As I continue with my discussion of respect whether it is earned and/or given, I recall most vividly reading the words in Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life, on page 25 a portion of Russell Kelfer’s poem: “ The parents you had were the ones he chose, And no matter how you may feel, They were custom-designed with God’s plan in mind, And they bear the Master’s seal. No that trauma you faced was not easy. And God wept that it hurt you so; But it was allowed to shape your heart So that into His likeness you’d grow.”
I literally wept for hours as I read those words, for I had wondered for years how parents could hate a child as much as mine hated me. Yet, they did, and I endured! My mother died at age 89 and never once told me she loved me. I conveyed my love to her because I was so hopeful she would love me in return. I never loved her, but I respected her role as my mother. She didn’t earn my respect, but I gave it.
One of the most severe beatings occurred when I was 17 years old. As had been the routine for my entire life, I was mandated to do the housework for our family of five. As a very obedient child and teen, on that day I respectfully pleaded to be able to wash the dishes upon my return back from the Future Homemakers Convention in downtown Oklahoma City. I was riding with my two neighbors, each seniors whom had a car. Because I never owned a car until I was in my 20’s, I needed transportation to the meeting.
Upon hearing my request, my mother hurriedly dashed off to locate my father and asked him to “take care of me.” The term “take care of me” meant only one thing, “beat Jane to a pulp” and he did. However on this day, not only did he beat me unmercifully with the belt buckle until I bled, but he had pulled up my dress humiliating me. As he beat me and beat me, my sister was screaming “Daddy please stop. You are going to kill her.” Mom was yelling, “beat her more.” When Dad concluded the beating, I was commanded to go to the FHA meeting. The sorrow I endured from that incident is permanent. Certainly, the physical assault healed, but the beating left a scar upon my heart for an eternity.
My parents did not deserve love nor respect, but I gave it to them for God instructed me to do so. Exodus 20:12 NKJ, “Honor your father and mother, that your days may be long upon the land…”