Some people will tell you that there are no second chances in life. Those people lie.
I can still vividly remember the day that my life… shifted…
I graduated from college a mere five months before…
…top of my graduating class.
…steady job in my field of study.
…house to hold myself and things.
I had it all.
At the time, my family was living in Europe as expats for an American company and my mom called me one afternoon “just to chat”. From the second she started talking on the other end I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to speak. The tears came out with such a fury that it was like trying to hold back a waterfall with two toothpicks.
“Mom, I feel like I’m dying,” I sobbed.
She clarified with, “You feel like you are dying? Or that you want to die?”
That was the way of things during this time in my life: hold it together long enough until I was in private and then cry myself to sleep. No, I didn’t want to die. But I did feel like my body, mind, and heart could not continue for one more minute.
I won’t burden you with the details of what I playfully (now) call “The Dark Ages” but suffice it to say things in every area of my life were breaking or being broken and people and things in my life were literally sucking the life out of me. I dropped 20 something pounds and couldn’t eat or sleep without help from a team of MDs and was overall a very sad, broken, angry person.
I was lost. Hurt. Badly bruised.
So… I did what any immature, naive, damaged person would do. I dragged my bleeding self all over tarnation like that little bird in Dr. Seuss’ book Are You My Mother? and I asked “Will you love me?”
Thankfully, God did give me key friends and family during that time to dab at my wounds (Literally. If you like ER stories, I’ve got a humorous one involving a biopsy, paper towel wads, and a chemical burn.) and to prop me up on a day-to-day basis (how they put up with me during that time AND still today I have NO idea. THAT is a story of true love). I couldn’t even stand myself then.
The funny thing about love, though, is that sometimes when people send love your way… it doesn’t always reach your heart’s antenna… Or maybe you just have a whirling swirling storm surrounding your whole body? Like a forcefield that’s blocking out evil but also blocking out good? That about sums it up.
My parents love me like crazy. In a deep, amazing way that only a parent can love someone. But let me tell you. We were having problems before they left for Europe and during this time I was fueled by anger alone. Anger burns hot and long. Just a couple of weeks ago I was clearing out hundred and hundred of old emails and I found dozens (and dozens and dozens) of emails where both of my parents had sent me love and tried to reach out to me but I RARELY if EVER responded to them. At least that’s what I could see from my inbox.
Friends, this is how my habit of breaking relationships began.
Yes, I realize that it takes two to have a relationship, but let’s for a minute imagine that I am the only one responsible. Because in the end the only person I can alter is myself. Right? Yes, right.
There I was. Still dragging my bloodied self around like a zombie asking “Will you love me?” to all who seemed the least bit interested.
On one hand this seems okay-ish because if you need help then you should reach out to someone. But (and I haven’t lived for very long) if you carry around poison in your body you may (accidentally or accidentally-on-purpose) poison the people who you are trying to get to love you… Anger. Hurt. Distrust. Bitterness. Them’s nasty poisons they are…
It wasn’t many days after my meltdown on the phone with my mom that I packed up my car with only what I absolutely needed and drove north to the Midwest to live with my grandparents. I had to leave the state. My sanity and health depended on it. Or so I thought. I simply needed my grandparents to house me until I could get another steady full-time job and get back on my feet.
I probably don’t even need to tell you that my poison bombs were ready to launch in that relationship… Can you hear me screaming?
Thankfully, though, I hated myself enough to search high and low for someone(s) skilled at healing bruised, battered, and bloodied hearts, minds, and bodies. Someone(s) willing to look past the crying and the fits and the irrational patterns and JUST see someone that was not screaming to scream but screaming for help.
And help I did find. And may God smile brightly on the counselor who met with me each week for a YEAR and STILL lets me call and who has never once thought to give up on me. She changed my life. Possibly saved my life.
No road is without its rocks, though, and I continued my lost bird routine over and over and over for several years. Woot Woot!
Some might say that those relationships were sunk costs. Lost forevers. Don’t look backs. Shake the dust from your feet kinds of relationships.
But if your life problems are anything like mine they don’t simply go away because we run away from them. God has certainly had a different plan for my life path. I kid you not, after becoming homeless in the middle of March He backtracked me ALLLLLLLL the way back through every single relationship that I had poisoned in some way. Every. Single. One. I didn’t even have to seek them out; they came right along my path.
Now I’m sitting criss-cross-applesauce in the middle of the same king-sized bed where I had my crying fit with my mom three years earlier.
It’s been three years and I have somehow made a complete cirle in life.
These are opportunities. There are second chances. I’m making the most of mine.