Two things shape us and make us who we are.
Pains leave their scars,
While Pleasures shine like stars.
Eventually we understand,
Their intentions were not planned.
We drove away from a beautiful seaside town with peaceful coastlines, beaches and scenery, to arrive a couple of days later at a jam packed, smoke filled city with bumper to bumper buses, taxis and cars. High rise brown buildings lined both sides of the streets. Graffiti covered almost every public wall. Shattered glass lay piece by piece around every bus shelter. Homeless people lay in doorways, parkways and tunnels. Immediately it felt like we had arrived home. This was where we were meant to be for sure.
We fell naturally into the groove of city life, we loved the buzz and busyness of our new home City.
Months passed as we easily settled in. We were among some lovely people, living in our sixth home, we got our first mortgage. Life was good, plans were coming together. We were very happy and in a strong position for success.
In just over a year of living in this city, uncertainty regarding the Reverends private life began to ring its unwelcome bells. I recognised those familiar bell ringers.
I called the police twice, possibly three times because he hadn’t arrived home and it was long past midnight.
The first time this happened I was panic stricken. Drug and alcohol addiction was prevalent. Along with prostitution, domestic violence and abuse. Knife crime was rampant. Aids and HIV had only recently begun claiming its victims. This City was rife with all these addictions and diseases as well as Hepertitis B and C.
During this time frame many casualties presented themselves not just among our church community but we came face to face with vulnerable and dangerous situations on our doorstep too. The Reverend would not hesitate to get involved in potentially hostile circumstances if it meant he could help or rescue one precious person. The first time I met a self harmer, she arrived unannounced on our doorstep for help. She showed me her one inch wide, six inch long scars along her inner thighs. This wonderful teenage child had veiwed herself so worthless she had slashed her own thighs to ribbons to mask her greater pain of violent abuse.
Expecting him home by ten thirty at the latest, by midnight my naivety and lack of experience of habitual obsessions, crime and self harm fuelled my fears regarding my husbands wellbeing.
When he did come home, police were in our living room, I burst into tears with relief. He gave his reasons for being so late. He was believable.
Typically I soon forgot about these infrequencies, writing them off as the mysteries of men, who can lose all sense of time when out and about at work.
I clearly remember being in bed one night in our new family home. Our two children were very young and fast asleep. Suddenly I was awake, feeling alarmed! I was aware of a dark spiritual presence in our bedroom. I sensed something evil and menacing.
I woke my husband. I asked him to deal with it. He did. The room felt right again as it should. When Jesus said we would drive out demons in His Name, we believed Him.
Casting my mind back to this experience now, in 2017, I wonder, had my husband through his curiosity, invited an unholy spiritual force, the Grey Visitor, into the most intimate room in our home and marriage?
I sincerely believe the dark spirit left when the Reverend used his God given authority to command it to leave. Sadly he invited it back again, leading to even greater darkness.
I cannot recall what sent me looking for what I did not want to find. Maybe it was that same unsettling presence that I grew to recognise when something dubious was causing unrest. This was to become a way of life, checking for evidence of the Grey One’s enigmas.
There it was before me, in print. The very first piece of evidence to give me a clue where my suspicions lay regarding the Reverends mysterious traits.
I had not seen or heard of anything like this before.
I had to confront him, why was he getting involved in this stuff, it seemed impossible to believe. This was not just looking at pictures of naked women. It was far more immoral, not illegal, but grossly offending against our faith and wedlock. As well as objectifying other human beings.
Fantasy was always his answer. It’s not real he would promise me. It’s just fantasy.
I was walloped for the first time in my life with paralysing horror! I had no reference points for anything like this, it was way off my chart. I dont think I knew anything about pornography, it was not a word on my lips or in my head! I was floundering and I would continue to flounder with every exposure of a deeper level to which the Grey One would continue to sink.
I had no idea what to do, I had no one who I could confide in. I would never raise this subject with anyone else.
We had zero preparation for this stuff in the seventies as young people. I sincerely hope more awareness is available for young adults and couples today, specifically those whose career depends on a moral lifestyle.
My only experience was The Grey one, and he was telling me what to believe, that there was no need to worry, that fantasy was normal.
How could I argue, I was completely uneducated about pornography. I had no alternative but to take his word for it. I could not expose the Reverend, he was my husband. I would be nothing less than loyal to him.
I loved him, he loved me I knew it. He was an amazing father and husband. A strong Christian and a dedicated Reverend. Compared to all I held dear in him, the fantasy exploration that I had discovered was so off the scale, it was impossible to anticipate the Reverend would take his searching deeper.
It didn’t make any sense to me that this wonderful man would be any less than loyal to me.
How very wrong I was!
The next time evidence crept up on me I wasn’t looking for it. The details of which may never be published, definitely not now, not here at least. The Reverends abnormal behaviour went directly against his earlier promise to me. It was shattering.
Suspicion began its long slow and painful purpose of corroding my mind. It would dominate my future like slow growing poison ivy, intertwining itself tightly around me layer by layer. Burning painfully from my core, damaging my emotional wellbeing and strangling the breath out of my marriage.
It was like an earthquake happened in my living room, I had nothing to hold on to, there seemed no place of refuge. How could I have prepared myself for this. In those brief minutes his written words caused me to fall between the cracks of secure expectation into a chasm of dark despair.
I became unhinged that day, and never got hinged back together as I was before. My marriage, my opinion of the Reverend, my lovely husband was sullied. I had become aware of a dimension of life I didn’t know existed and definitely wish I hadn’t.
My emotional wellbeing was impared forever in that moment. It would never be the same again!
I would never be the same again.