“It’s not supposed to be like this”
I didn’t have a plan “B”
“It’s not supposed to be like this” I’ve said that to myself before when facing a crisis. This pain stings the soul unlike most things because this pain knows just where to go. I remember many years ago…I had just gotten married and ended my 3 year hitch in the Navy and after a year or so my first son was born, I was there as he made his début, I was there when he was circumcised, and we were inseparable. As some marriages do, ours didn’t work out, so my 1-year-old son moved to the other side of the country.
If I keep walking I’ll be OK
So off they went and left the house a disaster…but this disaster had plans for me. Wills last meal of spaghetti and sauce were painted on the wall next to his high chair. As I looked at that masterpiece I felt something that I hadn’t expected. I “felt” him reaching out for me as he always did…but all I saw was emptiness. This pain went right to my life source and began to meld into my very being. Everywhere I went I saw Will and his life fingerprint. Then the agony started…I can’t say that it was mere pain because It affected me as nothing else had. Even having involvement in war…I faced things that even though I have dealt with I still don’t talk about but what I was facing I simply had no defense for. So as I sat in our little 800 square foot house I slowly began to die. In desperation I walked out the door and began to walk around the block. I can’t remember just how many times I walked around that block during that summer but I remember thinking “as long as I keep walking”. To this day I don’t know what came after the thought “as long as I keep walking” but I knew that I had to begin.
Counting sanity by the block
“I can’t stop! I can’t stop!” I kept telling myself as “the” horrid mantra tried to fill my every thought. I must admit that it was a struggle to put together a cognitive thought during that summer leading into the fall and my incessant walking gave me hope somehow. As I rounded the block toward the house to begin the next journey a new thought would fill my soul, each with a connective tie to the last thought…but totally different. Depression and blackness began to fill my being very slowly, deliberate.
A small seemingly insignificant presence
I entered the realm of “numb” where nothing in the land of the living makes sense. The darkness paints a new color that you hadn’t seen before and yet a color that begins to dictate to you. It says “I’m your thought now…i will tell you what to feel, what to be” and the numbness draws you. Yet there was a small…very small place in me that wasn’t occupied by this realm. I didn’t pay much attention to it…i just kept walking.
One aspect of pain creates another
The thoughts of my “once upon a time” wife were not in my thoughts…just my son Will. Suddenly the horrid mantra ceased and the mental anguish rose within me. In one aspect I was impressed that I would actually be able to carry this pain but then as it increased my physical body began to feel the pain. I “knew” that I had to keep moving and as I did the physical pain was barely tolerable. Actually this was a temporary reprieve from the realm that I was living in because it sometime gave me permission to “breathe in daylight”
Changing directions “Just one voice”
Often out of desperation I would change directions and walk “counter-clockwise” around the block instead of clockwise. I remember the day the direction changed…I walked clockwise into the afternoon sun wondering if there was hope for me…that I would ever find a woman who would love me and let me love her. I was to realize that this would be an epic day for me and one that I could never forget. As I walked I heard a voice that I had never heard before and yet a familiar one. It spoke to me but not in an audible voice, but as he spoke my entire being heard it…my hair heard it, my teeth heard it…my skin and bones heard it. It said ” son I have your wife all picked out for you she is real and she is alive even now”. Then he spoke to me and I recognized who the voice belonged to…He said “I could even tell you her name, that’s how real she is and she is for you” he continued “when you first meet her you won’t fall instantly in love, but you will become friends and your love will grow”. I didn’t know what to think but I pondered these things in what was left of my heart.
Beginning to make the cut
I know that there is a time in each persons life that they are “called upon” to enter a new plane…a new thought and life process. As I began to recognize the voice I found myself communicating with it. I had never heard this before and yet I cannot remember a time in my life that I didn’t hear it…It was God himself. He was giving me the map to the path to the rest on my life. He spoke to me in a way that every part of my being heard him, and if he would have spoken audibly it would pale by comparison. His delivery was such that I had to take delivery…he was the most gentle caring life force that I had ever experienced. I hadn’t been a christian long…just a couple of years but how could i recognize a voice that I’d never heard…but I had heard it…countless times I heard it and as such that my body, soul and spirit drank in the light and life.
I can’t say the pain was gone because it wasn’t, but this darkness that had set up shelter in me had competition. God spoke softly within my being and said “in order for me to bring your wife to you, you must forgive” Even though I had spoken to him within my spirit, I spoke audibly for the first time…I said “How am I supposed to forgive a woman who took my son from me?” His only response filled my total man…and without uttering a word “trust me” filled my soul. Direction had no meaning to me for the previous months and not knowing where I was going or what it was going to cost actually made it easier. I had heard nothing but the droning of the blackness that shrouded me…no direction no hope and no resolve.
Alternate reality, same time zone
The plane of existence that I was in offered no reality, but Gods instructions began to move me into another reality…same time zone but an alternate hope. He had told me to “forgive” but as he spoke to me in his healing voice I knew that there was a path of promise leading from it…so i continued my journey. In the same breath as he asked me to “forgive” and that he had “her” already picked out for me, he gave me a promise that shook the foundations of my understanding. “You will get your son back, and it will be very soon”. Even though this promise was overwhelming to me, it was a promise that I believed. It was the easiest of his communication that I could believe simply because I knew that there was no way that I could make it happen.
