How did I get here?
My t-shirt pulsated in the rhythm of my heart’s pounding as if it was trying to beat its way free from the weakening vessel that held it hostage. Thump thump…thump was the tempo in my ear.
Through fast and shallow breaths, my mind gave way to the torment and fatigue that cracked each part of me in places, and rendered them dysfunctional.
I was living a dualistic life. Smiling on the outside while emotionally, mentally, and spiritually deteriorating on the inside. I had failed at an attempt to sustain a reality that was never real at all. I was suffering, though not as a result of physical illness or disease. No, my pain lived deep within the core of a place I could not explain.
A hidden place. A secret place.
It had become a fortress, housing the hurts that “good Christians” like me could not…should not… ever admit to having.
I had built a private asylum where I tucked away every truth about myself that I believed would be too much for the society of the “Blessed & Highly Favored” to handle. And because I wanted so desperately to be one of them, I believed I could not speak about what was going on inside of me.
I had become The Great Pretender and I was good at it. I dare not blow my cover. How could I?
So there I sat in the middle of my bedroom, on the floor. I was on a mission.
I was tired; so very, very tired.
My two small children were in their bedrooms on the other side of the house, occupied with games and television. Now, my previous opposition to having a gun in the house had turned into an opportunity.
I mustered up enough energy to push myself up off the floor. As if to hide myself from myself, I closed the blinds and turned off the lights. I collected the securely locked box from the shelf and brought it back with me to my spot on the floor.
I opened the box, took out the gun and loaded it.
I am not quite sure why I believed I needed all of the bullets in the chamber. Perhaps they each represented a part of me that I believed needed to die.
The tears poured like rain from the black clouds that had been looming in my head. These were not tears of second-thoughts. They were tears representative of the torment that had brought me to this point. To this place. To the end.
I assumed the position. Upright with my left hand planted firmly on the floor, as if to anchor my body for what was to come. With the right, I raised the gun to my ear, letting the tip of the barrel rest there before tightening my grip on the handle and trigger.
As I took in a deep breath, the one that I believed would be my last, I heard a loud rustling coming down the hall that led to my bedroom. Immediately, I dropped my hand, threw the gun in the box and quickly shoved it under the bed behind me.
In a flash, the bedroom door flew open with swiftness and noise that seemed like it had been kicked off its hinges.
But, kicking in a door was impossible because my 8 year-old son was too young and his frame too tiny to break down a door.
Yet, there he stood with a look that I had never seen on his face before. In a peculiar way, his face was filled with intention – a sense of purpose – a special mission. And there was nothing child-like about it.
Stepping up to me, his eyes locked with mine, he yelled in the loudest voice he could muster, “Mommy! I may not be able to give you everything you need, but you will always have my love!”
After a moment’s pause and eyes still locked with mine, he turned and walked out of the room as swiftly as he came.
In that moment…
I knew I had just received a divine message of love from God and He used my precious son to deliver it.
Or rather, the darkness broke inside me.
I saw my life flash in front of me. Not the life I had lived, but the one I still had left to live.
God’s words through my son and the look I had seen in his eyes snapped me into reality – a new reality and it transported me to a greater truth. I was loved. Unconditionally. And in that instant, I knew.
Deep down in the crevices of every place I hurt, and in each crack in my soul, I knew.
Using the energy I had left; I lifted myself from the floor. With my bed serving as an altar to catch me, I fell forward on it and wept. Tears flowing like water from an uncapped fire hydrant and bathing me in the process.
My tears represented the fatigue of trying to hold it all together when everything in me had been falling apart. They represented the choices I had made – the ones that had brought me to the point of death.
Most of all, they represented life, or rather, the celebration of a life that had not ended. I was still here. I was still alive.
Through a power greater than suicide, God’s love snatched me out of the grip of death.
And on that day in 1997, I vowed to never leave His love again. I knew then, what I still know now…His Love is Greater.
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