Until it is not an option
I had lots to say to the heavens about suicide. It IS an option if you had lived such a crappy and abusive life. I had lots to say!
My mother was not a consistent church attender. Even if she had been, I would never have seen anything pure from her. My Granny did attend church regularly and she took me often. If there was a Vacation Bible School at her church, I was signed up. If I needed money to attend a church camp, she was willing to pay for it. I saw her pray some, but mostly I could see that she tried to be kind and loving and joyful. She talked more and more about her relationship with God in her later years; I was already grown.
My Nanny, on the other hand. lived church. She arrived early and stayed late. She served her church and her community. When she got suddenly ill and had to be put into a nursing home, people came by her business many times to give us money. “Ms Rita filled up my gas tank one time when...” or “Ms Rita lent me some money when I was laid off...”
It should not surprise you that I decided that Jesus was going to be my Savior when I was just 8 years old. The two most important and wonderful people in my life loved Him.
If you do not know Jesus or have just begun your journey, I need to take a theatrical aside with you. Christianity is like a tall set of stairs. Every religion or philosophy is a set of stairs. The Jesus-Stairs extend so far up that you can’t see the tip-top step because it enters into the area beyond the end of the horizon. With all colloquialism, it extends up to the heavens.
Every set of steps begins with the first acknowledgment, “Oh look! Steps.” You don’t have to take any of them. You can pass them by and ignore just that set. Or you can move on to another more appealing set. Some of the sets like you try out a few and then try out others. It is a personal choice.
I will tell you, though, that the Jesus-Stairs which I stepped onto at the age of 8 cannot be started accidentally. You must intentionally take that first step. You can ascend or descend whenever you want, but you cannot ever leave that last step once you have ever really stepped onto it. So, I want to tell you about that first step.
I saw it the entire set of stairs. My grandmothers had shown it to me. My life had not been bright and shiny (as Meredith & Christina say). A journey that promoted joy and happiness seemed like a good place to spend my time; and that first step is complex and simplistic (ironic!)
Complex - You have to fully acknowledge that there is a Savior, Jesus, who was sinless and did no harm to anyone. He knew that we were full of sin and had done so much harm, to ourselves and to others. He was sent for 1 mission--die on a cross to pay the cost of that sin for every person who had ever lived and who would ever live so his death would ransom us sinners from the punishment of hell for all the harm we had done.
Simplistic - You just have to believe that you need such a Savior; and, that is out-of-this-world irrational. There is no perfect person. Why is hell real? Why would a “good” person be willing to die in place of a “bad” person? If Jesus was truly perfect and sinless, why would he EVER want to spend time with me or save me from a punishment that I actually deserved. It took me some time to wrap my head around the logic, or rather, the fact that this is not at all logical. I just had to believe it and pray that Jesus would enter into my heart and be my Savior.
And I emotionally felt the change that I experienced the day I took that first step. And then I just got stuck there for years.
I was a good Christian (just laugh with me). I memorized all 66 books of the bible and was a champion at Bible drills. I went to many vacation bible schools, attended church every week - even Sunday School and Wednesday youth group. I memorized scripture and took the stories in my bible as facts. I even prayed. Honestly, I was a child of the one true God and Jesus was my Savior; however, I had not made Him a living part of my life.
Please return with me to the original story. I am sitting on the edge of my full-sized bed in my own bedroom of my uncle's house. I am not currently being abused by anyone anymore. The molestation has been exposed. I am no longer forced to be around my father of rage. My mother is living her own truth. And I just want to know why I had to keep on living when all I inside of me was hate.
And I dared to take that next step on the Jesus-Stairs. I spoke directly to Him.
I'd rather be dead than live this life. I hate everything. I might even hate you. I want to die. I don't want to actually kill myself and give anyone the satisfaction of hurting me anymore. Goodness knows I don't want a failed attempt. I just want to die in my sleep. And you let this happen to me. I have not done anything so bad in my life that I have deserved all this. Seriously 3 fathers? I got the world's worst mother...okay, maybe not the worst but I don't know a lot of moms. Every abuser I know just walks around free. Even my stepdad who admitted to the courts the he DID molest me just got probation. My father was taken to court and never got arrested or punished. What kind of justice are you running down here? I do not want to live anymore.
And if you are who you say you are, you owe me.
I don't type that part lightly. I said it. I remember taking a pause as the words left my mouth that I might get struck by lightning or smote instantly to ashes like Sodom and Gomorrah, but I was actually accepting of that as well. I just wanted to be real with my Savior if He was real.
You owe me something. I can't spend the rest of my life full of hate. I hate everything. I don't laugh. I don't really smile. I just hate. And I hate stuff that is not even worthy of hating. But I hate anyway. You owe me. So if you are who you say you are, if you are my Savior, you owe me this. Let me die in my sleep tonight or take the hate. I don't want this life anymore. It is not worth living. And if you don't do either, I am done. You aren't real. No real savior would just leave me like this.
And with that, I went to bed. I neatly arranged myself into my bed, pretty calm because I'd had my say. I couldn't go to sleep. I laid there and was so excited because I had made a decision for myself. I had a plan. Death, No Hate or... I didn't have time to finish the thought. I wasn't sure what having no Savior would look like as a plan.
I started to sob. I'm generally a crier. I can see a stranger cry and start crying. Commercials make me cry.
I have sobbed only three times in my life. I am talking about an agony that extends deep into the heart of your soul. It steals your breath and your every muscle contracts. And when you can finally make any sort of noise, the torture comes screaming outward, just like a mother when her child dies. She is exhaling any sort of utterance because she is actually experiencing the ripping apart of her heart as her child leaves her world. If you have ever experienced that type of misery, I AM SO SORRY. I'm crying right now just thinking of that pain. It literally takes your breath away, and for that split second before you feel anything else but scorching pain, and you are not breathing, you hope for death.
And with my sob came my words Why did you let this happen to me? I didn't deserve this! Why? Why? Why?
I sobbed. I felt every hurt and abuse I'd ever endured, even the parts that I had tucked away to never think about again. I sobbed for that little girl who had never experienced any sort of innocence or childhood. I sobbed for all that had been stolen from me, especially love. I sobbed with everything I had in me.
As I look back, I wonder if I made a sound at all because I know that my uncle and aunt were home. They were across the hallway in their rooms. No one ever came to my room. No one ever mentioned hearing anything. It's as if there had been silence.
And then, just as quickly and unexpectedly as the sobbing began, it stopped. And the most surreal bodily experience occurred...I felt the constrictions loosen from my chest. I could breath. I could take a giant, full breath into my lungs and exhale it out again. And then I heard a voice, It's not for nothing.
And then I fell asleep. Just like that. No real thoughts about the morning or what I'd said. Just sleep.