People Just Don’t Understand

By Donnie V. Rader

I don’t know if you have heard the story about John Beagan or not. It is an interesting story to say the least. John was married to Susan for 18 years. They were faithful to each other. Both seemed to be happy with their marriage. In fact, they both say that these past eighteen years have been the best years of their life. John and Susan have four children: Loy (13), Tammy (11), Houston (8) and Liz (5).

John has been the best dad he could be to these four. He never missed a baseball game that Houston played. Loy cared nothing for ball, so John took him hunting and fishing  even when he really didn’t have the time. Don’t think for a moment that he neglected Tammy and Liz. He spent as much time playing games and dolls with them as he did the boys.

Little by little things changed in the family  or really with John. As time passed, he spent less and less time at home. Oh no, he wasn’t seeing another woman or drinking or doing anything immoral. He just got to where he was working a lot more than he had been. You see, John works for a company that makes blank VCR tapes. Sales have been up with the increase of VCR owners.

John doesn’t feel it is really his fault that he doesn’t come home much. He was told by his supervisor that everyone on his shift was to work overtime. Well, John did that for a long time. But then, he got to staying around the plant after his shift was over. Later, he would leave the plant and go get a bite to eat, browse through the mall, go see a friend and then go back to the plant. He hasn’t been home in several weeks now.

Naturally, John’s family is puzzled. They can’t under-stand why he doesn’t come home anymore. Oh, John hasn’t cut off communication. He is willing to talk when they call him at work. His wife has made repeated trips and begged him to come home like he used to. Several times the whole family has gone and talked with him. They have asked what the problem is. They have pled with him over and over to come home.

Loy and Tammy (the older children) have just about given up on him. Liz was heard to say she didn’t think he loved his family anymore. Little Houston, though he is only eight, assessed the situation saying, “I don’t think daddy wants a family. And we can’t help him if he doesn’t care!” His family is not the only ones who have been puzzled and critical. Some of his co-workers and friends have talked with him as well.

John told me that people just don’t understand. He has repeatedly told his family (and others) that he really does want and love his family. In fact, he gets a little “put out” with those who suggest he doesn’t. It’s just that he has been so busy. He says that he really can’t help it. He has had to work a lot lately. And he does have a lot going on in his life.

The last time he talked with Susan and Tammy (a week ago) he told them that he knew he needed to start back to coming home after work. And, he plans to get started just as soon as he can get a few things straightened out in his life.

John’s mother, Marinda Beagan, asked me if I would talk to Susan and the children. Don’t misunderstand. She doesn’t approve of John’s actions at all. In fact, she has been to see him to encourage him to go home to his family. But, she does think that Susan and the children are being a little hard on John. She said that John told her, “Mom, I really do love my family, it’s just that . . . well, I just got out of the habit of going home after work.” She has begged Susan and the children to be a little more patient with John. Now she wants me to talk with them.

John’s mother explained to me how tired John gets working the hours that he does. He needs some time to himself, she said. He really doesn’t feel like playing, fishing, hunting, talking or going to a baseball game. She thinks if Susan and others would be less critical of his not coming home and be more positive and encouraging that he will gradually come home more. Now don’t tell Marinda that I said this, but I think she is just making excuses for John.

Oh, I’m sorry that I’ve rambled on with this story so long. I thought maybe you haven’t heard this story. But, I guess you have. It is really the same old story about people who were faithful but gradually quit coming to worship. Now, why can we see that John doesn’t really care about his family and yet we quit or miss a lot of Bible study and worship service and contend that we really do love the Lord. I guess I just don’t understand.

Guardian of Truth XXXVIII: 18, p. 6
September 15, 1994