Skip to main content

Fire in the Mind - Allen

By Neal Stone ~

As I get closer to filing divorce I find myself facing many battles...and winning. The counseling sessions have been good and after my second one my counselor asked if I wanted to continue. He asked in a way as if I didn't need too. We did find it wasn't low self-value hat was the problem, but currently as it was in the past. But rather now not seeing the value that was already there, But how does this happen? How does someone not have any self-value or not see their own value? That is part of what this blog is about.

We will dive deeper into my personal lift story than ever before. As my counselor told me “Just because it started bad, doesn't mean it has to end that way!”. I kind of like that.

fireImage by matthewvenn via Flickr
Fire in the Mind
Part 1 – Allen

It’s there; you can feel it, a slight burning in the back of your mind. Like a fire that won’t go out. The smoke chokes your soul and your heart is smothered in its ashes. The fire of guilt, shame, and no self-value. The years wasted that now burn away never to be seen again. A fire burns, a fire in the mind.

You want to put out that fire but just as it smolders to an ash, something fuels into a roaring flame that once again burns.

She lies alone in a hospital room, a young mother about to give birth. Alone in a dark room in a foreign land. Alone in pain and despair, cries in the night unheard. Alone ready to give birth to her last child. But not tonight as a nurse who had some prejudice against this young mother walks away and leaves her all alone. Leaves her alone in the dark and in pain. Alone with a large bruise on her arm where a needle was violently shoved in.

One hour, then two, then three…five, six…eight...and then twelve pass. He walks through the hospital greeting his patients. He stops and gives them good or bad news, but makes his rounds as usual. He walks slowly towards the young mother’s room. She can hear his footsteps and his voice as he talks to others in the hospital. Time slows and each step echoes slowly down the hall. She tries to cry out, but is too weak. Lying in in pain and unable to cry out, she must wait. Wait for someone to find her.

Each step the doctor takes has an eerie echo. After what feels like a life time the doctor reaches the room of the young mother and walks in. What he sees is beyond belief. Laying on the bed in a pool of blood a young mother clings to life. Her unborn child stuck in the birth canal for no less than 12 hours. She is rushed into labor and the child, barely alive and blue, is born.

The stage is set. What would become a very troubled life had begun. A long journey of trials and pain had started.
Born Neal Allen Stone this child, called by Allen his middle name so not to be confused with his father with the same first name, would develop a few disabilities that would make his life difficult. Blind in his right eye and years later physical ailments more to come. At age 5 he would develop severe Epilepsy and with the medications that followed a learning disability as well. Blind, having seizures and perceived by many as dumb and stupid, Allen never had a chance to begin with. Deemed hopeless and a dim future, he would struggle, but soon give up. Not a good way to start life.

His natural father left when he was two. This would lead to a lifelong search with an unsure ending and feelings of rejection down the road. One of many sparks the refueled the fire.

There he would sit in special ed as the teachers would discuss him with his mother. They would stand there and discuss his hopeless learning disability while Allen played not realizing that he was listening and crying inside. “Why am I different? What is wrong with me? I am so stupid!” would run through this gentle child's mind. The fire started. A small spark that would slowly grow to a roaring flame years later. Not even in first grade yet and Allen’s self-value was already low and almost gone.

Yet there was one teacher who felt different. While the others ignored Allen or gave him little hope, she would sit with him and work with him. Often frustrated, but never giving up hope on Allen. And for two years she worked hard. Could she reach this little zombie who sat staring blank at the wall? A child who could barely speak and express himself, shuttered away in his mind alone like his mother in the hospital. Crying out inside with no one to hear his faint voice. A cry in the night no one heard slipping helplessly into the dark.

Yet here was one woman who ventured into the dark and heard the cry. One person who cared enough to take such a chance. And for two years she worked hard teaching, talking, reaching out to Allen in the hopes that somehow she could make a difference. A teacher whose name long forgotten, but actions long remembered.

Then one day it happened. First a slight flicker in the eye as it turned to look at the teacher. A blank stare became a weak smile and the mouth would move as if trying to speak. Then like a flood gate opening Allen suddenly snapped out of his trance and for a brief moment, escaped the dark. He turned to the teacher and began to repeat everything she had taught him the past two years. The fire had started to slowly fade as Allen was able for a small time in his life, escape the binds of his disability and be free from the darkness that held him for so long. The story made the papers and the local news. He would be called “The Miracle Child”.

But this would be one of few bright moments over shadowed by darkness and hard times. It would be a small victory in a larger battle. His childhood would be on and off. Some days he was normal like any other kid, other days a zombie. He would attend a Christian school in the 6th grade. Even there he would have to deal with being bullied and made fun of. Even surrounded by Christians he wasn’t safe? Why is it in the one place you should be able to count on people, you can’t? Even his mom's fiance' wasn't any help. Often calling Allen stupid or dummy when he made a mistake. This Allen would carry with him into his adult life.

At age twelve his soon-to-be step-dad joined a local Baptist church. It was here the nightmare would really begin. It was here things got strange fast. This was no ordinary church. This one became very cult like and controlling very quickly. The step-dad thrived on it! Allen didn’t have a chance!

Fire in the Mind Part 2
The Hostage