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Posted on Mar 12, 2013 at 11:59 AM

There will come the day when we stand before our God and I mean it when I say “Our God” because whether you are a believer or not, He created you and you belong to him. Now what He does with us on Judgment Day depends on whether we are believers or not. I am eternally thankful that I am; knowing I will be tucked away nice and neat in his pocket and not kicked out of Heaven only having received the privilege of a 25 cent tour. 

So, even though I may undeservedly qualify to spend my eternity with the Most High, I will still have to answer for sins not confessed while walking on the earth and I know I will have toasty buns when He’s through with me. When I go to the Lord in prayer I ask him to help me remember past sins that I’ve either forgotten, or buried deep down or because of my ignorance and pride, refuse to acknowledge them as mine. 

I remember a period in my life when I was about 13 when I was keeping company with a couple of girlfriends and we discovered the art of shoplifting. Now what on earth could a thirteen year old possibly need bad enough to steal? Make-up, perfume, candy, anything that would fit in the deep pockets of my big sisters tan trench coat. Yup, we’d casually stroll into the local Dart Drug having laid out our “plan” and go in together, split up, meet at the end caps and they would fill my pockets with treasures that we would either use, consume or fence to our friends at school. I think this lasted about a month until Mr. Store detective nabbed us one chilly afternoon.

Being that I was the one with all the booty on my “booty” the others were let go and I was remanded into the back store room to wait for my mom or dad to come get me. My mom didn’t drive so she had to walk a good mile or so to claim her juvenile delinquent. My father was at work at the time working the second shift at the prison in Lorton.

There is no way I can describe that horrible, sickening feeling I felt that day and many days after. Mom was furious, embarrassed and probably a little worried what my father was going to do to me when he found out. I probably tried to give them the rebellious teenage “I don’t care” attitude but I don’t remember anything except that awful feeling. I knew I was wrong, I was deeply ashamed, embarrassed, scared, and mad (that the other 2 got away). The walk home from the Dart Drug was a long, agonizing walk and Mom would burst out every couple hundred feet with some expletive or “your father’s gonna kill you.” I guess by now you have a good idea that I resided in “dysfunction junction”. 

Once we made it home I was sent to my room to wait for my dad to get home. I remember lying on the bottom bunk staring up at the top bunk’s steel springs, counting the squares, crying. I felt like a death row inmate waiting for the electric chair to warm up. At midnight I heard the front door open up and the familiar sound of my dad’s heavy black work shoes on the landing and the jingle of keys and coins in his pocket. He headed down stairs, I heard my mom and him talking, voices rising and then quieting again. I thought surely he was going to come up and jerk me out of bed and give me the beating of my life. I knew I deserved it, but I dreaded it. Nothing…..about 10 minutes went by and my mom called me downstairs. I thought at least I won’t have to suffer the embarrassment of getting my butt beat in front of my sisters and brother in the hallway upstairs. I made my way downstairs and my dad was sitting at end of the table on where he always sat. We had a table and chairs set that would have made the cast of That Seventies Show envious. A hideous brown laminate table with tan metal legs and vinyl chairs that squeaked. So dad was sitting there, his shoes off, his belt unbuckled, in his semi –dingy v-neck t-shirt (gray work shirt was already draped over the door in the family room), a True Blue cig smoldering in the ashtray by his left hand and a glass of sweet tea to his right. His red solitare deck of cards in front of him. A very familiar scene under very unfamiliar circumstances. And thankfully, he was sober. 
I don’t remember exactly word for word what he said to me, but I remember him telling me that he was disappointed beyond words, that even though we didn’t have much, we had enough and if I had to steal, he’d hold them off with his shot gun because he loved me that much. There was no physical punishment that night. Oh, how I wished there was. Looking into to my dad’s face seeing the disappointment and hurt, the silence that followed the days after, not being squeezed by his hugs and having my face tickled by his horrendous handle-bar moustache kisses was far worse than a beating. At least a beating had a beginning and an end. Being excluded from his affection and presence was a punishment I had never considered would be a significant consequence. As a teen it was my single goal to be as far from my parents as possible. Even though my home was fractured and dysfunctional on a good day, I knew they loved me. Eventually I was forgiven and life continued as before. 

The consequences of that criminal folly rippled far and wide for a long time. I had to go to a probation officer for a while, my mom had to secure a ride for both of us to and from. The embarrassment to my family, the inconvenience to my mom each week, the shame and humiliation to myself, I had a record until I was 18. All for a little Revlon, L’Oreal and gum. 

I’m not going to tell you that my life was forever changed and I turned a new leaf and became a model citizen, because I certainly pushed the boundaries in other areas like promiscuity, drug and alcohol use, lying. It didn’t sink in until was older and became a believer what the consequences cost me. I remember when I was about 18, I was in my 77 Plymouth Fury Sport (a.k.a. the “Banana Boat”) sitting behind the wheel in front of a 7-11. The convenience store had glass across the entire front of the store so I had no problem seeing a boy loading up his pockets with candy. Those feelings came back and my heart hurt, thinking of what I went through, what my parents went through. It all came back very fresh—too fresh. I jumped out of my car and went into the store and calmly told him to put the stuff back. The shock on his face, his eyes never left mine as he pulled his loot out and threw it on the shelf. He ran out of the store not once looking back. The store clerk looked at me puzzled, but then realizing what had transpired, gave me a nod and went back to ringing up another customer. I got back in my car hoping I scared the crap out of him along with the urge to steal.

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