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We’ve come together on this special day
To sing our message loud and clear

Looking back we’ve touched on sorrowful days
Future, past, they disappear — Earth, Wind & Fire, 1975

Today’s day and date marks twenty-eight years exactly since my stepfather beat my mother unconscious not more than twelve feet from my bedroom (’82 calendar = ’10 calendar). It was a traumatic experience, something like witnessing a nuclear explosion but somehow surviving to tell the story, with my vision fully intact. I talked about this before, on this blog, in a number of posts over the past three years. It’s unfortunate that Memorial Day for me is more about this event than it is about patriotism or brave soldiers long gone. Especially since I embarked on this Boy @ The Window project of mine five years ago.

The worst thing about this day and date for me is that it reminds me of loss, sorrow, my past hate, my renewal of forgiveness for myself and for my family. For at 3:30 in the afternoon twenty-eight years ago, my childhood ended. It didn’t matter how much of a child I was, how goofy or weird I may’ve acted afterward, or how much child-like wonder and joy has remained over the years. I can never go back to being the purposefully naive twelve-year-old I was back then. Not at 3:32 pm on May 31, ’82, and certainly not now.

That’s the way of the world
Plant your flower and you grow a pearl
A child is born with a heart of gold
The way of the world makes his heart so cold

It’s too bad iPods didn’t exist in ’82, because I could’ve used a moment or two to give my last rites to my youth through one of my all-time favorites, Earth, Wind & Fire. That is, after helping my mother regain consciousness, feeding my younger siblings, making my older brother help me with my mother and generally being upset with myself that I didn’t call the police. Unfortunately, my idiot stepfather loved Earth, Wind & Fire as well (at least their earlier funk and later disco hits, nothing of substance, thank goodness). Still, the lyrics to “That’s The Way Of The World” fit the emotions of that day as far as my life was concerned. That’s The Way Of The World

My mother swears to this day that she doesn’t remember the incident. Good for her, I guess. My ex-stepfather, now almost sixty, is a Type-2 diabetic whose kidney functions have been non-existent for seventeen years, and as of a year ago, lost a leg to a disease of his own overeating making. There are times, I must admit, that I’m all right with the fact that this man’s life has become a nightmare over the past two decades. That I get a sense of reckoning out of his downward spiral. But those thoughts are quickly followed up by the urge to forgive, and certainly not for his sake. Strictly for my own. I wouldn’t want his health situation, for myself or for anyone else.

You will find peace of mind
If you look way down in your heart and soul
Don’t hesitate ‘cause the world seems cold
Stay young at heart…

So I’ve come to on this special day to say my message loud and clear. That the ways of this world will choke the youth and life out of us if we allow it. The only reason that I’m still able to feel child-like most of the time is because of my hopes, dreams and vivid imagination, as well as God’s grace over the years. With Noah these past seven years, I’ve stayed young at heart (and, for the most part, in body as well). “‘Cause you’re never, never, never old at heart.”