(I have been asked for an update after my December post called “God With Us.” Here’s the update.)
Have you ever had a situation where you found yourself laughing, then figured out later that it was the wrong reaction? I think that must have been what the children felt like the day the puppet lost his hair.
Years ago in the early 90s at God’s Bible School campmeeting, I was a part of a child evangelism team who took care of the children’s services. On the weekends, the room was packed. Children were in rows; it was so crammed, that some were even sitting in the windowsill. We were doing an impromptu puppet show when we got a bright idea. The boy puppet’s hair had a problem, so it had to be safety pinned in back. That morning, we took out the safety pin. In the middle of the puppet speaking and bobbing his head, the hair went flying off. Thirty years later, I still remember how the children laughed and laughed. One handicapped boy in the windowsill actually fell out laughing. When the laughter died down, the puppet said that it was a wig because he had cancer. Suddenly everything got deathly quiet as the realization hit the children. I’m not sure I’ve ever witnessed such a drastic change of mood.
It felt like I had a similar change of moods after the last time I saw Mark, my neighbor’s abusive boyfriend (that I told you about HERE.)
After the night when Mark bashed in Mary’s car, he continued to be in and out of her house many times. She’d kick him out, only to feel sorry for him later. Sometimes she said that he forced his way back in. Other times, I’m sure he was invited.
One time, Mark was back at Mary’s house after being out of jail, and the police were trying to make him leave. It was pretty exciting stuff! (In the middle of the showdown, one of my children went to his room and got whatever weapon he had–an airsoft gun–just in case Mark came across the street after us.)
When the police came after Mark, he escaped. They tried to chase him down. Mark easily cleared the fence. That was the day that my children found out that a policeman is so loaded down that he cannot jump as high as Mark! In the chase, the policeman tried to jump the fence but caught his pants and ripped them. My children thought it was uproariously funny!
The last time the police came after him, he holed himself up in Mary’s house. Mary had signed restraint papers, and the police were bringing them to Mark. One policeman got a megaphone that you couldn’t escape hearing all through the neighborhood. “Mark, come out! If you come out, we will not arrest you. But if we have to force you out, it will be a felony.”
Still, Mark did not come out. Since we’ve never heard a megaphone broadcasting into the neighborhood, some of my children were all eyes and ears on the porch! The previous incident of the policeman’s chase that ended in torn pants was not far from their minds.
Little by little, other neighbors started coming out to congregate on the street. More police cars arrived. By the time it was over, there were seven police and sheriff cars! Seven! You could have probably robbed a bank in Independence and not have been caught because all of the law enforcement was on my block!
I had been working in my kitchen, but I finally went outside to see what was going on. Mary drove up and gave the police the keys to her house. Now they could go inside without a warrant. Mark remained in hiding while neighbors from six houses watched! Someone even suggested maybe someone needed to pass out popcorn. It was quite a show!
Then the police came out with Mark handcuffed. Some of the feistier Hispanic women down the street called out, “And don’t come back! Mary, don’t you let him come back!”
Mary began yelling things back. The Hamiltons all hightailed it for the house. We don’t like confrontation. However, we were chuckling over the whole event. Kind of like those children laughing back at the God’s Bible School puppet show.
Weeks went by, and we didn’t hear any more about Mark. Then one day, Abigail went to Mary’s house to visit. Mary was pretty low. She told Abigail that after Mark got out of jail that he had walked all the way from another town to Independence to tell her he was sorry for everything.
Then he went back to his mom’s garage and hung himself. Mary was being fought with feelings of wanting to commit suicide herself! Her family and closest friends did not understand that although she had been abused by this man, she still felt emotionally attached to him. She was needing their sympathy, not all of their “good riddance” comments. She felt lonely and forsaken. She wanted to end it all.
That day when the police handcuffed and hauled Mark out of the neighborhood was the last time I would ever see him. In less than two months, he was dead. Today he’s in eternity.
Mark came to church only a couple of times. He only stayed a few minutes and then left. Later, he went down the street and talked to another neighbor in the presence of my husband. He told him, “Dustan, I can tell you a very scary place! It’s Todd’s church! That church is scarier than jail!”
I fully believe that whatever evil spirit was with him was terrified of the Spirit of God in our church.
Lord, give me eternal eyes! Help me to see events like You see them! Don’t let me be deceived. If you say that it’s not funny…it’s not funny. I want to be one with You!
People see things like a Caucasian, or they see things like a Hispanic or a Canadian…Make me see things like a Christian. I want to think holiness, act holiness, live holiness because I want to BE HOLINESS!
I want to see things like God sees them.
(The names in this account have been changed.)
Photo Credit: Image by <a href=”https://pixabay.com/users/stocksnap-894430/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=2589290″>StockSnap</a> from <a href=”https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=2589290″>Pixabay</a>