No matter where you live or work, you run into sad situations. My community has plenty, and I am sure yours does, too. I’d like to share one with you. None of the names are real, but the story is.
Cal is a young musician here at Asaph. He is a regular at church and lives with his mom and other siblings. Cal has always been sweet, gentle, and polite. He can be funny as well. The other day he showed me a gesture, only for a second, that seemed so out of place for him. As he walked by me, he turned right at me and showed me claws and teeth like a ferocious lion. What struck me was the anger in his eyes. I had never seen that in him. I DO see that anger in the eyes of young men whose fathers walked out of their lives…and I hear it in the words they choose.
Cal’s father, Barry, was an upstanding church leader here at our local church for years. He, like so many other young men, decided to leave the country seeking a better life. Many young married men have left Haiti so that they can “provide” a better life for their wife and kids. A few actually do so. I thought that is what Barry was doing the last few years.
This week, I learned the ugly truth. Barry has a new wife in the country where he now lives. He has two children with his new wife. He stopped sending support to his wife and family here in Haiti. All of that is sad. But, there is more. Barry is a leader in the church where he now attends. I asked how that could be so, if he has two families. I was told the new church knows nothing of his family here in Haiti. It seems that to Barry, his first family has disappeared. He has moved on. Sweet, gentle, polite Cal has suffered one of the most traumatic situations a child can face, and I had no idea. They tell me that he refuses to talk to his father. Who can blame him? You see a kid smiling every day, and you assume his life is normal. Then you find out there is a burden he carries every minute of every day.
Eleven years ago, I drove the vehicle that took Barry and his wife to the hospital as little Cal came into this world. How can fathers just walk away from their sons like that ? How can they just turn their backs on their daughters ? How can the forget the wife they promised to love until death ? (I was there for that promise, too.) It’s just so sad.
I am glad I can be around Cal and help him to try to look beyond the brutal betrayal he has suffered as a young boy. It’s good to be here.
Missionary in Haiti.