Love seeks to understand a flinch

by Craig on August 12, 2011


We had just moved from Brooklyn New York to St. Louis Missouri – a 5th grade city kid in the suburbs.

Third and fourth grade were spent in a Catholic school in Brooklyn. I was “Catholic” only by my mom’s remarriage. I knew nothing of either God or Catholicism – and was an outcast because of it. But these new “country” kids, they liked me, and the positive attention that I wasn’t getting from the one person I really wanted, they eagerly gave.

I was paying too much time and attention to entertaining my schoolmates and not enough on school.

My mother, who married my new father because he was smart and successful, was ready to hand this problem over to him. The expression, “Wait until your father gets home!”… my mom hadn’t yet figured out how horrific that statement was for me.

I peered through the drapes, in dread…
as his car pulled up…
then, resigned and quiet…
I sat on the bed…
bracing for what I knew was coming.

By this time – and I don’t know why – beatings had pretty much ceased. There was the occasional hard slap on the head – the kick in the back as I lay on the floor, blocking his view of the television. But there were no more beatings.

Maybe my mom had warned him.
Maybe it was because he had twin children of his own on the way.
Maybe he just got tired of physically venting his anger on a little kid.

But the fear was there every single time he approached me.

I had a cat before Laska the love Kitty…
his name was Froofy the miracle cat…
and yes, they look a lot alike…

Froofy the Miracle Cat


Laska the Love Kitty

and yes, my cats also seem to come with titles…


he was a rescue kitty too…
and his beginnings were violent and abusive.

He learned to trust me…
but every time I reached down to pet him – he’d flinch.
He had to know from experience that I would never hurt him…
this cat, who in his dying hours held on so tightly to my neck I couldn’t pry his paws from me…
because I was the safest place he knew as a tumor in his brain was exploding…
he trusted me…
but his experience from the beginning, when he was younger…
when he was beaten,
and terrorized,
and abused…
it always came back to him when I reached to pet him on the floor.
Only in his last days did it finally stop.
It took impending death to overrule that reaction caused from his early years.

I don’t really like sharing all of this. I’d rather everyone think I have it all together, I’m stronger than any negative voice, have a faith that never flinches, and am as successful with life as I am with words. I want to give you all the illusion. But I promised to be honest. I promised “no masks”.

In the War on the negative voices, this is the posty note currently in the training pen.

If you are new to the Love War on the negative voices that hold us back, it began here, and all the horse stuff, and posty note stuff is explained here. (And it has a whole category of its own over on the side bar – in the “Lots of love” section – if you’re a teensy curious)

We’ll name this wild stallion “Nejistá”. That’s pronounced, Nayeestah – with the emphasis unexpectedly on the last syllable, where it kind of lingers.

It’s Czech for “uncertain”.

And I’ve got questions for this negative voice, because it needs transforming from wild to tame.

But first a deep breath…

this mustang is a little wilder than I thought.

I’ll lead him back into the training pen next time.

Please come back.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Ruthiey August 12, 2011 at 9:18 am

My heart hurts for you. God is strong. I’ll be back.


Craig August 12, 2011 at 9:28 am

It was a long, long time ago – and as you said, God is strong – and i have a perfect Father now. When you become a mom – remember how important the early years are – that a child feel loved, and accepted, and that they be directed with an open hand – certainly never with a fist. If I had this figured out when I was your age – a lifetime would’ve been different. But then i wouldn’t be writing this now – and you woudn’t have read it…

Oh how God works – he’s good a this – that guy ツ

I heart that you think deeply and with heart about things – and seek answers. I have a really good feeling about the way your life is going to turn out ツGod bless and keep you Ruthiey!


Cora August 12, 2011 at 9:51 am

I had a big lump in my throat reading this, Craig. I know that if there has been abuse in your past, it just breaks your heart if something YOU love is hurting. We not only identify with the pain, but it seems to bring up all the emotions we couldn’t as a child and we spill out all over the place — not only FOR the one who is hurt, but WITH them. I watch my big, brown bundle of emotionally unbalanced lab as he has unbelievably scarey nightmares, and the fear in his eyes if he is on the other side of the door from me, and my heart melts and breaks. He only understands one thing: Things only work out when “Mommie” is with me.

