Never Underestimate the Power in a Parents Words
By Amy Julian, Contributing Writer
Have you ever made a comment you wish you’d kept to yourself?
As loving parents, we try to say things to positively nurture our children’s thoughts and beliefs. Still, we’re keenly aware of how easily it can all go wrong. With one off-handed comment, a belief you never intended can imbed and perhaps be carried in a child indefinitely. That’s exactly what happened with my mother and me when I overheard her, in a moment of anxiety and concern, speak the words that would remain with me for years.
At the time, I was about eight years old, walking after dark with my friend, Vicki, also eight years old, along a wooded, riverside dirt road. We were returning from a neighboring friend’s cabin. To get back to our own cabins, the narrow, rarely traveled road forked downhill toward the river where, to our young minds, the darkness got even darker.
“Oo-ooh, here comes the scary part,” Vicki says to me. I agree, and we bravely clutch hands, moving forward into the blackness.
Unknown to us, our friend’s father was walking back up the hill, on his way back to his cabin after a visit with Vicki’s and my parents. When he heard us talking, he had a brilliant idea.
He hid behind a tree until we were near him, then he lunged out in front of us and yelled, “Boo!”
Terror rooted me to my spot. Meanwhile, Vicki’s fear forced its way out of her in an ear piercing, wailing scream as her feet raced her back up the road we’d just walked down.
Of course, the screaming brought our parents and much apologizing from this prankster father. While the adults all talked to each other, and hugged and cuddled Vicki and me, I heard my mother’s grave tone.
“It’s wonderful Vicki screamed and ran for her life,” my mother said. “But, Amy never moved. She just stood there, frozen in fear. If that had been a real threat, she’d have been easily grabbed. It worries me: what will she do if there’s ever a real threat?”
So, in my core lands the belief I can’t trust my emotions. They are faulty…flawed, and they’ll get me grabbed.
Fast forward, and I’m nineteen years old, visiting my boyfriend in a local community hospital after he’s been involved in a car accident. Despite only having been there a few times, I feel I know the place well enough to believe the rules don’t apply to me, so when visitor hours end, I stay a bit overtime.
When I finally make my way back down on the elevator, it opens into an abandoned and shadowy corridor that leads me passed the dim entrance to the ladies’ room, the empty seating of the lobby area and the closed reception desk. This is apparently why I’d found parking on this side of the hospital: all the activity is happening at the emergency entrance on the other side of the building.
I push through the set of glass doors into the warm night air and immediately find myself in the path of two young men, approximately twenty years old. They appear quite interested in my arrival. The door clicks shut behind me. Intensely aware of my vulnerability, I freeze to the spot. The men move closer, blocking my way so I turn to the left, thinking I can still get to the parking lot. Instead, I see two more twenty-something men walking toward me, smiling and snickering to the first two men. Their movement and comments light my blood on fire. Terror steals my breath.
Not knowing where else to go, I turn back toward the glass doors I’ve just come through and pull on the door handle.
I yank again. Hard.
In that moment, the only words I can bring up in my mind are, “Oh, dear God: Help me!!” I glance behind me, and yes, the four men are advancing toward me. I yank again and again on the door handle, pulling with all my might, and then I feel it: a gentle click in my hand.
The door releases, and I race in through the opening. Back in the shadows of the abandoned corridor I hurry, glancing behind me, and yes, the four men have followed me inside the hospital. “Oh God! Oh God, where do I go?” my mind races while my gaze lands on the ladies’ room sign.
“NO!” Comes a sudden, sharp sense inside me.
Instead, I run down the corridor, back to the only other place I know: the elevator. I press the ‘up’ button. Thankfully, no one has called it away. The doors open immediately. I step inside, afraid the four men will make it in time to get on the elevator with me. I pound and pound and pound on the ‘door close’ button, but nothing happens. The elevator doors remain wide open. A loud ringing roars in my head, but still, the door will not close, and the men are still coming.
I glance down to the ‘door close’ button and realize I’m not pressing it. I’ve been hitting the alarm bell next to it. Finally, I press the ‘door close’ button, and the elevator doors close with me – alone – inside. I’m shaking and cling to the wall for support, riding back up to my boyfriend’s floor where I report what’s just happened to a nurse. Security is notified, and I’m told to wait for an escort before attempting to leave again.
I am of course more than willing to wait for a security escort.
A few minutes later my security officer arrives. He looks thin enough to be considered frail, and at least fifty years my senior. Still, he’s kind and very comforting, that is, until we’re back in the same deserted entryway where he tells me two important details of which I’d been previously unaware.
First, he says, “We’ve been having trouble with security here lately. There’s been some second shift nurses uh, being … attacked … in the parking lot. Never heard of them coming inside the hospital though. Not till tonight.”
Passing through the glass doors, he shakes his head and says, “You are a very lucky, young lady. These doors are on an automatic lock every night at the end of visiting hours. I don’t know how you managed to get back in through them.”
Maybe, he didn’t know, but even in my still shaky state I knew.
This was my save, the moment where I came to see firsthand the power of God, of prayer, of His grace, of His mercy, of His Love.
That old fear of being a victim of my faulty emotions, left paralyzed and defenseless in a moment of need, was eclipsed by the blessing of having parents who taught me on Whom to call when I needed help. I didn’t think about it, didn’t question it, I simply knew from the example I’d seen growing up that “God provides.” I needed and called out in the simplest prayer, and He answered with saving guidance and direction.
Now, as a parent myself, I know how incredibly easy it can be to leave an unintended mark on a young spirit. By choosing to live an example of a God-centered lifestyle, I’m aiming to show my daughters “God provides” is not only a verse in the Scripture, but a true source to seek out for themselves.
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