This past weekend my husband and I set out on a trip to Amarillo, Texas for one of my friend’s weddings. I had no idea why this trip was so important to me at all but I knew that it was. I made plans to see friends from my pre-conversion life on the way up, while I was there and then to see my favorite aunt (my mom’s sister) on the way back home. As my husband and I pulled out of town I began to finish reading Heather King’s newest book “Stumble”. I love Heather’s writing and when I met her a few months ago I was so glad to see that she really is kind and funny. Having dinner with her was the beginning of something and I had no clue what it was and I had no idea that it would all end with this trip to Amarillo.
I moved to Amarillo when I was 14 about to be 15 and I didn’t go there willingly. I didn’t want to go and I hated every minute that I was stuck there as a child who had no choice but to go where my mom made me. I was a stubborn teenager who was very angry, bitter and wounded. Nobody in my family really had the tools to deal with me, since they were all a bit dysfunctional themselves. I spent a lot of years after turning 18 going back and forth from anywhere that I could , back to Amarillo because that attempt to leave had failed. After my divorce I was a hot mess who drank a lot and slept around a lot and ended up in very dangerous places with gun fire and gang fights. I saw things and know things that I can never tell another soul because it would be unsafe, which I was reminded of when I left there 8 years ago with death threats. When I saw that red dirt town in the rear-view mirror I vowed to never go back, even if I had to kill myself working to make sure that didn’t happen. I called it “hell” and every time that I did go back it was on stealth mode and not for long.
After a year of therapy and having faced the man who abused me as a child, this trip seemed like something that I really needed in my life. The first line I read in Stumble at the beginning of the trip was Heather saying “I didn’t understand why I had to go”…. Exactly. I had no clue why I had to go to this wedding, other than I loved the bride but that really never made me do anything that I didn’t want to do, but I knew that I had to go.
Through the entire weekend I felt God taking me by the hand and showing me all the places that I had been but with new eyes that could see that He had always been there with me. Even the bar where I sat in a corner anytime that my friend was bartending and prayed for God to help me fix my life. I would sit in front of the bathroom mirror so drunk and in tears begging to be healed. This time, I sat in front of that mirror drunk and in tears because I am healed.
God put all these amazing friends in my life who did nothing but love me and that was exactly what I needed, love. And love burns when you are that broken. Until today I didn’t realize that I have live most of my life thinking that I didn’t deserve to be loved or to even live. I read Joanne’s post and it all made sense. Why I pushed them away, why they never left and why this trip to see them all was something that I had to do. I had to sit and talk and laugh with people who know me: good, bad and ugly. I talked to a pimp that I’ve known since I was 15 years old, who told me “It looks like you have found Jesus girl!”. No, I didn’t find Jesus, HE found ME.
I went to the bar that me and my friend Homer used to go to. I played his favorite song and “Drink a Beer” on the jukebox and I let myself feel the pain of his death without numbing myself blind. I felt the wave of relief in that and left to go to bed at 10pm. It was like that scene in Forrest Gump where he just stops running after running across the country for so long. He just stopped one day. That was me, the chronic runaway who just stopped running and went to bed at 10pm.
I am no longer so in need of approval and I am no longer scared. I have been scared all my life. Scared of being rejected, of not being good enough, of having to do, do, do in order to earn love, because surely I was not worth loving just as me. It still feels weird that anyone loves me, but it doesn’t make me wanna turn on my heels and run for cover. I am so thankful for each of these crazy souls that have been a part of my life. Gay, straight, white, black, Hooters girls, and ratchet hoes (sometimes I was all of the above, don’t ask me how). Somehow, they are all part of God’s plan for my life and I am thankful for the fire.