I bumped into him three times that fall, at random or so it would have seemed.
At the bank where I worked. Then, at the 7-11 coffee bar, early in the morning. And at the Domo gas station where I was filling up to drive to the city to visit an ex-boyfriend in jail. Conjugal visit. Never told anyone that before.
He was soft spoken and honest and tall, dark and handsome; too good for me, I told myself. Likely married. Pushed out of my mind.
– – – – –
I was just beginning the climb up out of the hell I’d created in my life. I’d recently sworn off men, deciding finally to focus all of my attention on making good decisions, caring for myself and loving my kids, who I’d dragged along through the fire with me.
I was 28 and living in a low income housing project on Princess street. I was mentally spent, and physically tired and spiritually broken and I was ready to change.
I’d been on my knees begging God for help only a few months before. My prayers fell at dawn as the sun came up pink over the horizon: Dear God, I give up. The way I’ve been doing it obviously isn’t working for me. I’m ready. I need your help. I am moving over so that you can come in and make my life right. I’m begging you. Please help me. I can’t live like this anymore.
And just like that, within a few short days, my prayers were answered.
It was as if He said, ‘Absolutely. But if we are building a new life, we’re leveling this one to the ground and starting fresh.’
And then with one giant, unseen hand, God leveled the life I created.
And I completely trusted Him during those months.
The meager existence I lived – a mobile home on a golf course and a cocaine addicted boyfriend up on sexual assault charges – were wiped out. I left with only my barefoot babies in my arms; their eyes barely open and out of bed. It would take police officers in SWAT gear to retrieve my clothes. The second time I’d needed their help in two years, leaving relationships with two different men.
I went to the only safe place I knew. A friend took me in and gave us a bed to sleep in. Fed me and my kids. Loved and welcomed us. Let me flail around, hurting and ashamed. Kept fortress walls around her house while the kids giggled and adapted and watched cartoons in front of the TV with Eggo waffles and syrup.
We were protected while I gathered my strength to move forward.
– – – – –
Healing and changing and remembering who you really are is a life long journey.
My prayer for help came from the most sacred part of my heart, and although I prayed many times before and have prayed many times since, that prayer stands out as the one that changed the course of my life.
I believe in free will.
I believe in choice.
Personal power and learning from your mistakes.
I also believe that there is something more powerful at work in my life – watching over me, listening to me, loving me even when I haven’t been able to love myself.
But, I can’t prove it.
All I remember is being on my knees and knowing that I had been heard and held in the palm of His hand.
None of this means life became instantly – or permanently – easy.
Make no mistake, I had major clean up on Aisle 2 to do.
And on Aisles 1, 3 and 4.
– – – – –
I wasn’t at my best, but he saw through it. He knew I was good enough before I ever did.
Such a good man for a woman who didn’t yet know her worth.
We’ve been together sixteen years this November.
– – – – –
I am not my mistakes.
I deserve love and happiness, despite poor choices.
I now choose the right road.
Thank you for loving me when I am not able to love myself.