It was sort of a sick joke really. ‘Well, at least it can’t get any worse,’ I’d say. But then it just kept getting worse. The kid got sicker. The marriage got uglier. The husband got meaner. So I switched it up after awhile, ‘Hey, even Job caught a break…eventually…’
It wasn’t funny. Hell never is. And that’s where I was. Then one day I ran across a book and in that book was a quote. One little line from the Psalms that caught my eye and sent me digging for the battered bible that the sisters at Our Lady of Mount Carmel had given me back in 1982 when I made my First Communion. I bought a journal and started writing again for the first time in years. That one little line from Psalm 34 touched off a chain reaction that flipped my life upside down.
‘The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and those who are crushed in spirit, He saves.’
Yup. That was me alright. Crushed and brokenhearted.
I took my life back. Some days it’s been one minute at a time. I’ve been rebuilding ever since and I’ve had to fight for every blessed step I’ve taken. I’ve had plenty of days when I’ve been wiped out, beat down, used up and empty but I’m still standing.
I’ve met a handful of people in my life with a fierce fire in their eyes. A combination of faith, trust, and deep desire sort of all kindled into one huge bonfire. When I was a kid, I asked for that same fire. I kept asking until things got hard and I gave up on God. But over the last few years, I started asking again. Deep down, I still want it. I don’t really know what I’m asking for, so that prayer has been ‘I want what they got… God, you know what that is.’
So here I am seven years later feeling sometimes like I’ve gone nowhere. And on the outside, maybe that’s how it looks. I have my critics who are happy to point that out. But on the inside, I’m in a whole new space and every time I run across that line from Psalm 34, I look over my shoulder to see just how far I’ve come. Now there’s a new road on the outside too. Not an easy one to follow.
‘God is leading me to a crossroads,’ I told my friend.
‘My dear friend,’ she replied, ‘It is not a crossroad. You have to cross the road. Take the chance. You will…eventually. You just need some time to get used to the idea. Six months maybe?’
I know where this new road goes… or at least I think I kinda sorta know. I do know my whole life is going to get flipped upside down – AGAIN. But for the first time, everything that has happened in my life up to this point has a place, even my biggest screw-ups. Nothing is left over. Nothing is useless. Nothing is wasted. I feel like I’ve finally come home. Without thinking, the words flew out of my mouth, ‘I’ve waited my whole life for this!’
One of those people with that fire that I want heard me and said to me, ‘Ah…when I hear that, I know we need to talk…’
No sooner had those words left my lips than that voice popped into my head, ‘Oh shit! You don’t think ACTUALLY think God would let you get there, do you?! Doesn’t He know you better than that?’
Damn that Gremlin! He managed to plant that thought: What if I’m wrong…? And if I am wrong, am I strong enough to handle being crushed again?
And yet… perhaps even more frightening…
What if I’m right?