The voice that says, “Things are not going to work out,” has been my “life verse.” Terrible, isn’t it, to be that negative. But that voice comes with horrible anxieties and panics and even preplanned failures. It’s much easier to fall at the beginning of a climb than when you get near the top. I’m only sorry it has taken me this long in life to begin to trust. I always thought that somehow I had a large percentage of responsibility in working out my “uncertainties” in life. I was brought up with the “God put a head on your shoulders, so use it” mentality. But the older I got, the more I found that life happens with lots of stuff beyond my control or beyond my fixing. But, like Buster, I’ve learned that things work out because HE is with me. Maybe not right now, maybe not tomorrow, but it WILL work out.


Craig August 13, 2011 at 9:26 am

“big, brown bundle of emotionally unbalanced lab” – and – “Things only work out when “Mommie” is with me.” – two things that made me smile – and get them both! And all you shared about the voices being your life verse – don’t worry – I think you are so, so, so not alone. I join you in that – and I bet were I’m not the only one. And the analogy, carried from your dog, to our Lord, I heart that! But as I said to Ruthie at the top – in my reply to her comment – had we not been on the messy paths of our lives – we would not have connected here – I’m glad we connected. God bless you Cora.


A. August 12, 2011 at 12:31 pm

So that is Froofy. It breaks my heart, too, to think of his pain and yours. I can picture him clinging to your neck.. I can pisture each of us flinching from life. I had a person I flinched from, too, years ago. Eventually, the person was not in my sphere so the flinching stopped, but the nightmares continued for years. They eventually stopped, but it took about a decade.

Thank you for sharing this, Craig. It is an illusion to think that anyone really ever has it all together, isn’t it? Even in Christ, we have our weak moments when we forget to go to Him before we flinch at life.

Your ‘twin’ kitties are so abundantly precious. I am glad you share them with us!


Craig August 13, 2011 at 9:33 am

Yep! Yep – that’s Froofy the miracle cat. I read a lot about cats and how they die. I read it after he was gone – and understood – only then – all of his behaviors as he neared the end. One of the things cats do – when the end is coming – is to hide. Or they just find their safest place. In the hours approaching his death – I’ve always been so torn – happy – yet sad – that obviously his safest place – was me. He held on so tight for two reasons – one the pain in his head must have been horrible – and two – he knew he was close to death – and I was his safe place. He had never – EVER held on so tightly to me before – that may rate a post sometime. And I found Laska the love Kitty – on my very first visit to the rescue kitties place – the very first visit! Amazing that I found a twin so quickly. God bless you A.


A. August 13, 2011 at 11:17 am

Craig, this is all the more heart-wrenching in light of what you shared about cats’ behaviors near the end. What a gift, though sad, to you to know that you were Froofy’s safest place! That just brings tears to think of it. May I be an earthly safe place for those whom I encounter and may I help them discover the Safest of Places and Persons, our Abba.


Andrea Dawn August 12, 2011 at 10:59 pm

Froofy is beautiful . . . and so blessed to have been rescued and loved by you. Wounded healers . . . healing each other. And no masks is always better (not necessarily easier). Psalm 85:10 says “Mercy and truth have met together” . . . we find mercy when we are in truth. As you continue to be vulnerable and reveal your true self you are truly endearing yourself to your readers . . . and I hope that silences another voice . . . the one that says “if people knew the real me, they would __________ (fill in the blank). I was reading in Proverbs yesterday and found this treasure. Chapter 10, vs 21, says “The lips of the righteous feed many . . .” As I was thinking on that, many of my blogging friends came to mind.The words that you and so many others release into Blog-land truly do feed many. I am just one of them and I am blessed.


Craig August 13, 2011 at 9:35 am

I know that you already put this comment on Deep into Scripture – I heart that you caught that – and brought the comment over here – but my answer to this comment – as a result – has already been written on the other blog. I hearted your comment – thank you – and God bless and keep you Andrea Dawn.


