Last week I wrote about prayers and blessings. Now I want to go back and fill in some of the history because the past is so important to understanding the significance of today. I’m sure it will take several posts for me to write through this journey, but it’s something I think I need to do in order to get to a point where I can forgive myself.
I met my ex in 1995. I had my sights on earning my bachelors degree the next year and waiting tables on the days I wasn’t at the university paid the bills. My ex was five years older than me and the manager of the restaurant. I think I found that most attractive about him- he had his life together (I thought.) See, I had a boyfriend at the time and his life consisted of a lot of dreaming, but not much doing. He had many ideas of what he wanted to do when he grew up. Instead, he drank too much (like his father) and struggled to manage his finances. I tried to help him, even helping him pay rent on several occasions. At this point in 1995, I was simply waiting for him to break up with me. Early in our relationship, he mentioned that every girl he dated broke up with him so I decided to give him the opportunity to do the leaving- but he wouldn’t do it, so I finally did. (Things were so bad that when I invited him over the night I ended the relationship, he brought a book to read!)
Newly single, I began dating my ex-husband. I was certain I found “the one” and nothing (or no one) could have convinced me otherwise. I should have taken a step back and asked questions when the assistant manager asked me if I’d met his mother and when I said no, she laughed as she walked away. I should have been skeptical when I started to see that reality didn’t track with the illusion (he owned a boat, leased a brand new truck, but still owed several thousand dollars on a credit card, including repairs on a vehicle he didn’t have anymore, and he lived with his mother. Although, in my defense, he told me that he had just moved in with her to help her after surgery. I thought that was sweet). I should have ran and not looked back when after a couple months together, he fought with my parents and called my mom a b**ch. I should have thanked my best friend when she held me against my will before my wedding and tried to convince me I was making a huge mistake. Instead, I ended the friendship. I should have seen that the night he drank too much and didn’t remember driving home or leaving the unintelligible message on my answering machine wasn’t a one-off thing. I shouldn’t have written off a co-worker, Bonnie, when she asked if my fiance was a Christian. I said I didn’t know and she told me it should be the first thing I ask.
That conversation still haunts me. Now, some people might think I’m crazy (maybe I am) but I believe Bonnie’s question was a warning from God; a final opportunity for me to wake up and see that it was all wrong. I had grown up going to church with my grandparents, and on my last blog, I wrote about another instance where I believe God used a person to intervene in my life. It was when my grandma talked about suicide and that it was God’s choice when we left this earth and not ours. I was 15 and had been contemplating suicide for months.
During high school and college, I didn’t go to church and I honestly didn’t think much about God. I mean, I always believed in the existence of God, but didn’t seek Him in my daily life (only when things were so messed up I didn’t know what else to do.) I worked on Sundays because they were always busy with people going out to eat after church. I distanced myself even more from religion and God as I saw the hypocrites dressed in their fancy church clothes come into the restaurant and act like complete jerks. Apparently kindness and showing love toward others got lost somewhere between the church sanctuary and rest of the world. I still remember this man who was very rude and demeaning to me. His wife tried to tell him he was being mean and his response was “she’s just a waitress.” I wanted nothing to do with that.
Years later, I began to change. I felt a vague sense of longing for something and decided to go to church again.
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I’ll stop here for now. I have no idea what I will write next or how these posts will go, but will do one a week, probably on Sunday (I have a lot of buried stuff and digging is painful… I cried while writing this… but I think I have to unpack it all to truly let go.) When I sat down to write this one, I planned start at the beginning of the divorce- nearly 2 years ago. I know one person was interested in learning more about my ex-mother-in-law… I will get there! Just know, you’ve been in my thoughts and prayers.