Out of the Darkness
Author, Beverly Jones-Durr
I have always known that God loves me. My mother told me so, and sent me to Sunday school and church as often as she could. I still remember sitting on the pew swinging my legs and watching the light play off of my patent leather shoes. That was a forever ago. I also remember the sudden death of my father. Oh how I loved my father. I even acted like a boy just to make sure I was his favorite. He took me fishing. I loved going fishing because it was just dad and me. I even remember the talks we had. I think I did a lot of the talking because, well I could talk to a tree, my mother had once told me. Dad was a quiet man but when he had something to say he said it. I loved the fact the he called me “baby girl”. Thinking about him now makes my heart just feel warm.
Then, without warning my father died. I knew how to pray and talk to God from going to church. I wanted to scream…”Why Lord! Why have you taken my beloved father from me?” There was still a lot my father hadn’t taught me yet…like boys, and growing up. My father always listened to my conversations no matter how long or silly. He was the only one in my life I felt loved me and now I am left here with these people. At the hospital after the doctors had worked on him for about half an hour, I saw one come through this automatic door and everyone gathered around him. I wasn’t sitting with them but I did try to get close enough to hear what the doctor was saying. I heard the words myocardial infarction, blocked arteries and then… I’m sorry, he didn’t make it. I could hear everyone crying, but not me. I saw tears on their faces, but when I touched my face it was dry. Everyone was allowed to enter a small room to say goodbye to my father. They all slowly entered the room and afterwards exited quietly. I entered last. My father lay on a bed covered in all white sheets. He had a rolled up white towel placed underneath his chin. Except for that, he just looked peaceful. Was he glad to go, I wondered? I already missed the sound of his voice and I reached out and placed my fingers on his lips. I wish he would just speak to me, but he didn’t. I was now so angry. I stood there in that tiny room and realized we were all alone, just dad and me. I kissed my father’s cheeks and before moving away, I whispered “Why did you leave me here?” I knew he couldn’t answer and I placed my head on his chest and cried. I vowed never to speak a word to anyone else again. I was 16 years old and I felt abandoned and lost. I couldn’t even pray. The days afterwards I kept my vow. I didn’t speak in school, at home, no phone calls….nothing. It was around the second week that the pain started. Felt like cramps so I expected my monthly…which didn’t come. The pain grew each and every day. By week six, I felt like my body was burning from the inside. My hands, arms, face, teeth, eyelashes HURT! I screamed for my mother and broke my vow of silence because I could no longer stand the pain. My mother mixed 4 ounces of water in a glass with 4 drops of a liquid she had in a small brown bottle. It turned the water white. I drank it all. I was told I slept for four days, but I don’t remember it. I thought God was punishing me for shunning him. I struggled for over thirty years with the pain and guilt. The death of my father changed me but the pain was changing me more. I tried to pray, but the words simply were not there. I decided one day that if I could not say the words to God, He could see into my heart. So, I got down on my knees and asked God to please look inside my heart and help me. The pain was now accompanied by other things. I did some research and the word Fibromyalgia kept popping up. It all sounded like me. I was often on bed rest because of the pain. Not like a finger cut pain, but riveting, stabbing, burning, mind altering pain. I suddenly could not understand the simplest thoughts. I could hardly climb the stairs to our bedroom without help. When I finally went to a doctor, I was unable to say words that seemed right on the tip of my tongue. I couldn’t understand what was being said to me. I felt dumber than a rock!
My mind was foggy and I had vertigo. Okay! I’m having a nervous breakdown! I was a complete nervous breakdown, crying in a box of tissues, crazy acting, mute, mess! After all the poking, pricking of fingers, draining of blood, MRI’s, CAT scans, bone density test I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. Surprise! That night I had to sit down and have a talk with God. I wasn’t angry with Him, but I was sad because I felt like I had lost me. The girl, the woman I used to be was gone. I held an important job for the Army in which I am still proud to have done. Over achiever, that would be me! If I didn’t know the answer I knew where to get it. I was sometimes referred to as “Super Diva”! Able to do all things, answer all questions and help everybody! Well, I had my sit-down with God. I poured my heart and soul out to Him. I sat inside my dressing room….rewind. Let me tell you about the dressing room. First of all my husband calls it a closet because it has a door. It is a dressing room and I sometimes just enter it, close the door, roll out my yoga mat and just lie there thinking. Okay, so I was in the “dressing room”. I felt so good to just think the words and have them be understood so clearly by God. I apologized for not staying in touch. I realized that I am no Super Diva. I can NOT do everything. I had an epiphany! Let me explain it like this. There is a bus. The bus represents my life. I thought since the bus was MY life, I was supposed to be the bus driver. Looking back, this bus has had a lot of repairs, mishaps on the road, wrong turns, even been in the shop a few times too many. Parts were replaced due to abuse and neglect and it has not always run on a full tank of gas. I dogged my bus out! No wonder it sometimes kicked me to the curb and left me standing in the heat of an Alabama summer! I know as much about taking care of a bus as I do about building a space ship….that would be zero!
I made myself a promise…no it was more like a commitment. I am no bus driver and I have decided to move to the shot-gun seat. My God created me. He knows everything about me, what I need, where I should be, who I am. While lying in my dressing room, I prayed “God, take me where you need me. Remove all obstacles from my path. Renew my heart and my commitment. Lord, please move me closer because I am so far away, I no longer hear the voice of God. I believe God spoke to my spirit that day. Gently, whispering into my ear words of love, peace, renewal, guidance, purpose, and growth. When I exited that dressing room, all my yesterday pain was gone. I put to rest my guilt and shame. I didn’t get any of that negative junk from God. But I know from whom it came. Not even worth mentioning. I am a woman who fully understands that my heavenly Father loves me. I am the daughter of royalty. My God wants me to rely and lean on Him and every day I wake up trying my best to do just that. I know that if I do all I can, then my God will do what I can’t. I don’t have to do everything. I am not in charge of me! My God has renewed my life. I still have Fibromyalgia and from time to time the pain is blindly intense. But I also know that it is not a punishment for anything I may have done. My God does not roll like that! He comforts me in time of need and guides me to slow down, relax and focus on good to lessen the pain. All any of us can do is live, love, give, and do what God wants us to do. He knows we aren’t perfect. As a matter of fact God knows stuff you might think no one knows. I keep no secrets from God, yet He still loves me. I used to be abrasive, determined, fierce…well I’m still fierce but about my relationship with God. I had no problem getting in your face if I thought I had to. What a pitiful mess I was. Today I practice mercy, kindness, love, forgiveness, truth, the grace God has given me, and I use my many gifts. I thank God for allowing me to return to Him. I know he watched over me during those troubled times. Seems as though every morning I awake He has given me a new gift. Not a gift for me to keep, but rather gifts for me to share. I am thankful to God for hearing my prayers, staying with me in my darkness in spite of all my mess and for moving me to the path of light He has chosen for me.
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