EVERYBODY HAS A STORY
It’s Sunday. That means Daddy has been drinking, and it’s anybody’s guess what mood he’ll be in. A sober, hard working man during the week, he can transform into a monster after a weekend of drinking. My conscience is clear, so Daddy will have no reason to mete out one of his savage beatings.
As I go in the house, I see Daddy is sitting at the kitchen table, and my heart sinks. I see his bloodshot eyes and the blacksnake whip lying coiled on the table beside him. Sick horror floods through me as he lurches to his feet, grabs my arm without saying a word, and begins savagely beating me with the whip. I’m no stranger to the torture inflicted, but this is different. The stark injustice of the attack freezes me and I don’t dash around the table or struggle to escape as I have in the past. I simply stand in shock as Daddy lashes at me with all his strength. My fury at the unfairness of this unprovoked attack grows into a white-hot rage, and I grit my teeth, determined not to give my father the satisfaction of a response. He is enraged by my indifference and he flails madly until he collapses into his chair, exhausted and panting.
Still seething with rage, with blood trickling down the back of my legs, I shove my face right into his and I hiss between clentched teeth, “If you ever lay a hand on me again, I swear I will kill you!”
That’s the beginning of Bobby Eaton’s book, The Boy In The Window, co-written with Andrew Weaver. I had the privilege of touring with Bobby and his wife, Sharla on a week-long “Sing and Sign” Tour. Bobby and I and The Steve Stutzman Family went to seven different communities from Georgia to Ohio with our songs and our books and presented Christ through song and testimony, mainly Bobby’s story of poverty, abuse, betrayal, prejudice and bullying… and then… redemption and salvation through the kindness and witness of strange new Mennonite neighbors who moved (“swarmed,” according to Bobby) into his poor “white trash” Kentucky community.
One night he was invited to a Mennonite neighbor’s house for supper and couldn’t believe the laughter, love and abundance he saw around the table. It was totally different from the “war zone” and scarcity he was used to at his house. As he returned home that night, he stopped and turned around and looked back at the Mennonite house and said, “Someday, I want to have a family like that.”
Bobby eventually joined this Mennonite group, married one of their girls, was ordained into the ministry, became a missionary to Haiti, came back to the states and is now a very successful buisinessman, building mini barns in North Carolina, and preaching when he is asked. He also has a “family like that,” with eight children who are all married with families of their own. Several of them are in the family mini barn business.
One of the most amazing “miracles” to me in Bobby’s story is that when his abusive, alcoholic father died, they were best friends! Bobby forgave his dad, lead him to Jesus, and helped him to lead a victorious Christian life! A wonderful true story of how Jesus can change the culture of a family!
If this sounds like a book report, you’re partly right. It’s a LIFE report and I am recommending this inspiring story. You can text me for a copy of his book (330-231-1164), or order The Boy In The Window on Amazon, or go to The Gospel Book Store in Berlin or Faith Books, Mt. Hope.
His story will inspire you.
“The lifelong flight to escape my destiny as a failure.” – Bobby Eaton