope that he knew he was/is loved by someone. And I’ve thought about the street preacher and the continued untold damage he is doing in ‘Gods name’ and hoping those that he affects negatively are being scooped up by gentle souls who can whisper the real truths into their lives.

I think about the anger it stirred in my soul. The red rage that flashed because someone in front of my very eyes was being told they were not worth anything. That person could have been anyone.  It could have been me.

It has been me, over the years.

I don’t believe anyone, who ever they are, where ever they have come from, wherever they have been, whatever they have done is worthless.

This is what stirs my soul into action, to speak out against injustices when I can/when I see it, such as this time, or other times when I speak out loudly on behalf of other people.

Its what stirs my soul to work with vulnerable people, be it young people, the dying, people with mental health issues, people with learning disabilities, people on the fringes of society for whatever reason.

I believe that Jesus loves people, including this merry man. That He is full of grace, and mercy, and that He cherishes and sees all as worthwhile.

I just hope/long for the day when l fully believe that that includes me too.

Advertisements

its been 3 years.

I have no idea where this post is going, but, anyway …

my life is full of milestones. lots of them. lots of ‘its been x amount of years since this … or that’

today is one of those milestone days.

its been 3 years since i tried to take my own life. and failed miserably (well, at the time it was miserable failure)

i got my dates a little confused last week, with something else, but having clarified with my faithful old journal, today is the day. 3 years ago. wow. where have those 3 years gone? sometimes it feels like it was only yesterday, sometimes it feels like it was a long time ago.

and what an immense journey it has been. the journey beforehand was immense anyway, so i guess its been extra immense since.

Sometimes i try to put into words just how incredibly hard the last 5 years of my life have been. And i am never quite sure if i have managed to do it justice, or whether or not i just come across like some whining woman. I hope i dont. Something I think about quite often is how 5 years ago I had no idea how life was going to roll for the next set of 5 years. Same with 10 years ago. Who knew that 10 years ago the roller coaster ride of my life would bring me to this point.

Who could ever have imagined that when you are already at the very bottom, end of the rope, struggling to hang on anyway, that life could get 100 % worse. That one moment life meant one thing, and the next moment it meant another. I was already unwell, struggling with childhood memories, abuse, self harm, faith and God, big time, and then came the assault.

I wrote in a blog once, this blog, some time ago, about feeling like a glass vase, being broken in to pieces. And then each piece of glass being broken even more, into tiny shards. The smallest bits, until there were no bits left, just dust, sprinkled all over the floor, for people to trample on. Thats how i felt. It was all too much. Too too much.

i had to do something. to get out of it. on reflection, i now feel guilty. i didnt leave anything, for anyone. my head was in a spin. i was being irrational. even to this day, some very close family members do not know, because it would hurt them too much to.

I could not see any other way, i felt like life would be better with out life. i already had no life, so what was the point in breathing? I felt like everyone elses life would be better without me in it. i was too messed up, too complicated, too many issues, too much hurt/pain, too much for anyone to do anything with.

so i tried to die.

it didnt work. now i say that thankfully! it didnt work. i do believe here by the grace of god i stand (the story of how i was found is a whole other blog for another time)

thing is, its fair to say, despite it all, there were people who were able to do something with me. people who loved me. who cared.

who helped me pick myself up off the floor, and slowly turned the dust back into shards, and then into fragments. Ever so slowly and lovingly teaching me that life can be worth something. that life IS worth something. that I am worth something.

its been a long ride, and one that isnt over yet. but 3 years on and life is slowly turning. I am learning to live with myself, and some of the pain. I am learning to laugh again, to smile again, to have fun again. i am learning that I am never going to forget the past, but there is a way, and a time to move on from it. to not be beholden to it. that doesnt mean i dont have my dark days. i do. nights when i cant sleep because the nightmares have kept me awake, or i am so restless because something has triggered a memory. however, the intensity of it all isnt as intense. I dont want to die because of it!

the last thing to say that i am learning to do again, is to love and accept love. i am learning to love people and life again and accept that people and life love me.

I would like to say such a deep huge and heartfelt thank you to all of the people involved in my life the last however many years.

