Lester Roloff was an Independent Baptist preacher in Texas. He ran the Rebekah Home for Girls in the 70s. In 1978, the state of Texas came in with troops, and forcibly shut the facility down due to severe punishment and malnutrition endured by the girls (Roloff was a firm believer in spankings.) He made the girls sing for his radioevangelic cast. In November of 1982, he died in a plane crash. My great aunt absolutely worshipped the ground this man had walked on, and had numerous recordings of his sermons, of which she listened to religiously. One particular sermon was one that she always tried to stick with me, and I will share with you that story.
One day Johnny went to school, and he got in a big fight. When he came in the door, his mother noticed that he was scratched up, bruised, and dirty, and his clothes a bit torn. She began to inquire of Johnny as to why he was in such a state. Johnny slumped his head down, and began to tell his mother his story: "The other boys at school started saying that you weren't my real momma, and that my daddy isn't my real daddy! I had to defend you!" Johnny's mother gently told him to go wash himself up, and change his clothes. After dinner, Johnny's father gathered Johnny up into the living room. He told Johnny that he understood he had gotten into a fight, and Johnny, once again told his story, "The other boys at school started saying that you weren't my real momma, and that my daddy isn't my real daddy! I had to defend you!" Johnny's daddy took a deep breath and began, " Son, you know we love you, right?" Johnny knew his parents loved him, and he nodded his head in response. Johnny's father began again, " Son, it's time that you knew that we adopted you. I want you to know in your heart that all of those other boys mommas and daddies had to take whatever they got. See, what makes you so very special is that we chose you like God chooses us." Of course, this turns into a sermon directly thereafter.
So, when I was 5 years old my great aunt ( whom I called mom as long as I can remember) sat me down in her recliner and commenced to tell me how they got me, and how they loved me. She told me the strange redheaded man that I had seen a handful of times was my real father. She told me who my real mother was, and she promised to never let them take me away. From that moment on, I had questions, a never-ending stream of questions. It wouldn't be for another eleven years before my ears would ever hear my biological mother's voice, but in that moment, I knew whom I was chosen by.
It's a beautiful story really, full of rainbows and unicorns. Oh, how wonderful to be chosen, loved , and wanted! Many years of youth laden bliss was wonderfully blinding to the reality and truth of my family. I still hold onto this story with both hands in a death grip simply because it's a beautiful lie told to me by people that half-heartedly meant what they were saying. In the beginning, I truly felt loved and wanted by them (and still do in some regards), and, regardless of the events that were to unfold later on in my life, it will always be a bitter-sweet memory.
Today, I relay this message to my children, I choose every day to be the parent that I never had. I want them to know and understand that words mean nothing without the actions that should accompany them, and full of beautiful choices.