Today I thought I'd talk about religion......sort of.
I'm not a religious person. I don't practice any type of religion. I don't go to church. I don't watch those nutty religious shows on TV and I NEVER preach to anyone, ever.
I have had a long and trying life. I have spent every waking moment of my life facing challenges in ways most people would never be able to conceive. Along the way, there have been many times when I was forced to face some demons. They are awful little creatures who like to tear you apart from the inside. They try to make you do things, say things and be something you were never supposed to. They try to change you. Those invisible beasts sneak inside you and grab a hold of your lungs and just squeeze until you think you're going to die.
But you live. Living is the ultimate revenge. Not to say that its easy, because its not. Those little monsters wont go away just because you lived. In fact, they come back stronger, instead. And they bring friends. They work even harder to rip your heart out. They want nothing more than to watch you kill yourself, and to know they are due the credit for that.
As I said, I have met them. And did they ever try to take my life. They brought me to the edge of life and I had to fight my way back over and over again.
I don't know where my strength came from. I had no reason to have hope. My family caused me a great deal of harm and pain on every level. When I left them, I was met by other people who caused me a great deal of pain and harm. And when I tried to get away from all of them, I was met by even more people who brought me a great deal of pain. I couldn't win. So why did I go on?
There is something so big and so small in this world that you can see, but almost never recognise. There is something you hear, you breathe, you smell, but you never take the time to learn what it is. I called it hope.
I remember one occasion sitting alone in the dirt and leaves, very far from civilization. It was cold, but I didn't feel it. My nose was runny, but the sniffles didn't bother me. It was early morning and the small animals were all a bustle getting ready to start their day. The leaves in the trees rustled and I could hear the squeaking sound of trees rubbing together as they swayed in the wind. I remember looking out over an amazing view of flowing mountain fields. Hawks screamed from far up in the sky. The air was fresh, the ground was damp and I sat there, still, just watching, listening........thinking.
Even as my surroundings seemed so wonderful, I sat under a dark cloud of turmoil. There was no sun in my life. Just that damn cloud. Quiet tears fell down my face. My arm began to hurt as I pressed a broken shard of glass harder onto my wrist. It would be so easy. Just one good swipe and I could just lay down and watch the tree tops sway in the sky till it all faded away into darkness. It would be so easy.
Fresh tears swam down my face, again, warming my cheeks. I paused. There had to be a reason. Just one reason. There had to be. If I had nothing, no reason to stay alive then I would go. But there had to be something. I thought for a long while, never letting up on the pressure that was cutting into my skin.
I felt something inside. Something that whispered very softly, 'You can't do this'. I just couldn't place it. I couldn't hear it loud enough to understand it. I tried to listen, I concentrated. I squinted my eyes forcing more tears to fall. I listened very closely.......then I heard it. It was a simple question.
I have never been one to run from a challenge. Though suicide seems a quitters choice, it was something very different to me. It was a matter of taking away from those who used me as a scape goat. If I took myself away, they would have no one left to blame. No one left to hurt, but themselves. The ultimate enlightenment. But a challenge? No, I was never one to turn one down. To me, the question was a challenge. It had to be answered. If I could answer the question with solid logic and reason, I would be granted the gift of death. The 'go ahead' if you will, to take my own life.
"How will you ever know?" That was the question. I didn't need to hear the rest. I already knew what it meant. "How will you know......if it will ever get better, if you die now?" That was what it meant.
I sat there so long that day. I couldn't answer the question. I could never know the answer, unless I lived it. I looked up to the sky. I remember wondering........'Was that God? Was it God that just asked me that, or was it just me out smarting myself?' I dropped the glass on the damp ground and looked at if for a long moment. I walked away that day, alive.
I felt stronger. I knew it wouldn't be easy. I knew I would meet that sky again and again be asked that same question. I wondered if I would ever be able to answer it and whether or not I would be holding another big shard of glass or something else if I could answer that question. But as I wondered many things, my feet carried me on.
There were definitely many more trials and many more occasions where I faced that question with a weapon of choice. But I've yet to answer it.
Apart from those more severe moments in my life, I remember a great many more where things just seemed to be impossible. There have been many times when as a single parent I was beaten to a pulp by life. I wound up unemployed for about 2 years straight, I was rejected welfare because I was due child support that the dead beat dad never paid. I had no car and all the shut off notices were about to expire.
I cried myself to sleep every night hoping something good would happen, but even with all my hard work pounding the pavement every single day, all day long, I still had no job. I still had no car and no one cared. I was at a point in my life when I was scraping face on rock bottom.
It wasn't until I sat alone, outside, under the trees looking up at the sky did I come to my limit. I broke down and begged God for help. Anything......just......anything......a chance, some hope, a tiny little stepping stone.....just SOMETHING! And I meant it. I really meant it. I had nothing left, nothing but a simple grain of faith.
Within days of this 'drop to my knees' prayer, something happened. A wall gave. Several tiny things happened that helped in a big way. It was EXACTLY what I needed to stay on my feet. It was the stepping stone I asked for.
Suddenly, I get a check in the mail from the government. Turned out they had robbed the father of my child of his tax return and gave it to me. Then shortly after that, I was contacted by the welfare department who told me I was more than qualified for assistance. (Which I used for about 2 years and then called them to cancel my benefits.) Shortly after that, I got a job and was able to keep my benefits just long enough to catch up on bills.
My point being, things turned around. When I was certain things could not possibly improve, after a simple prayer, a real honest request to God, I was granted my wish. I got what I asked for.
On another occasion, I had spent several years single. As a human who craves love and affection, it really broke my heart that no one even showed an ounce of interest. After convincing myself that I was pathetic and no one would ever want me, I broke down again. I spoke to God. I asked him for a man with specific characteristics and finished my prayer with, "is that so much to ask?"
Needless to say, within a few days, I was 'noticed'. Unfortunately, he had all the characteristics that I asked for to a 'T'. But he had more as well. I forgot to ask for a man who loved me back. I forgot to ask for a man who was employed. I forgot to ask for a man who'd like my son. I forgot a lot of things. He wound up taking me for all I was worth and I was flat on my ass with nothing, AGAIN.
I recognized this lesson immediately. I didn't blame God. I knew he was right. I had no right to make such a ridiculous request. It was selfish and I got what I deserved. I managed to get back on my feet again after rock bottom bit my nose for the umpteenth time.
At this point I was a pretty firm believer that it was God. He was there and he was listening. I just needed to learn to ask for help the right way. I really had to 'need' the help. And when I say help, I don't mean a magical cure for all my ills. I'm willing to work hard for my own life and I have great respect for life itself. And I believe those who are willing to put in the time and effort will get what they truly desire in the end. So I know when to ask, and when to work harder.
Recently, in my life I kind of felt like I was at a stand still, but when I remember all these things, and I remember all the other things I've wished for, I now realize........I have it!
I asked for success. I'm now a published author! I asked for a WONDERFUL man with all the characteristics I FORGOT to ask for last time. (And I did NOT mess it up this time) And I now have the most amazing man on earth! The kind that made me learn what it is to love and be loved (which was also one of the things I prayed for). I got it! I asked for employment, a new car, a safe home......I got it!
So I'm NOT at a stand still, I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be, right now. :)
I can officially say, I'm a believer. And I don't need a church or any group of people at my door demanding it of me. I have life. That is what gave me faith.That is what will help me keep faith. Always.
Do you believe?
Tell me your story. I can post it in my blog for all to see, or keep it between you and me. If you'd like to let it out, feel free.