forever and a day

It could have been yesterday.

Hot …. humid… a day scorched around it’s edges by a punishing almost-summer sun.  It was a long hot day and I was so lonely.    I remember that well.

The weight of my twenty years hung heavy around my shoulders. Only two months of space separated me from the dirt and dysfunction of a disastrous and abusive 3-year relationship.

Even then I recognized how close I came to becoming a statistic.

Finally on my own with a place to call home—or at least where I could turn the key in a lock without fear,  I was just beginning to detox from all those years of lying… and laying with a proverbial devil. By this time, I was experiencing something close to the emotional “DT’s”— anxiety, uncertainty and doubt plagued my waking hours and strangely quiet moments.

Chaos… is bad and yet strangely comforting in it’s predictability. To those unfamiliar with it,  sometimes silence feels deadly.    It did that night.

 

Although we spoke to one another regularly, I felt so far from God. It was as if I was making a collect call to Him every time… hoping He’d accept and always surprised when He did.    He was still very near to me though. How near would take me many, many more years to discover and still more years to embrace.

I had a long way to go to before I’d discover who God really is and at this point in my life I’d long forgotten who I was. Maybe I’d never known at all. It was time to find out.

By the time I’d gathered up enough courage to pack up my 70 Dodge Dart and drive away from hell,  I knew only that life *could* be better and I was allowed to start over.

 

But that night, I was tired. The deep kind of tired that comes from fighting to get to the other side. The kind of tired that almost makes you forget what you were fighting for.. give up and halfway wonder if it might have been better to stay in “Egypt”…..

And lonely.

forever and a day

All those years of forced-chosen-forced isolation not only left me with little self-respect but, no real friends. One or two hung about the fringes of my life and maybe one would actually answer the phone on a night like this.     Maybe.

One ring.
Two….. three…
On the fourth an unfamiliar voice chirps:

“Widespread Panic Hotline!
We are open for your requests now!!”

HUH?!?!  Checking the number…yes… it was correct and I hear my friend laughing in the background as this crazy…. happy person proceeds to draw me into conversation.

I can’t remember he said.   I just remember how he said it.

He was…. funny.
Stupid funny.
Kind.
A complete stranger and yet…  not.

My friend got on the line and I heard the words “party”, “come”, “tonight” and before I knew it, I was hanging up to get ready to drive somewhere I’d never been before. Taking another wild chance, on my own.

Funny how your mind works because I was intrigued and excited and scared out of my wits all at the same time. The freedom I felt was intoxicating and yet foreign and  I had to keep telling myself that this was “normal”… people socialize all the time.. yes, it was good to go.

Stepping out the door into the hazy gray softness of twilight, the heat of the day still radiating from the pavement,  I clearly remember  glancing at the sky and catching sight of the moon—round and full of promise.

Suddenly, I felt like that moon:
fat and hopeful,
bright and courageous.
FULL.

The Honey Moon

And God as my witness, I looked straight into the face of that laughing moon and I knew it.
I felt it…. and  I said it out loud:

“Tonight I will meet the man I’m going to marry.”
I meant it.
And I did.
June 16, 1989.
Twenty five years ago today.

Five months later we’d stand together before a JP and a handful of family and friends and swear we’d do whatever it was we were supposed to do from that point on…. forever.

Like we knew what forever meant!  Lawd….. at that moment, forever was the furthest thing from our minds and yet, when it was all over, there we were— married and our forever had begun.

You know, some people think forever is a long time…. as if it’s a long way off or someplace you get to eventually  or achieve.   I disagree.

Forever is actually…. always…  right now.  It’s always today and each day the choice is made to keep on going within it.

Today, June 16, 2014  is  a piece of my forever….what we like to call our “Little Anniversary”, the anniversary of the day we met. It means more than the day we married.

For both of us, it was a life altering moment.

