There seems to be a lot of people searching for God. There seems to be a lot of people who claim they know God and are the only true believers. There seems to be a lot of bull shit out there about God. There seems to be a lot of bullshit spewed in the name of God. When I found God, I wasn’t searching for Him. I was searching for a way out of my pain. Pain I felt Him responsible for. The pain of abuse, the pain of loss, the pain of rage and frustration. The pain of abandonment and isolation. If my childhood was any indication of who God was then those true believers could keep Him. I was over the bull shit and pretty much over God. What had He ever done for me any way?
My whole life was like one giant cosmic joke. I mean, my family history was enough of a punch line, the way evil was rewarded and innocence discarded. The unbearable pain inflicted upon us by those who were supposed to love and care for us most. The way we were always slipping, moving steadily lower on the Chutes & Ladders of Life while the ones who did the inflicting seemed to rise effortlessly to the top of the pile. It didn’t get much better after childhood. Adolescence only brought more issues. More feeling like I didn’t belong anywhere. More anger towards family for their part in my pain. More rage. Waves of unbridled rage against the way things were and how no one cared to stand up for the way things should be. No, if there was a God (and to me that was a big ole IF only believed by old ladies and the supremely unintelligent) I wasn’t buying any of it. I gave up on finding the answers and sought only to find relief. I found this relief as many do, in the oblivion of drugs, in the faux intimacy of casual sex, in the thrill of dangerous behaviors.
As it turned out God not only had a twisted sense of humor but more patience than I could ever imagine and a wicked way with timing. When I actually found God it started as an accidental shift of perception, a tiny change of heart brought on by seemingly random events like a fight between lovers and a broken cell phone. The following post is an excerpt from my book. While both the book and my life are still under construction this is a reminder to me of how far I have come, how drastically I have changed and how much the journey has meant. It is also put forth to light a fire under me to finish the work I have started.
November 7, 2003.
Who is this person I’ve become? I have never thought too highly of myself but even in times of doubt I usually manage to hold a little reserve of desperate pride. Some tiny reservoir that could scrape up a justification for, a reason to, argument, or even a half assed apology that would shield my eyes from the truth that lay before me now.
I look like shit.
I look like battered and bruised shit.
There is no way I can go out of the house like this!
Here I stand in a Quasimodo stance, half leaned over, back aching, ribs and kidney area sore, neck scratched and torn, lip swollen and bruised but I must cleanup. There is business to attend to. How am I ever gonna be able to finagle a working cell phone looking like this? No semi decent employee is going to hand over a new phone to me. I am a poster child for domestic violence but still, I must try. I must make myself presentable and try to repair the damage.
I am terrified of slipping in my already weakened physical state so I quickly decide against a shower. Instead, I plug the tub and run a bubble bath. Hopefully a good soak will help my vertically challenged spine. Gently lowering myself into the water I am surrounded by pastures of pristine bubbles. I feel my tears rise with the water as my body drops beneath the thick white sheet of foam. Slipping deeper into the warm envelope of liquid the pressure in my chest grows unbearable. My palms warm and wet push deeply against my eyes, smearing away last nights mascara. I question myself again, “Who is this person I’ve become?” The only response I have is a crescendo of sobs and those are too much for me to hear. They echo around the tiles and I repurpose my palms against my ears to cover the sound until the wave passes, silence resumes and my hands drop into the warm water again. My arms submerge and fall to depths below. I can’t recline in the water without pain shooting jolts through my neck and back so I sit nearly upright, hunched toward my legs, neck bent forward with my head hanging down, tears dripping off my nose and face into the bath water. I am Quasimodo in a bubble bath.
Through the fringe of hair and bangs and tears I see the bubbles are dissipating. Each one bursting with an answer to my internal question, “Who is this person I’ve become?”
This mother with no son. Pop. This thief. Pop. This party girl. Pop. This coke-head. This criminal. Pop. Pop. This liar. This abuser. This drunk. Pop. Pop. Pop. This slut. Pop. This fake. Pop. This evil. Pop. This loser. Pop. This degenerate daughter. Pop. This long lost sister. Pop. This unreliable friend. Pop. On and on those bubbles pop, counting off each of my crimes, imagined and real.
I started to notice the bubbles bursting on the surface were made more prominent by the contrast of dark and murky water underneath. I lift my head slightly to take in the effervescent panorama. Where my body sits in the water the bubbles have burst into a pattern, the shape of a heart. The dingy water underneath the thin mosaic of bursting white fizz makes the heart appear black and continuously breaking yet tenuously held together by a thousand fragile shards. A broken heart shattered into a million pieces.
This. Is. Who. You. Are.
The thought explode across my brain faster than the purest cocaine, and you better believe by now I would definitely know the difference. This is not just a thought though. This is an exceptional moment of realization.
The truth of it rings so loudly in my heart my chest begins to heave. I draw in deep breathes and exhale weeping. Simplicity with such meaning I have no choice but to see it, to feel it jolt through my body in accordance with the highest truth and love. It settles in my gut like a lead balloon.
This. Is. Who. You. Are.
I am this broken heart.
I can no longer hide this from myself.
I am this broken heart.
I am this broken mother.
I am this broken drug addict.
I am this broken slut.
I am more than all of those terrible actions that I counted off.
I am broken.
It is clear as day and yet it has taken me a lifetime to realize this. My life, my choices, my thoughts, my deeds suddenly illuminated from another angle yet the moment I do it is like I have stepped thru the looking glass. Where I thought I had it together I see it is all undone. All my falsehoods stripped naked as my body and cleaned away.
I am broken. My battered and bruised body only barely protecting the dimmed light of my soul. My chest cavity home to a lost and broken heart.
I am broken and bloodied and damaged and though I don’t know why I feel the faintest flicker deep inside my damaged heart and the tiny whisper of a hopeful voice that says, “Not all that is broken is lost.”