The first time we planned a wedding, her parents were going to officiate. They were elders in their church and Bekah and her sisters had always dreamt of their dad marrying them. Well this time things were going to be a bit different.
We decided on Vigil but not Hymnal. This was not for any personal reason other than we wanted one person to marry us and not two. We also had a job for Hymnal. So, we asked her one day if she would walk Bekah down the aisle and give her away. She loved the idea, so no one got their feelings hurt.
Vigil and Hymnal decided though that if we were going to be married by Vigil we had to go through premarital counseling. And that he would be the one leading it. It was a bad idea. I told Steven about it, and he told me it was a bad idea.
“You can’t let these people tell you how to husband their daughter. It is inappropriate,” he said. “Find a different way.”
I agreed but this was what they wanted. I wanted Bekah to be married by her father if that was what she wanted, so we agreed to it.
The first bad sign was that this was not Bekah, her dad, and me. This involved Hymnal, too. Why she was there was unclear. She was not going to marry us. The priest does not invite other priests into the counseling when it is being done in any other religion but here, she was invited into the situation. This did not bode well for me. This was not a “let’s check to see if these kids are ready to get married.” This was a “this is how you husband my daughter.”
I went in ready.
Vigil had a book he wanted to run through. A book that would guide the sessions of which he told us there would be about three. We got started on the first one and my abuse came up pretty fast. Within a few minutes Vigil started to hammer at the pillar that kept my entire life in place. He was not trying to destroy me. I do not think that was the case. He was trying to minister to me, to teach me about God and His place in the world, but had I allowed myself to agree to what he was saying, it would have destroyed everything Steven and I had built. It became clear almost immediately that with a mind as complicated as mine, no one could tamper with me who was not a professional. This is what happened.
The statement came early. I can’t remember the lead up but it came down to this. “The reason I went through all of the horrible abuse that I did was because God was building me to become the man that could marry your daughter and be the father to your grandchildren.”
Vigil rose up against that. He could not sit by and watch his God get blamed for my abuse. He came in hard and fast with, “That is not how God works. God did not do those things to you, man did. God does not control man but lets him make his own decisions. The things that happened to you were because of the decisions of man. Not God.”
Now this is a tiny thing, but not really. When we were looking at all of the things that happened to us, we had to see some design. The events that I suffered had hammered me into a powerful person. They had designed me into the man uniquely built to be Bekah’s husband. And there had to be a reason. If this is not God’s design then there is something wrong with God. I can’t let it be for nothing.
I hope you can see that. I can’t let it be for nothing. I can’t make peace with a God who will allow that to happen to a child for no reason. So this is what I came up with when I was putting myself back together again.
God had been there. When I was being raped, beaten, manipulated, God had been standing right beside me. He had watched it all and had done nothing about it. He had not inspired it but he had not stopped it. It was His plan to have me suffer and His plan had reasons. I was not about to let God off for what had happened to me and I was not about to admit that everything I had gone through was for nothing. If I had agreed to that then seven years of therapy would have been undone.
But Vigil can’t worship a God who allows that to happen to children. So, he rose up. He fought me back. His voice rose and he kept hammering it in me that God did not agree to let these things happen. God does not do that. Man hurt me; God would never allow it.
So, in his world vision, my abuse meant nothing. It was as inconsequential as what I ate for dinner today. In the grand scheme of things, it meant nothing. It was just random cruelty.
You see why I can’t agree to that, right? It has to be for a reason. It can’t be just flip of the coin dumb luck. It has to be God’s design. It’s ugly. God standing by and watching as the worst was done to me has left me in a struggle with God but without that reality, I can’t make a life for myself.
I argued. I fought and Vigil beat me back. He was not going to let it go.
“We don’t believe that,” he said.
“That is not what we believe,” Hymnal said. Over and over again they hit me with it. “No, you are wrong. This whole thing is wrong. God does not do that. That is not what we believe.”
I was not sure why I had to agree to it in the first place. I was not joining their church; I was marrying their daughter. But they would not let it rest.
I said many times, “We cannot agree on this. Let’s move on.”
Every time, “That is not what we believe,” was fired at me by both of them.
If I had allowed this to be true, it would have set me back years in my therapy. It would have set me back years in my faith. If I had allowed this to be told to me and I had not risen up against it, my entire life would have fallen to pieces. And this was the very essence of why we should not have been doing this with Vigil and Hymnal. They did not understand the things I had built in therapy. They were tampering with a complicated system.
Finally Hymnal looked at me, stabbed a finger at me and said, “That is not what we believe. We believe that man is allowed to make his own decisions and that you were abused for no reason at all.”
Bekah stepped forward and calmly said to them, “That is not what we believe.”
It shut the entire session down and here is why. They had built her belief system. They had been taking her to church all her life. They had been teaching her about God and had control over everything that she saw as fact. But now they had to admit to themselves that they did not know her beliefs. They could not speak for her. And without that power, they had nothing to say.
The topic came back up again. I was talking to Vigil and Hymnal last year and the topic of my abuse being God’s plan came up again and once again he said, with less vigor but the same authority, that God did not allow me to be abused.
I explained myself like this. “If there is a car in a ditch out in a deserted road, it is raining and a woman has three kids with her that are hungry and cold. Would you say it is God’s intervention if a man in a truck decides to drive that road, that he has never driven before, just to see where it goes? He stops and helps that woman out. Was that guy sent by God to help that woman and those children?”
He said yes.
“How mighty is God?”
“Then it stands to reason that if he could send that guy to save that woman and her children, he could have sent anyone at any time to save me.”
Vigil’s face dropped.
“We can’t give God the credit for saving some people and not all people. If terrible things happen to a child and it is not stopped by God the Almighty then he is making a choice. We can’t grant him praise for doing the good things and not the bad. And if your God is good, then he had a reason for letting me burn.”
We decided that we could not do the counseling with them and Vigil said we were at a cross roads because he was unwilling to perform the ceremony without us doing that book.
So, Bekah decided that Steven would do our marriage counselling.
Hymnal was instantly against it. She said that she was not going to let it happen because my therapist would agree with me the whole time whether I was wrong or not. She said that Bekah would get teamed up on.
Bekah had to tell her that we had been doing couples’ therapy for a year and Steven usually agreed with her. Vigil agreed to it and Steven did it.
He said that from all our couples’ therapy he was ready to say that we were ready and that the book was a blunt instrument but he would allow it. He told us to take it home and do it ourselves and if we found any big discrepancies that we could come talk to him about them.
We found a few and worked them out. In the end we had been ready from the start. But Vigil had not known that. But back then no one did. No one knew how much had gone into our rise. No one knew that we had considered every option and had plotted out the perfect plan. Everyone doubted us. Everyone except K was waiting for it to fall apart.
It had fallen apart twice before. Both times had been blamed on me. They were all just standing back waiting for me to break it all to bits again. They had no faith in me. None of them did.
I still had to prove I was worthy of their daughter. And even though neither of the break ups had been my fault I was still bearing the burden of their blame.
This chapter is from Reality of the Unreal Mind, Vol. 2: Normal Street.