Dr. Stephen Phinney | July 25, 2020 |
Over the past several months, our world has been turned up-side-wrong. While being a prolific writer, I found it difficult to write about my “feelings” with our onslaught of tragic events. I tried it once before but got more negative feedback than positive. Thanks to a dear friend, I am back at recording my “Tell All” inner thoughts.
I have been encouraged to write an autobiography throughout most of my ministerial life. Well - I did. The manuscript sits and gathers dust. Before I get into the onslaught of our present circumstance, allow me to give you some background data.
My Life | The Bubble Boy
The Lord brought me into this world on June 13, 1955. Born in San Antonio, Texas, into a family of three additional siblings; my eldest sister Sheila and my twin brothers, Patrick & Michael. My parents were stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX, at the time of my birth. When I entered this world, I was plagued with allergies to the point of being allergic to all forms of milk/foods, human touch, textures, and even the air itself. This is why I was placed in a “bubble” (oxygen tent) off and on for the first five years of my life.
My first memories were seeing condensation on the inside of my “bubble” and, as told by my mother, holding me through latex gloves that were attached to the walls of this tent. As I began to grow through the nurturing of a new discovery - soy milk, I have vivid memories of what seems to be endless, prodding & probing of doctors and nurses. The remaining memories I have of this time were closely related to seeing open festering wounds on my entire body, which I get to this very day. Due to the ramifications of starting life with such profound weaknesses, I have countless memories of rejection. From my perspective, growing up, I was born rejected by life itself.
In 1960 my father was transferred to Forbes Air Force Base in Topeka Kansas. It was during this time that I began to have rejective experiences I would rather forget. One memory is that my brothers and I climbed on top of a factory roof, with instructions by them to go to the other side and look over the edge, which I did, turned around, and no brothers to be found. I ran back to the ladder to discover they had taken it down and took off. I remember crying out for help until someone came to take me from the roof. There was another time when my brothers and I came up with this plan to rob a candy truck. With brothers inside keeping the store attendant busy, I am rampaging the candy truck and, of course, got caught. I remember crying and telling the truck driver that our family was poor and without food, with that, he gave me several bags of candy and told me to scoot.
Probably the most hurtful memory I have of Topeka was being rejected by a teacher while in Kindergarten. I remember being checked in, sitting at a little table, and the teacher came and had me removed from the class, saying I was not ready for school. A humiliating moment for sure. It was this moment that started my rejection pattern connected with education.
I am not sure why my father decided to move us out of that community, but we soon found ourselves living in Richland, Ks (now under Clinton Lake). It was in Richland that I have memories of being in Kindergarten, but with this memory comes a trauma that has stayed with me. I remember walking to school one day, and the next thing I knew, I was drawn into the woods to discover a teenager or adult, there in the woods. I’m not sure what happened to me in the woods that day since the trauma forced me into a blackout. The next memory I have is walking home alone. This event troubled my soul for years – not being able to file it away in my mind. I asked my brothers if they remembered this event, but to no avail – they had no memories of such an event. It was this was a memory that I had to put in the hands of my Savior.
My father was soon transferred to Dow Air Force Base in Bangor, Maine. My memories of Bangor are mixed but mostly disturbing. I recall living in two homes, one being in base housing and the other being in a house on a hill. The first home comes with my first memories of my father being out of control when he got drunk. This particular outburst resulted in MP’s at our home to calm my father. Since I had never seen my dad act in such a way, I was perplexed as to what was going on. The event started a long habit of my father having these post-traumatic war episodes after becoming intoxicated.
Children have unique ways of acting out trauma, and one of the ways I attempted to deal with what I saw was by becoming bound by fear – I am talking about parallelizing unfounded fears, which others learned to take advantage of.
One night my mother was off babysitting in the neighborhood, in which time some neighbor kids made a dummy, stuck a knife in its chest, poured catsup around the knife, and placed it in the field across the road. Then they came to me and said they found a “dead man” in the field – at which time we all went to see this body. When I saw the “bloody” mess, I took off into the community screaming for help, a reaction I don’t think they expected. As I was running through the community calling out, the boys quickly took the dummy and hid it. Once the MP’s were called, mother now present, no “body” was to be found. The conclusion of the evening was my parents had a child that “cried wolf” – the syndrome begins. I was disciplined by my father, which I can assure you was not pleasant, and life went on.
My life story will continue in my next post. My hope in posting these childhood memories is to assist others in conquering rejection through the Life of Jesus Christ. If you continue to read the up and coming blogs, you will discover just how the Lord accomplishes this feat.
Until next time…