Bearing the brunt of his father’s abuse Ricardo built walls around his heart. In this story he shares how he overcame fear and found a safe place to be loved.
I grew up in Rotorua. My dad was quite an intense violent kind of man. Right from when I can remember I used to see my mum get beaten up, beaten to a pulp quite often. I used to get beaten up a bit as well. I wasn’t the best kid in the world. Dad he’d get in such a rage that he’d hit me with either his fists, his hands, the belt, ah bricks, sticks, pieces of metal. Whatever he could find as he was chasing me around. And then i’d bear the brunt of whatever he picked up on the way. That kind of became part of my life unfortunately, as I had a lot of rage within me. And I’d be at school and school yard fights. They would turn from just a schoolyard fight into an absolute beating. I would just go absolutely ballistic on people. When I was 13, I watched my dad drink a lot. Really just got the crave for alcohol from then and from 13 years old I just drunk every weekend or every other weekend. By 19 I was an alcoholic. There wasn’t a day that went by where I wasn’t either thinking about booze or on the booze. The power that alcohol had on me from the outside in, my mates had no idea. They just thought that I was this really extreme dude that loved doing extreme things. I was into extreme sports, I was into everything a thousand miles an hour. I was always so happy and and full of life that people didn’t really know what was going on the inside. And while I was in this great corporate life, my dad decided to kill himself. I was about 20 and that was a massive shock.
It got to the point in Queenstown where one night I was in a nightclub and I had the massivest breakdown i’ve ever had in my life.
And I just sat down on a log and just wept. And was just like, what am I doing with my life; what is going on here? Until one day one of my mates was going to a a stag do up in Christchurch and I just asked if I could jump in the car to head up with him and he was like yep sweet. I was to meet my wife. I was sober; she was sober. On a night where there were loads of drunken people around. It was one of those sort of almost love at first sight moments. She just started sharing her faith with me because that’s who she is and she prompted me to go to church. And I thought sweet yeah this is going to get me some brownie points with this girl. But she’s a bit wiser than I am and she sent me to a different church than her church. The pastor comes on and everything he’s talking about at that time on that day just goes straight to my heart. Everything he’s talking about. It was like he was just talking to me. There was nobody else in that room. Everything was just bang on, on point; where my life was at that time. I walked out of there and my head was spinning. I just didn’t know what to think. And the band was awesome and everything and I was just like wow there’s something in this. During this period Katrina moved here to Tauranga and I made the decision to follow her. I came up here and it was the best decision i’ve ever made. We ended up getting married and the rest is history. It just made me look at God’s amazing grace and amazing forgiveness and how he can turn a life around. You know my life, on the outside it wasn’t broken; but on the inside it was very broken.
And how he can just watch over me. From the time I was born until all those times in my life where I should have died. I should have gone the other way or whatever it might be. One drunken night coming back from a rugby trip, I was running naked across a bridge with the rest of my team and a guy he threw a car up into my backside at 90kms an hour. Not only did I fly 6 or 7 metres in the air but I was only a couple of metres from going over the side of a 47 metre bridge into a freezing cold river. He was just always there, looking out for me. Here I am, been a cop for 8 years now and love it. I’ve been blessed with two beautiful daughters and an amazing stepson. Who are all really strong in the faith. I’ve been blessed with this amazing woman, my wife. Who is the most faith filled person I know. You can’t put into words the love that you have for your own family. And then to think that there’s a stronger love even above my love that is watching over them in terms of God’s love for them. You know, you always think that nobody can love your family more than you but God does. And I know that he’s going to use my family for his purposes. You know he uses my wife every single day.