Friday, September 28, 2012

As an eighteen month old child I was deserted at the orphanage on Christmas Eve

We are going back a few years now.
Early 1970's when I still worked in the North.
I moved to work and live in London E16 in 1975.

Recently Dave contacted me from back in that day
and he spilled his beautiful story and has given me permission to retell for you.
Dave writes::


As an eighteen month old child I was deserted at the orphanage on Christmas Eve, either by my mother or father, certainly not both ..
..... then fostered and later adopted by parents that on the whole were good people, certainly by the world's and my standards.  
To be honest, I remember very little of those early days.

However, what I do remember was the deep feeling and belief that ... "if I was good .bad things wouldn't happen to me".  
I don't really know where that belief came from but it had a profound effect on how I related to others; ..
. it still does.

I had made one of (if not the) biggest mistake of my life by embracing a belief structure that required that I be good ... in order to be loved. 

This led me down a slippery path of pretending to be good ... putting "good" on like it was a coat to be worn for the sake of others to see ... pretending to myself ... lying to myself ...  I became the very thing that neither I, nor others would want ... I became a fraud ... I thought that they required it and the more it didn't work ... the more effort I would put in to ensure that it did.  I believed that if only I could be "good" enough, they would love me ... or at least like me.

What I didn't realise at the time was ... I didn't like myself ... I never had ... I was broken.

Something had closed me up so much that my heart was broken ... I don't mean that I was upset or sad, on the contrary ... It just simply no longer worked properly ... In hindsight, I'm not sure it ever had.  I had become very good at hiding this but when others would openly show affection ... I would withdraw ... Not because I wanted to, but because that's where I felt safe.  I still find myself doing this and have to check myself ... Old habits die hard sometimes. 

I was completely unable to love myself or anyone else at that time.

I remember you as if it were yesterday ... 
You had more of an impact on me than you will ever know.  

I remember the first time that we met ... 
I was trying to get a room in St Helens YMCA, I had already been refused by Fred but not being one to give up easily, I came back (out of desperation) and a really nice lady on reception (I can't remember her name) told me to come back later and see you.  
Anyway, I did and you bounced down those few steps that brought you from the dining room level down to the reception, gave me a light punch on the shoulder and called me a bum ... 
As I remember that was one of your favourite phrases at the time ... I liked you from day one, and although I would never have admitted it at the time, I immediately identified in you what I needed for myself ... It was the love of God that passes all understanding but I understood it from day one because I could see it reaching out to me.  
Of course it goes without saying that you found me a room, I think it was room 6, I remember a brass plaque on the wall outside the room that had the name Christine Pilkington on it ... Little did I know at the time that Christine meant "Follower of Christ" and Pilkington being my name ... You could say ... the writing was on the wall :0)

The me that you will remember is about 18 years old with my life still in front of me. As you can imagine, the years have done their work ... Still feel the same on the inside though.

Very shortly after moving into the St.Helens YMCA back in 1973 I started to wander into your office Pip with Roland Burke and Paul Kerr ... You were working on your Fish Wrapper programme at the time.  You had a small plaque with the words:

"He is no fool who gives up that which he could never keep, in order to gain that which he will never lose"  
(or words to that affect)

Some time later I asked you about it but you didn't explain ... You teased curiosity into me a little and gave me one of your John's Gospels in the Living Bible version and told me the answer was in there ... I read that Gospel through tears before gong to sleep that night ... I would never have thought that I could be so moved, and would certainly never have admitted it at the time.

The Gospel was like water to me in a dry land.  God doesn't love me because of how good I am, my ability l to love has nothing to do with it  ... He loves me because of how good He is ... This was beyond revolutionary to me ... Yet I knew it was true because you were demonstrating this to me on a daily basis ... and it changed me forever.

You may not have been aware of it at the time but many of the young people would gather together and talk after reception closed in the late evening.  The most popular subject was just how "off his head" that Pip Wilson bloke was ... Followed quickly by how every problem in the YMCA would be Pip Wilson's fault.  To my shame I was one of this brigade.

One such evening when the main topic of conversation had started to unfold, I found myself defending you ... 
Me defending you ... 
How mad is that? 

There I stood like a proper hypocrite because days earlier I was a fully paid up member of this brigade.  
I was just not prepared to renew my membership anymore ... 
Anyway, after a few heated words the whole thing just broke up and people went off to their rooms. 

You may be interested to see a Christmas card that you and and your lovely family sent me back then.  Also a rent receipt from the St.helens YMCA from December 1973 could be considered a vintage by now :0)

I still had and still have issues to deal with ... I expect I always will ... but one issue I knew Jesus had nailed to the cross that night was my ability to exercise my heart and take the risk of loving someone without fear.  

I went to bed that night with the realisation that Jesus had done something special because ... 

I didn't hate myself anymore. 

I now have five amazing Children and six wonderful grandchildren with a seventh on the way and I love them all more than I could ever have believed. 

Thank you Jesus and Thank you Pip.. 
You will never know how much difference you have made.

*Photo to be added*

I remember the black guy as well ... 
Wasn't he a Muslim or something like that ... 
He used to take a bottle of water to the toilet with him and we all wondered what that was about until he explained it to us ...
 I was a very young Christian at he time and didn't know how to deal with that ... 
I wondered whether you would challenge what he believed but you took him and us by surprise by embracing him as he was ... 
As a result of treating him like that he wasn't alienated from you or the other Christians and he asked questions later that indicated he may be searching.  

I learned so much from just observing you do what always seemed to come natural to you. 

Thanks for the pics Pip ... Very much appreciated ... 
It makes (the nostalgic) me wish I could go back and do it all again ... 
I loved my time at the YM 

I know you were only at the St.Helens YMCA for about two years but of all of the places that I have lived since ... 

No memories are held as dear as those days.


Thank you Dave for writing this and sending it to me. 
I appreciate you allowing me to publish here.
It will be an encouragement to to so many people workers who never get any feedback from their years of faithful work.

A beautiful human you are.