Sometimes I go to bed at night and I see short clips of my life, like flashing visions in an an old 35mm movie. If I am lucky, I get the good times. But every now and then, when I least expect it, the fear hits hard - the fear of another time that I have tried so hard to forget.
I see those eyes that, in a dream once, appeared red, as if someone was giving me a warning that I was dealing with the devil. And that smirk, full of crookedness and anger. I try to close my eyes to erase these images, but they are there, burned in memories I wish I could forget.
This time I am walking through the house, carrying in bags of groceries from my car. My thoughts begin racing - I followed the list, didnt I? I dont think I forgot anything. I hope I got everything right this time. The same thoughts I always have when coming home from grocery shopping. As I hurry to unload the bags and get the items where they belong, I hear, "did you get the sour cream? I dont see it. " Oh no. Shoot. How could I forget the sour cream!? It was on the list!! I know I passed that aisle, but I meant to go back for it. Ohh... All I can manage to say, stumbling over my words scared of the pain that is to come, is "Well, I missed the aisle and I was already on the other side of the store and meant to... " That was it. That is as far as I got into the explanation of the missing sour cream, before it started...
What happened after that is what always happened when I failed a mission. I was forced to recognize what a failure I was. The eyes. The smirk. They came on strong. They were always present in that moment. Just like country music and alcohol. These things are intertwined into my being to shout pangs of fear, forcing my body to tense, waiting for the blow. The noise gets so loud - the yelling, the crashing... Oh, good... this time its just painful words, Im lucky today. I have heard all of the statements... how I am pathetic, useless, worthless, ignorant, and, somehow, I get reminded that its 'not all about me'... It doesn't take much to get broken down into enough pieces that you start believing what you hear.
When it quiets down, I go into the bathroom and cry... Cry because I feel sorry for myself. Cry because I feel so alone. Cry because I feel hopeless. Cry because I feel so broken. And cry because I forgot the sour cream ... and then I scold myself that it won't happen next time.
I shudder as it takes me a minute to realize that it was just a passing thought of a time that I have overcome... and that I am safe now, no longer broken and alone. On nights like this, I use the glimpse of the past to remind me to thank God for my present, for my blessings.
At some point in life, we will all experience a difficult time that can leave us broken. Are you going to let it consume and conquer you? Or will you stand strong on your feet and march on?
God never allows pain without a purpose in the lives of His children. He never allows Satan, nor circumstances, nor any ill-intending person to afflict us unless He uses that affliction for our good. God never wastes pain. He always causes it to work together for our ultimate good, the good of conforming us more to the likeness of His Son.
~ Jerry Bridges
Whether your pain comes from the loss of a loved one, a failed relationship, an addiction, at the hands of someone else, or for any other reason, you are experiencing that pain as part of your journey. There IS a reason for it. And its up to YOU to decide how YOU WILL OVERCOME it. Even the impossible is possible with faith.
I am going to leave you with something I heard the other day that makes my heart smile and calms my soul. Ironically, its titled "Ora," which is Italian for "now." Close your eyes and listen - you are worth it.