The Original Head-Banger

Judges 2:19

My younger brother, David, was the original head-banger.  Long before heavy metal music was a thing, he was regularly bustin’ his noggin on some significantly more dense object.  It was like the antithesis of cats, who supposedly always land on their feet.  David always landed on his head.  In an earlier post, I recounted the time I busted my head on a concrete slab while spinning tops.  With my brother, it was a weekly occurrence.

head banger

I think his love for gymnastic feats was partially to blame.  At age four, he truly loved attempting somersaults – both forward and backward – off the back of the couch.  I use the word “attempt” intentionally. He was rarely successful. That toe-headed tyke would climb up on the back of the couch, crouch, and spring into action. CRACK! Just that quickly, there was a chunk of the coffee table knocked out, and his head had a blue lump. This didn’t happen just once – as I said – weekly. He would squall and run to mother, and after a couple of days, he was once again ascending Mt. Ethan Allen. I should let you know that David eventually mastered gymnastics on his own.  In high school, he could execute double-digit perfect consecutive back somersaults, standing flat-footed.

Maybe it was the climbing part that was his habitual undoing. David liked climbing to the tallest point of whatever object on which he could get a foothold.  Some weren’t actually all that tall, unless you consider everything is tall thing to a three-foot tall  person.  I stood by and watched as he climbed onto the trunk of my aunt’s 1962 Chevy Bel Air. It sloped just enough that he thought it would make a good slide, and it did. He slid right off the trunk, and the back of his head hit squarely on the trailer hitch mounted to the bumper. I honestly don’t know how he survived some of those spills.

Many times, I suspected those concussive impacts were the cause of his hearing loss.  As a youngster, he was diagnosed with total hearing loss in his right ear and partial hearing loss in his left.  While I have sympathy for that condition, I am his brother, and I know him well.  There are times when his deafness is suddenly convenient. If someone is talking about a subject he doesn’t care to hear, he turns his head with a doe-eyed blank stare and utters an innocent, “huh?”

My father used to refer to his sons as “hard-headed,” and I guess there’s a certain truth in that.  Some say, “thick-skulled.” The Bible uses the term “stiff-necked.”  People often use the cliche, “banging your head against the wall” to communicate frustration. While I don’t necessarily think David intentionally cracked his cranium, neither did he shy away from the behaviors that resulted in those frequent mishaps. That could be attributed to perseverance, a positive trait, but every positive trait has an equally negative shadow.

In the book of Judges, the young nation of Israel was stuck in a vicious cycle. They allowed the surrounding nations to have undue influence on them and their families. They allowed themselves to be drawn away from the God who delivered them from Egypt and worshiped wood carvings and stone statues. As a result, God would allow them to fall into oppression at the hand of those peoples.  They would cry out to God for mercy, and he would have mercy.  He would raise up a judge, who would in turn deliver them.  Just a few years later, they fell back into the same pattern with the same result. Sometimes, we do that in our lives, and for some reason, we think the result will be different the next time around.

Here is the question I usually ask someone who seems stuck in that cycle; how many times do you have to be hit in the head with a two-by-four to know it hurts?

David stopped his head-banging years ago, and he has retained an amazing amount of perseverance through incredibly difficult circumstances.  More than once, he has been unjustly terminated from a job.  Somehow, he kept his family sheltered and fed through months of being unemployed and homeless. He was able to secure and keep permanent housing, working only as a pizza delivery driver.  David, my hat is off to you, (and it’s not off because I banged my head).

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Published in: on March 21, 2018 at 1:27 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Great blog! Wow you remember things from your past so well

  2. Great blog! Exceptional memory of growing up! Great application.


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