You have all had a part to play in the fact I am still here now. Thankyou.

thank you for everything you have done and do for me. you really have and do make a difference.

lots of love

fragz xx

Dear Dad.

I have been reading an old hand written diary. One I wrote roughly three years ago. In about 6 weeks time, I will be celebrating a 3 year milestone in my life, and so I thought it time to read back at how life was three years ago. How I felt, and what I was writing.  Three years ago, I was a mess. A bigger one than I sometimes am now! Life was a big struggle, in fact, everything had collapsed. The letter below, I wrote, to my biological father. I wrote it the same weekend I decided I couldn’t live any more. Its very poignant to read back. To read this back. Its also poignant for me to publish it. For some of you to read. Because it signifies moving on. For me anyway.  A couple of years ago, about a year or so after I wrote this, I met him. For the first time in many years. It was an incredibly emotional experience. However everything I’ve written below still stands. I never sent the letter. He has never read it. Maybe if I was to write another one now, it would be a little different. Life has changed over three years, however the hurts are often still around somewhere nearby. They never go far.

I have so much inside of me, that is never going to be said to you. So much that I want to say and so much that I just want to put at your feet. But I never will. I will probably never let you know how much you hurt me when you walked out that day. When you left that day, I was only young. A small child, but do you what one of my earliest chilldhood memories was? You. Walking out. I even remember which way your huge motorbike turned as you went out of the driveway. I have never been able to admit out loud, in voice how much that actually hurts. How much it hurts to have no happy memories of you. The summer holidays we had to endure with you were hell. Did you know that? Did you know that when you were beating me that day, in that room, my brother, your son was learning from you. Do you know that he then went on to copy you? When you were not there. Do you know that? Do you give a damn? I think not. Do you know how every word you spoke made me cry inside. Every single nasty word. Yeah, I smiled, at you and everyone else, laughed it off. Promised to try and change. Be a better, different person. But I did wonder whether even being a different little girl would have made you happy. I tried so hard to be everything you wanted me to be but every time I reached a goal you would knock it down. And how do you still have the ability to do that? Even now? Even now, while I am an adult you have this power to knock me down to the ground with your words. Do you know how much my heart used to cry because you were not there? And then how much my heart used to cry when you were there, for those 2 weeks of the year because of your behaviour and action. Did it ever occur to you how much harm it did for me to stand at that window that day while you had my brother in the garden? Did it occur to you what you were doing to my brother and I? I doubt it. How could you.

Will you ever know how much pain I then had to endure with my brother? My darling brother. Who couldnt cope with your behaviour towards him. Who turned to drink and drugs to blot out the memories of you. Who do you then think took the blows when his anger let out? That would have been me. So, I was at school, and being bullied there, and then I would go home and be bullied there too. Bullied at home is probably a tame way of saying what happened. Bruised, beaten and hurt are prbably the words that describe it best. Will you ever know how hard it was to live at home, taking it from my brother, as he let rip? And where do you think he learnt/got that from? Where did he learn to hit, smack, punch, burn, taunt and spit out words that will probably never go away from my memory?

Do you know how hard I tried to please you? How hard I tried to please everyone? And did it ever work? You will never know that as I sit writing this, the tears fall. The tears I have never cried. The tears you believe show weakness. I have spent so long being strong, not crying, because what would it do? Change everything? Make it all better? I doubt that very much. But does anyone care? Do you? Again, I think not. I usually doubt you even loved us at all. Maybe we just an inconvenience.

I dont know what it is I have to do to make you proud. To make you love me. Sometimes I ask myself why it even matters. Why you even matter. And I wish I knew. I wish I could explain.

I have never said this to anyone, and I don’t know if I ever will be able to say it to your face, but do you know how angry and frustrated I sometimes feel. Sad, angry and hurt with you, at you and your behaviour. Why couldn’t you or don’t you love us? I know I am not good enough but isn’t a fathers love suppose to not be about that? Were you not supposed to love us no matter what? Why do you disappear from my life for months on end, and then when I am finally coming to terms with you not being in contact you ring or email. Sometimes I long and long to hear from you, but then when I do I cry.