It was a sunny afternoon and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. What made the day even more wonderful is that it was wasn’t hot – not even slightly hot. The weather was absolutely perfect. My brother, sister and I had just arrived at a neighborhood park. There was a mini-carnival in full swing and lots of people walking around. At first I smelled the deep fried foods and popcorn being sold, and could hear loud music and voices in the air. As we approached the entrance I felt excitement build inside me for the fun that was within reach. I smiled knowing the $20 bill in my back pocket would help make it happen.
We quickly discovered our ideas of fun looked different so we decided to meet up in one hour. We each walked in a different direction with cash burning a hole in our pockets. I walked around studying each ride, game and food booth. I needed to make the right decision on how I would spend my limited funds. Just like the weather my choices had to be perfect – or so I made myself believe. I walked around for the second time when I saw it. I’m not sure how I had missed it the first time around. Off to the side was open booth with a woman sitting at a small table. She was dressed in dark colors and also had dark hair. As I walked towards her I noticed the heavy, black makeup around her eyes and it intrigued me.
As I stood in front of her I instantly became shy and didn’t say anything. She looked at me and said “would you like me to tell you your fortune?” I nodded my head and sat down. My heart was beating fast and I nervously looked up at her face. She was so mysterious and I wondered if she truly had a gift? Was she real or merely playing a part? I know fortune tellers are supposed to be fun but this was serious for me. I was a kid, I was desperate and needed answers. Even more than that I needed hope.
“What would you like to ask me.” She said.
I needed serious answers but needed to test her first.
“Have my parents ever lied to me?” I asked.
I was still in elementary school but I already knew the answer. In fact I had just recently learned the truth. My parents used and sold drugs and I HATED it. There were regular parties in our home, visitors randomly stopping by too. Hell even our family vacations revolved around picking up drugs in bulk. It was wrong and it scared me. I slowly also learned that this lifestyle made my parents physically and emotionally unavailable. Due to this fact I was an easy target for sexual abuse.
It had been happening for many years now and I hadn’t told a soul. Why? Because I was related to my abusers. At first I told myself I didn’t want to reveal the truth because it would hurt my father. Then I realized it was because I didn’t trust my parents. What would they say? Or do? Would they believe me? Would they make it stop?
So if this carnival fortune teller was legitimate- then maybe she could give me the answer that would help change my circumstances. Maybe my moments of peace and happiness wouldn’t end when I walked through my front door. I crossed my fingers under the table as I anxiously waited for her answer.
Please be real I thought.
“No your parents have never lied to you.” She said with such certainty and my heart dropped. I knew in this moment she was a fake and couldn’t see the past, present or the future.
I had accidentally overheard a conversation between my parents when they thought I was sleeping. They had promised me a few months earlier that they would stop drugs altogether- using and selling. They tried to keep that promise but were now back to doing both and hiding it from me. I remember listening to their conversation and feeling utterly betrayed and alone. I wanted to cry and scream out loud all at once but I remained still and silent pretending I was asleep.
I truly believe this fortune teller had the best intentions when she lied to me. I bet she thought her answer was helping our family. The truth is her lie only compounded my parent’s secret and I couldn’t escape my evil horrors. So I thanked her and sadly walked away.
My abuse continued another 4 years.
Lies even in the simplest form causes a lot of damage and destruction. As long as they exist things won’t ever get better. What I’ve learned is that truth can be painful but will bring change and eventually healing. I also now don’t need a fortune teller to give me hope – God did that for me and continues to do so everyday. In the beginning hope seemed impossible but truth helped usher it into reality. Uttering truth can be scary and overwhelming and difficult. Living in truth, however, is very powerful (and necessary) for lasting peace, happiness and a fulfilled life.