My brother and I loved my Grandma Gibney. My father was the youngest of seven children and he loved his mother, so he made sure we would go and see her. I still can see her face, remember her laugh and hear her voice. She always had hard candy, not too bad. She would call us “her boys” She had an uncanny way of treating us and our cousins with equal love.
In March of 1976 she died at 74 years of age. It was the first time that I faced death. It was traumatizing. The funeral the casket and perhaps even the flowers. Then we came to the graveyard where they buried her, hearing my mother crying and her Mom, trying to comfort her.
I will never forget how scared I was when I came home. I feared death. I KNEW WAS GOING TO DIE ONE DAY. It suddenly washed over me at 12 years of age that there was a heaven and there was a hell. I did not speak about it as usual, my brother told me years later he was having the same feelings at the same time. But my Mom had a gift Bible in a bedroom drawer and the print was so small it was hard to see. I desperately tried to find some hope. I was so afraid. I read a passage in the gospel of John that said, “He that believes in me has eternal life.” I drew some comfort from that but I still was not saved.
Then we went to I.S. 7 in Huguenot. Junior High school was where my sinful corruptions rose to the top like vomit in my soul. I learned to curse colorfully and lust after the opposite sex. I was an average sinner, a child of disobedience, a child of wrath. There is nothing special about being a sinner. The kids in my class were dumbfoundingly goofy and they loved to talk about body parts. One kid used to sneak up behind the other kids wave his hand like a cobra and slap them in the back. It was hilarious and painful all at once. The only good thing is: I learned to drive a moped. That was a good day. My brother had a lot of friends but I had none. I was that sibling that borrowed his brother friends by talking to them but that was it. I stayed to myself, listened to classical music and went to see Star Wars 11 times in the movies. I listened to the soundtrack of Star Wars until I wore it out. We had LP’s or vinyl records then. We even plastered a “EarthRise” mural in my bedroom.
When we moved into Eltingville there were older kids next to our home that were partying outside, eating and drinking and having sex in their cars. Then they left garbage everywhere. My Irishman father asked them to leave several times, nicely but they ignored him. My father had enough of their trespassing and debauchery and went after them threatening them with a bat. They left that day, but they got us at the bus stop. My brother got beaten up by a bully who lived across from the bus stop. I was frozen in fear and disbelief while it happened. Then one day the entire school bus spit all over me, while the bus driver laughed. Another time, one of those guys tried to run me down with his car right on the front lawn and almost killed me. My parents were horrified and called the police. It all finally came to a screeching halt and developed into cold war of insults and face making for a while, after all this was Junior High School. I hated those bullies. I will never forget the day that a sink hole developed on Ridgecrest Avenue and he and his car plummeted into it. I have to say I was quite pleased seeing his car’s rear end sticking up from the ground (sorry I was not saved then either).
I tried to fit in but I never did. I felt rejected, ugly and alone.
I learned early in life the world never loved me.
God was making coming to him easier and I would find out Christ loved me all the time.
This is the fourth part of my testimony.
©2015 Rev. Stephen S. Gibney, give credit where credit is due.