Hey There, Delilah

I don’t listen to the radio much, so I’d never heard this song by the Plain White T’s, but I guess it’s played a lot. That’s probably because it’s one of the only good songs by this band, but that’s OK; the song is fantastic, heartwarming…

And, of course, reminiscent. I haven’t thought of Delilah in years. Not the one the singer is writing about, but a girl I met my senior year in high school. She was adopted by a man in my (first) church. Delilah was a troubled teen who had bounced from home to home as parents gave up on her and shunted her along; a pretty girl with curly red hair and freckles across her nose, and actually a pretty good kid. We talked at various church events and got to know one another, finding something in each other we could both identify with. Delilah wasn’t necessarily a good student, but she did what she could, and she cared about others and was generally nice. I never understood what the other parents had against her.

Her adopted dad had been serving as legal guardian for another teenager he adopted. He had two biological children of his own, neither of whom had reached prepubescence yet. I think that was the biggest problem, to be honest. She and this other kid were both normal teenagers, but the dad didn’t know what to do with teens. His sons were still in the young, always-listen-to-your-daddy stage where they never disobeyed or anything. I don’t know what he expected from his adopted children, but his reactions were less than Christian.

I won’t go into the story, because it’s pretty minimal. Delilah and the other adopted teen didn’t really do anything major*; if they had been my kids, I would have shrugged it off and been rather proud of them, to be honest. But because they had disobeyed him, even in such a minimal fashion, he disowned them and ended the adoption (whatever that process is called). Kicked Delilah out of his house.

I had begun to look up to this man as a father figure; his own dad had been a jerk so he could understand where I was coming from pretty well. But he was no better for his experience; he had turned into his old man. Delilah was broken after that. She became cynical, anti-Christian, stopped coming to church… I haven’t seen her but once or twice since she was kicked out of her adopted father’s home, and that’s been five years ago now.

I wish we could have remained friends… there was no way to contact her as she didn’t have a home or phone or anything. I offered for her to live with us, and my mom agreed, but Delilah was too proud to accept the charity. I wonder where she is now.

Post about this topic, but with a moral/religious conclusion, over at the FnC Blog.

It’s not like he’s the only Christian to get angry and do something rash. We all need to pay close attention to our (re)actions so we treat others in a more Christlike fashion… but more importantly, we need to think about our reactions in advance. We need to be reading the Bible and praying and putting ourselves mentally into situations we might encounter so we can figure out how we much response to those situations. We need to discipline ourselves faithfully so we might act in good faith. If we do not do this in advance, our emotions will get the better of us and we will fail. We’ll fail our friends and family, our sons and daughters, our parents and selves. We can do better than this.

He should have done better…

*Long story short: The adopted son needed a ride to the bus station because he had enlisted and had to be on the next bus to head off, and Delilah gave him a ride even though he was grounded.

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