Doing the Lord’s work took its toll on me. And on my family. But what was necessary wasn’t always easy. In fact, what the necessary is often the hardest and most difficult, and so this is why I persisted in the way that I did.
Each morning I laid in my bed desensitized by the rubble that surrounded me. Well, I probably shouldn’t say rubble. That’s a bit harsh, especially considering the fact that my family was lumped in with said “rubble.” So don’t get me wrong, I loved them and I didn’t consider them to be rubble. But, in spite of that love, my family was falling apart. And so too was my house, this being where I came up with the word rubble.
I’d wake up, rub the sleep from my eyes as best I could, and begin to look around. The ceiling had several cracks, which of course caused some angst during hard rain. The windows were falling apart, and as colder weather approached, I knew we’d be in for a colder than necessary winter. In short, the house was falling apart. Again, rubble.
As I would shake off the feelings of disgust with myself for letting the house become what I was observing, I would temporarily gain some satisfaction, gained from what I could smell. It was the smell of food, breakfast being cooked by my wife for me and the kids. I was always hungry, and especially so when first awakening. In those days we often went to bed hungry so that we could start the day being filled.
But even that satisfaction went away fairly quickly. First, because as I ate I would be reminded that we had to ration our food in the way that we did. Second, because I’d soon hear the discontent in my wife’s voice as she set the plate down in front of me. As I said, I didn’t consider my family to be rubble, but it was falling apart.
All of that dissatisfaction, however, was eventually shaken off. Because as I stated at the beginning, I was doing the Lord’s work. And while the Lord’s work was difficult, eventually, I often told myself, I would be rewarded and my home would be restored.
So after getting food in me, and after a feigned attempt at being somewhat of a husband and father to my wife and kids, I would set off to work.
My day consisted of visiting all of the necessary groups and organizations. I would start with the local pastors and then venture over to city council where I conversed with the town’s representatives and encouraged them to keep doing the right thing and to not let up.
Those two forms of lobbying were pretty much a daily occurrence. For the rest of my week I met with different groups on each day to engage in some more convincing. Among these groups were professors, newspapermen, and local business owners. The more people I got over to the side of our cause, the more the Lord’s work was accomplished.
Some days, after hours and hours of engaging in this work, I would go home and go to bed right away. There were some nights, however, that I wouldn’t go home right away but would instead get to see some actual real life results taking place — results gained from some of my hard work.
On these particular nights I would stand there, torch in hand, and watch as the stake was lit on fire and feel a sense of pride swelling within me as the body burned. Evil being purged from our community had always brought me the most satisfaction, and it convinced me that my work was worth it.
And it was on those nights that I didn’t feel so bad going to bed hungry. Because while my wife and children still cried themselves to sleep, I took solace in the fact that my work would eventually create a better world for them, one that I hoped they’d get to see.
Unfortunately, though, they didn’t get to see it. They all died of malnourishment. But I still thank God every day that my work didn’t allow them to die in vain and that they get to look down on their husband and dad as he continues to bring social justice into the world.