Not in my heart but in my mind
This forgiveness that he spoke of stung me due to the “extenuating circumstances” of the situation. I certainly couldn’t forgive from my heart because hope had left me alone in this situation. But I had to trust God and forgive, so left with no other options I began to forgive with my mind. I would speak forgiveness to her in my mind and with my mouth…but my heart was far from forgiveness. I continued this process often throughout the day and really didn’t see much of a change in my attitude but something was happening within me, I just couldn’t see or feel it. Looking back I realize that I couldn’t see the change because of the lack of light and hope in me, but each time I spoke forgiveness with my mouth I was ushering in light and hope, and very soon I would see the results.
Moving the mountain impossible
“My son was coming back to me and it would be very soon”…how could I forget that statement? It had to be real and I really did believe it was going to happen but my belief was out of desperation. Even desperate hope if it is pure will eventually bring results.
“Around the block” was simply a beginning.
During these days I began to pursue God with a hunger that was undefined. I simply couldn’t get enough of his presence, and so I became a “God chaser”. I had remembered my treks “around the block” where I struggled to simply stay alive. I knew that if my inside died that I would “cease to exist”, and at the time this trek seemed to encompass the entire universe. As I began to be a “God chaser” I realized just how small my world had been but the joy that it was producing was beyond my scope. I hadn’t forgot Gods promise to me and gained hope that I was moving toward it.
As I continued to become acquainted with Him my vocabulary began to change and I was able to actually “speak” forgiveness for her in my heart even though I hadn’t experienced the true feeling and knowing of forgiveness. When I reached this stage my hope grew and I simply trusted God’s promise to me that I didn’t think about it that much, I was simply enjoying the ride.
Coming up for air
He had fulfilled his promise to me by teaching me how to forgive the unforgivable and as I finally “came up for air” I saw it…I realized that my forgiveness was progressing…I was actually feeling forgiveness in my heart for her. The release and peace was something that I hadn’t realized for quite some time. I was able to breathe again, to see the light of day and hear the birds singing their song to me. God hadn’t forgotten his second promise to me…but his final promise was to come before the second one.
Being in one place, ending up in another
As the days passed and life strengthened within me God hadn’t forgotten his promise and his plan was in full swing. So I was off to school in the deep south seeking God’s presence in my life through study of his Word and studying people. People had always been an interest to me so learning how to take the layers off of the Human psyche and study them one by one interested me. As I grew in the knowledge of the life that God had chosen for me, my trust in Him grew and I actually began to “enjoy the ride”. I began to open up to people in a way that I had never opened myself up to before. I began to see the hidden beauty in the Human race that had hid from me for so long. Yes…I really began to like the place I was in even though it was quite unexpected.
HE moves and I was overtaken
I remember lit like it was yesterday…the call I received from her on a bright sunny day. It was very much “out of the blue” and something that I could not have put together in my being. My son Will had been making his requests known even at that very young age to which she agreed…I was to get full custody of my son! To this day I cannot explain what my feelings were…but I was “at rest”. I hadn’t expected it but I wasn’t surprised either. God had kept his promises to me until now, and he simply kept up his promises to me.
Still waiting but “at rest”
This promise that God delivered to me was beyond explanation and it re-defined me as a life force. To me…small promises were one thing, but what God gave me was something that began to change my spiritual DNA…I began to understand people as i hadn’t been able to until now. Because I had visited and lived in the place of abject depression and horror, I began to recognize in others the pain that I had known. I was being shown how to navigate through the shoals and chasms of this world and to help others to freedom.
Me and mini me
God had kept his promise to me in a magnificent way two separate times. Most people may had thought that now that they were a single parent that they needed to “quit school and get a job” After all I had a son to raise and carrying a full load at school simply couldn’t be a part of God’s plan…(little did I realize). Just as God had operated in the impossible in my life, he expected me to do the same. Because I was a Viet Nam veteran I had a full GI bill which I used to the fullest. I even remember the VA calling me before a Psychologist who wanted me to “be sure I wanted to do this with a young son in tow” So into the land of “impossibles” we went…me and my son to which I said as we were leaving for school…”let’s hit the road clone”!
Living on auto-pilot
God had put many things together during those years for Will and I, and even though carrying a full load at school, holding down a full time job and raising a son full time wasn’t the easiest thing I had ever done. I was living on “Auto-Pilot very happily. I was more of a God chaser now than I had ever been. Learning about him…the humanity that he created and how to be a good dad filled my life so that there wasn’t room for anything else.
Raspberries in my face (from then until now)
After a year at school summer came to Will and I. I remember reliving my childhood with him during that season (and at times we still do). We would go to the river and make a mud slide that we would careen down into the river, and coming back to our little apartment looking like “mud men”. The fall semester crept up slowly but with a plan for me that would change me and fulfill the final promise given to me. I had dated a little, but not really seeking a lasting relationship with any woman at school (little did I know).
I decided to go to the “get acquainted gathering” for freshmen at school for lack of anything better to do. We were told to stand in a straight line and let the freshman class come up to us and try to make us laugh. I thought I had this one “in the bag” as a 5′ tall fiery redhead walked up to me. She simply looked up at me, stuck out her tongue and gave me “the raspberries” right in my face. Seeing a sight like that made me laugh and…yep! I was the first one out.
Just as he said with uncanny accuracy
She and I saw each other on campus and began to talk…she had the same passion to learn about humanity as I did. She met Will and we all became friends just like God had spoken to me those few years ago. I wasn’t looking for a wife and certainly not a mother for Will…I was doing just fine but she was to become my wife. Our friendship turned into unshakable love for each other. As our trust for each other grew I realized that she was the one who would always love me and never leave me, and after 31 years our unshakable love has grown into a strong fortress. God’s plan as he had spoken it to me is still just as strong as it was those many many years ago.
So…What do I do now?
We put Humpty Dumpty back together again