JennaFarelyn August 13, 2011 at 12:52 am

You’re brave. And I’m glad you are digging deep and laying your story out, bit by painful bit. I hope the telling of it here brings healing, and deeper connection. Your blogging voice is getting so strong, and it’s really beautiful to watch what God is doing. God Bless.


Craig August 13, 2011 at 9:38 am

I found what people mean when they say that it’s brave to write things like this. I think it’s not the writing that so brave. It’s putting the weakness out in front of everybody – when you want everybody to think that your strong and have it all together. It’s that risk that they will flee because they see that you aren’t all together – but I’m finding – there’s nobody – from Donald Trump – down to me that has it all together. Some just where their masks better – and some deal with the damage better – but we are all – we are ALL – damaged. It’s a broken world full of broken people – and a God with superglue. Thank you Jen – and I think I am catching onto this “blogging voice” – I’m beginning to understand a little more. Thank you for your kind words – I trust them – I trust you. God bless and keep you.


Dawn August 13, 2011 at 12:53 pm

…a God with superglue. That will take me through the weekend. ;^) that, and the pics of the kitties, too…



Craig August 13, 2011 at 4:25 pm

I have to say – me too – liked it the moment i typed it – I think I’ll go tweet it now – I liked it that much – and since you did too – now the world (or at least twitter0 gets to hear it ツ blessing to you too my friend.


Debra August 13, 2011 at 5:40 pm

Froofy the miracle cat does look scared. No wonder you could identify with his flinching. No doubt your love helped heal his wounded kitty spirit.

Your transparency is vital to reaching hearts. Like you did mine today when you talked about the abuse and the hardheartedness of those who mistreat others.

Illusion doesn’t work for me. Words not spoken from a place of authenticity don’t ring true. They sound hollow. But yours are genuine. Spoken from a heart of love….no sounding brass of tinkling cymbals here. Honestly works miracles.

Thank you for allowing us a glimpse into your soul. Most of us are just broken spirits whom God is in the process of mending. We’re all on this journey together, seeking the kingdom, and hungering for healing and wholeness along the way. Psalm 34:18


Craig August 13, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Debra, Froofy was always equal parts curiosity and fear. In that way he and I shared a lot. Thank you for encouraging me about transparency – illusion does work – but I don’t want illusion – I want real. As I said in one of the other comments – it’s kind of the same as what you’ve said – we are all broken – some cover it up better, some deal with it better, but we are all broken – the world is broken – and God has superglue. God bless you Debra – and thank you.


Sherry August 14, 2011 at 7:41 pm

What a beautifully post I love reading it. It is amazing how life transforms us to who were are today. God Bless


Craig August 15, 2011 at 5:49 pm

Sherry – really nice to see you down in my comment section.((( big smiles))) – and thank you for your kind words. Blogging in this community I have met so many of the kind of moms who love their kids well – amazing moms. The beginnings are so important – SO IMPORTANT. And knowing that many moms – I know how many kids are getting a good start. Yours too! thank you Sherry – and God bless and keep you.


Michelle August 15, 2011 at 6:08 am

Just catching up after a few days no computer. Tired, may have been hiding……. I work with a lot of people (different ones every day) and sometimes just want to be alone – I joke that my love language is quality time – ALONE! And if I hide people can’t see who I really am…… And yet I insist on inviting people over for tea once a week. Sometimes just one person, sometimes up to 15. :)

There is so much in what you’ve written, and also all the commenters that I’m just going to sit and dwell with it.


Craig August 15, 2011 at 5:52 pm

funny – your love language – that’s funny ƪ(◠‿◠)╯ I’m smiling big as I type this. And funny how you violate your love language – usually it’s other people who violate our love languages ( more smiles) – and you know what? I found out a long time ago that a blog post isn’t finished until everybody who reads gets to add to it. That’s a beautiful thing about blogging. Thank you for adding – again. Bless you Michelle.


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