I have been concerned about Joel since his Daddy left. The other children have been able to voice their concerns, let out their cries, write their notes and draw their pictures for Daddy. Joel tried to push it all aside and hide his pain. For three months I have watched and prayed for him...wondering when he would break....wondering how long this vigil of silence would last...wondering how often he would choose to stand off from me for fear of getting hurt again...wondering about how it was hurting his father when he didn't want to speak to him on the phone. I knew what it was...but I was unable to reach inside his soul and touch him. So, I hugged him and prayed for him and told him that I loved him. His behaviour did a nosedive when Daddy left. He was angry and he showed it multiple times a day...to me and to his siblings. I knew what that was all about too, but it was exhausting to deal with the anger day in and day out without his father. Then, on July 4th, when we were having one of our "discussions" about his behaviour...me telling him what the Bible says....that I love him regardless of what he does...that I want him to grow up and be a godly man and that is why I correct him. He just looked at me...eyes blank again as if he heard but he wasn't letting it reach him. I could only leave the results to God. I left the room...and within minutes I heard such sobbing. I went to see what it was all about. He was laying across the couch, half on, half off, his body shaking from the sheer pain. I asked him, "Joel, what is it honey?" He looked up, red-faced and tear streaked, "It's Daddy. I miss my Daddy! I want my Daddy to come home!" I took him in my arms and held him...feeling his weeping, wet with his tears and I cried with him. He was beginning to let go. Three months of waiting for this moment, and it had finally come. I thanked God and cried.
We sat there for a long while, holding each other, crying, while the other children watched in amazement and silence. It was hard, but good. Since then, Joel has been different. He still deals with the hurt, he still aches, he stills acts out! But, he has opened himself up to let me close to him again. And I am so thankful for that. These are the scenes most people have no understanding about when a soldier leaves. Not from fault of their own, but just the fact that until you walk in these shoes, it is hard to know. Life is like that. I hope this helps me to be a little more insightful of the pain of others. It is so easy to "appear" to be put together on the outside. It is so much harder to be "real." Joel was "real" to me that day...and he is teaching me so much.