Saturday, December 1, 2012
The beginning of grace... (Part 1/3)
I’m about twenty-four hours away from heading out on a trip to Arkansas. I’m so excited, I can hardly sleep, and so I write. It’s nearly 3a.m. and I have been here looking through old photos for a few hours now. I have so much to be thankful for, honestly… So. Much.
Christmas is near, and it’s exciting to think about going this time of year to the only place that has ever stood out in my mind as “home”. Physical location has never held much weight in my life, but I do love Arkansas, though, it’s been a while since I've been there… one year and nine months.
One year and nine months ago, I was working for a professional maid service. I was cleaning my second house of the day when I got a phone call, and it was him. He was drunk. Again.
It had been just a little over a month since I had walked away. That day was one of much clarity for me. He came home for his lunch break, as he did every work day. B was crying and was refusing to take a nap. He said he would fix this. He picked him up and took him to the bedroom. Before I could even get up from where I was sitting, B let out a scream like I’d never heard before… it was one of pain. The bedroom door swung open and B ran to me, screaming, red-faced and coughing, the marks already appearing around his neck. He had been choked. That man had his sober hands around my baby’s neck. This wasn't the drunken man that we knew we had to run from. This was the sober man. His evil went beyond his liquor, and this time it was clear. This time, that my very little boy was the one with red marks around his neck, and not myself. This time it was clear, though it should have been long before, I had to get out.
It had taken months of planning. For most of the time that we were together I wasn't allowed much freedom. So many red flags missed or overlooked, I had gotten myself in so deep.
Not long after Nel and I began dating, my car was vandalized and had water poured in the gas tank, making the car unusable. This man offered to help me out, and to buy me a new car… he offered to take care of me. Sulking in the repercussions of previous poor decisions, I was a single mom of a four month old, with another on the way. Desperate, I felt as though he was my best bet. And , so, I took him up on his offer. Soon after, he said that he and his brothers were moving into a house outside of town, and that if we were to stay together, I needed to go with them. And, so, I did. It was a nice home, large, plenty of acres, a horse farm, actually. I felt like I was dreaming, what luck! I could sit at the dining room table early in the morning and look out the window to see nothing but dewy fields and ten deer at a time creeping cautiously out of the woods. I could look out the living room window and watch the horses kick about and play. We didn't make it through the first week before he didn't come home one night, and when he did, he was too drunk to stand up straight. I was a bit confused, as he had previously told me that he didn't care much for drinking. I wanted to brush it off as a fluke… but that was hard to do as he continued to drink for the next two days, wasting about, making a nuisance of himself. Still, I wanted to believe that this was out of the ordinary, and that his apologies were sincere once he sobered up.
That was also about the time that I began to understand my role in the house. I was the woman, and I was to be busy about the house, not saying too much in the presence of his brothers, and not taking part in conversation at the dinner table. Dinner was to be freshly done and plated, hot, the moment he walked in the door, even if he got home at a different time every day. If he or his brothers needed anything, I was to serve them, and I could eat when they were done, if need be. I chalked this up to his culture simply being more conservative than mine, and so I tried my best to do it well. What I didn't understand, at the time, was that this man simply wanted me to ask “how high?” whenever he got the notion to shout, “Jump!” He was a manipulator, an alcoholic, and largely narcissistic. The more things began to spiral downward, the more my eyes began to open to just how deep of a hole I had gotten myself and my baby boy into, and the more I began to realize the consequences playing out before my eyes of following after the security of a mortal man. I began to feel convicted about so many things. I began to feel my heart longing for God, a god that I didn't know, a god that I thought I had pegged as being existent, yet disappointed and ashamed of me. I didn't feel that I could turn to Him, and when I began to verbalize my desire to, I was told by this man how worthless I was, how little of a chance there was for me. Though I had always had a knowledge of God, I never really knew Him, and even when I thought I did, it wasn't really Him that I knew… it was the god that I had made him out to be in my head, the god that reflected all of the men that I had known in my lifetime. A god that did show love at times, but one that I felt I had to hide from, oh that if he were to see my sin, he could never love me… surely, he maintained the same opinion that these men held of me.
To be continued...
Read "The beginning of grace... (Part 2/3)"
Read "The beginning of grace... (Part 3/3)"