The Write Place- Curtis Bruce Kessler

April 24, 2013

Hidden in the Shadows

Filed under: Uncategorized — Curtis Bruce Kessler @ 2:59 am
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Late at night as the wind howls outside my window and the moon casts bizarre images on the bedroom walls, I detect furtive movement out of the corner of my eye.  Each time I try to focus on the movement the image mockingly disappears into the shadows.  I was a young boy at the time and I imagined something terrible was hidden in those shadows. Night terrors were what my dad called them but I thought differently.

One night my dad rented a room at a spooky looking hotel.  We had traveled a long way from Houston, TX headed home to Rincon, GA so dad was exhausted and needed rest.  All I wanted was to get to that wonderful place called home and more to the point I sensed or rather imagined that there was something creepy about the motel. I couldn’t come up with any legitimate reason why we shouldn’t spend the night.  How could a young boy explain to his dad a fear that sounded crazy and far-fetched? I hid under the covers praying that my fears were unwarranted. However, the light emanating from the bathroom suggested otherwise.  The light appeared strange; rather than being warm and natural, the tone had an unnatural quality purposely concealing a clandestine operation.

Sleep eluded me.

Soon after dad was fast asleep I sensed a presence next to my side of the bed.  I dared not take a look. I waited. My heart pounded in my chest.  For what seemed like an eternity nothing happened then I felt ice-cold boney hands ease under my body.  The clandestine operation revealed!  I knew without a doubt that my life depended on crying out.  With all my strength “Dad!” then within seconds his loving arms were embracing me, protecting me, and pulling me to safety.

The shadows retreated.

There are powerful events that we experience in childhood that affect us both mentally and spiritually. Divorce is one of those jarring events.  I don’t believe parents are neither fully aware of the drama of divorce nor fully conscious of the war that rages within the minds of innocent children.  Children are left with unanswered questions.  What was once a home (even a fractured one) is instantly gone.  We feel abandoned.  We have difficulty expressing our bewilderment and pain.

You can be sure that whatever the cause for divorce, children are at risk!

Satan lurks to use these events as opportunities to create as much chaos as possible.  This is one reason why Jesus warned, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” John 10:10.  Satan wants to debase all that is good and innocent. There are many children of divorce parents who are hurting; a deep ache exists, a forever scar.  Be mindful of the reality of this even in cases where the divorce was legitimate. Many are now adults who are still haunted by memories hidden in the shadows of the past.

One night long ago my dad embraced me and pulled me to safety.  He was there for me. He was my hero. Yet, my dad did something even better. He taught me that God was the only one able to heal my broken heart, to give me peace over troubled waters, to give me power over fear, and to empower me to live a life of meaning and purpose.  Are you hurting?  God will heal you.  What is hidden in the shadows that have you in the grips of fear and anxiety? God is here for you. His Grace will enable you to experience a victorious life!

“He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.” Psalm 91:4.



December 1, 2011

The Fallen Christmas Tree

Filed under: Uncategorized — cbkessler @ 11:25 am
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Holiday memories are special and powerful. When you are from a broken home, a family separated by divorce, these memories cut through like a razor and leave a permanent image on your soul. I had come from a broken home myself. Many folks accept divorce today as inevitable, the norm, or an alternative but studies show that divorce leaves a “forever” scar on the children, even if the divorce is justified. I know I speak for many children who were raised by their single divorced parent, the memories of Christmas holidays are both wonderful and sad. I say sad in the since that as a child you know something is terribly wrong with your dad or mom but you don’t know how to fix it. You want to help them so bad but it’s just beyond your reach. Instead, you love them wholly, unconditionally through and through. Because of this dynamic love special times like Christmas are deeply treasured. One such special memory for me happened one Christmas Eve night when I was 8 years old. My dad had the titanic responsibility of raising a wiry skinny little boy (me) on his own and did so for eight challenging heroic years. However, he did have great support from his 14 brothers and sisters. Of course this was both a blessing and a curse for me! But I digress.

Christmas was even more special that particular year. My dad and I had gone through a lot. The road had been difficult. Well, actually he had gone through a lot. I was grateful to stand tall beside my wonderful dad. He had to work extra jobs along with working the grave-yard shift just to get by week to week, that, and constantly chasing after me. While I didn’t understand the complexities of life I somehow sensed that dad was deeply troubled, that he wasn’t happy, and was working extremely hard to hide his pain. His efforts to put on a different mask around me didn’t work one wit and I was determined to heal him of his ills and raise his spirits. Soon, I found the means to heal his sickness. A Christmas tree!

My plan was unbelievably simple. Daddy had to work Christmas Eve and would come home late that night. He had purchased a live tree the day before but had forgotten to purchase any ornaments for decorations. So, Christmas Eve, while dad was working I excitedly put my plan into motion. I scurried from one Aunt/Uncle’s house to another getting my hands on every ornament they were willing to let go. Soon I had a treasure cove of Christmas ornaments. What an amazing collection; an assortment of blue and red glass balls, dangling bells, glass snowflakes, Nutcracker soldiers, a Star of Bethlehem tree topper, gold and silver tinsels, and lights to finish the tree. I worked steadily, carefully and tenderly placing each ornament on the tree. Truly, my decoration represented a puzzle; each piece had to be placed perfectly. This would be the complete cure for my dad. Finally, the work was done. I stood back and smiled at the most spectacularly decorated Christmas tree in the entire world. I then slid the tree carefully behind the front door so dad wouldn’t be able to see my surprise until the right moment.

Life is filled with surprises and God has his way about things. So, not surprisingly things didn’t turn out quite like I had envisioned. As dad pulled in from work I stood with great anticipation. But instead of walking in normally he threw open the door shouting, “Merry Christmas! Ho! Ho! Ho!” and unbelievably knocked over the tree. All my plans, all my hopes, all of my work to put this puzzle in place to cure my dad came slowly crashing down. The disappointment was just too much and tears fell in droves. I just couldn’t stop. Dad, quickly surmising what had just happened, wrapped his arms around me, shuffling his hand tenderly through my hair, “Son, I am so sorry. The tree is beautiful. But, guess what? I love you! You are what matters to me. We can lift that tree back up and it will look even better. Together we can do anything.” Sure enough, together, we lifted that tree back in place and ornament after ornament the great disappointment was replaced by the love of father and son. In the end decorating the Christmas tree was truly a cleverly designed gift for me. God works that way. I had all the best intentions in the world but God saw differently and used the fallen Christmas tree as a means to bring healing and love to two very needy souls. We both sat on the couch deep into the night watching quietly the lights dancing off the glistening ornaments on the tree. As I slowly drifted into that wonderful place of rapture and tranquility I thought of the baby Jesus, how that he would bring good will and peace to all man. I smiled knowingly as I snuggling closer to dad. Thank you Jesus, thank you.

Remember the power of Christ this holiday. What has fallen can be raised, what is disappointing can be turned into God’s advantage, His love can be experienced, and His peace passes all understanding.


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