When his daughter tragically passed away, David struggled to trust again.
In 2013, David Hatch got the news no father should ever receive. He learned his 24-year-old daughter, the mother of his granddaughter, was driving when her vehicle struck a utility pole, instantly killing her. Adding to the tragedy, he later learned that her boyfriend was chasing her when she lost control of her vehicle. Inside Journal® spoke with David about his painful loss, how grief shook his faith, and how he eventually learned to trust again.
Inside Journal: How did your daughter's death and the circumstances surrounding it affect you?
David Hatch: I struggled because of the death itself but [also] the struggle of anger. I got angry with God because He took one of the most precious things in my life away from me. So, I questioned God. I [also] got angry with my daughter for this happening, and then I got angry with myself for not being able to be there for her. And that caused a lot of bitterness in me. I didn't trust anyone. I allowed the pain and hurt to overshadow me.
Why didn't you trust anyone?
Because I felt like, what’s the use? When I trusted in [God], I lost the one I loved. Not only could I not trust anyone else, but I could not trust myself because I felt like I had no control. For a while, I didn't smile. People looked at me and said, "You frown all the time." I didn't even know I was frowning. So, I recognized there were some things going on inside that I needed to correct—and correct quickly. I've learned to smile again, but it was a process.
What was that process like?
I got an opportunity to serve inside a prison. I told my story to the men I ministered to in one of the dorms. When I talked about my past, the pain would ease, and I would let go of the negative thoughts. It took a while. It wasn't a quick fix. But sharing caused restoration inside of me. It helped the men to recognize the pain they had caused others. And that began the healing process. From there, I was able to begin to gain back trust.
What does the word "trust" mean to you?
Trust is not just a word; it's an ingredient of love. You [usually] can't trust someone you don't love. Love was the key ingredient that brought things back together for me. It was the glue that I needed.
How can our readers learn to trust themselves and others?
The first step is to recognize the fact that you don't trust [people]. And once you acknowledge that, then there's an opportunity to release [the distrust]. To release it, you have to go inside yourself. Nothing you can do on the outside will fix your situation.
Then, start to see yourself as a trustworthy person. See yourself as a person that's not hated. See yourself as a person that's loving. You've got to see that within yourself. It's an inward job of saying, "This is who I am, and this is how I am going to act."
But to do that, you have to allow God in. What a man's thinking in his heart, that's who he is. So, you must allow God to be in your heart. Then you can begin to trust Him. As I began to trust God again, I began to trust myself and others. But until I could trust God, I couldn't trust me. I didn't know how to trust myself or anyone else because I didn't trust something that was greater than me.
What would you say to someone who feels like it's just too late for them to learn to trust or be trusted by others?
I don't care how bad you think you are or what you have done, you can change. No matter how much pain you have caused another person, you can learn how to trust again.
I thought I couldn't trust anyone after the death of my daughter, but I learned how to let go. Letting go meant going beyond what I understood as trust and giving myself totally to God. I listened to others who had lost their children, family members and others and began to talk about my feelings, and that began the healing process.
Pain is something that we carry. But we do not have to carry it if we can recognize that everything has a purpose. Yes, you've done the crime, but that is not the end. God has given you an opportunity to turn things around.
ABOUT DAVID HATCH
David Hatch is a Regional Director for Prison Fellowship®.
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