For me in particular,  it was a shot in the dark… aiming at a minuscule glimmer of hope on the horizon. A moment of near-blind faith and trusting in what little I knew of God to be true…that good was still possible…and still out there somewhere,   for me.

Trusting I had not been abandoned without hope.

 

And people…. I KNOW…. the struggle is real.

I don’t care where you come from or how long you’ve known each other or were engaged, I’m convinced that no two people come to this place without a lot of wreckage in their wake.  There’s a lot of necessary casting off and taking on. There’s a lot of death and dying to self along the way…and many, many moments of resurrection.

I’m humbled by the realization that there was a time in our recent history when we came
—> this<— close to losing it all and not making it to this day.

When the deep wounds of our pasts would find their way to the surfaces of our individual lives and threatened to poison and kill our marriage.
When there was nothing left to do but slice ourselves open and deal with it all.
When all we could do is  trust and allow God to cleanse,  purify and heal these hurt places in us once and for all.

Painful stuff.

Hard and yet so necessary….

and so beautiful.

Long Term Marriage

Twenty-five years… of coming  so close to becoming a statistic.… and choosing  instead to  listen beyond the noise of the waves crashing on the breakers and fight our way out into the calm of wide-open seas.

Only because we did…. with God’s help…. can we celebrate the gift of our lives together — every day that’s passed between then and now and every day we’ll share from this day forward … forever.

Because forever isn’t far away…. it’s  today.  

Because maybe you need to hear this:  there’s still hope. Keep fighting for it.

It’s worth the struggle…and today, it’s what I know.

I am blessed and grateful beyond measure.

fighting the good fight,Lorretta signature

14 thoughts on “forever and a day

  1. My dear Loretta, you have no idea what this article meant to me! You have no idea what a gift you have given to my daughter on her wedding day this September 2014. Your wisdom, borne out of your own painful, lived experience, is a precious gift for this young couple starting out on their ‘forever’. God bless you, my dear sister!

  2. Happy Anniversary! I know people think it odd that my husband and I commemorate our “first date anniversary”, but for so many reasons, many of which you said, that date is just as important as our wedding. And forever…it’s always right now 🙂

    welcome to the LB’ers.

    1. Hi Jess! Thank you for stopping by my (rather quiet right now) little corner of the blogosphere. Thanks also for welcoming me into the LB’er community…. I’ve sincerely longed for a group of writerly women and I’m grateful that the time was just right for all of us. Bless you and yours!

  3. you sweetheart! I am always amazed at your turn of phrase. Your faith and maturity in your faith shines here! God is Good and He hears every thought locked deep in our hearts even when we don’t expect Him to! and the widespread panic part- :))))

    1. When I read your Better Blogs question it dawned on me that I never responded to YOU! What a lovely little hypocrite I am! 🙂 Seriously, you are my favorite cheerleader and encourager and I appreciate you so much. AND I am flat out AMAZED that you know who Widespread Panic is!!! That makes you WAY up there in my book! Love you!

  4. I really liked reading this story and I really liked this: “Forever is actually…. always… right now. It’s always today and each day the choice is made to keep on going within it.” Yes! Happy little anniversary to you, Lorretta!

    1. Love you Amanda. I do. I have been reading your places of obedience and my heart is turned inward for you as well. Rest and be blessed knowing that this is your season to just be carried. You’ve been through a lot and it’s ok to sit down at the feet of Jesus and rest awhile. 🙂

  5. A blessed anniversary to you! My husband and I many years ago were also ready to give up but God worked in us and will be celebrating 28 years in August.

  6. OH MY. Lorretta, I don’t know what to say … This post was riveting and hopeful and redemptive and wise …

    Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou for sharing such a personal piece with us at Unforced Rhythms. It’s an honor, friend.

    1. You know Kelli, I honestly felt like it was a good place to write from today and your place was a good place to share. Thank you for having the door open for us like this. Thank you for encouraging the healing only honesty before God can bring. Bless you!

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