In the middle of going through a “regular” day I was reminded of this question and the answer that goes with it. I had all kinds of intentions with regards to what I “wanted” to give up for lent and I had pretty much settled on forgoing the cursing or use of swear words for Lenten season. Little did I know that I would make a much bigger sacrifice for a much greater good.
What I gave up for Lent was bigger than the use of profanity. I gave up my home and the roof over my head. I walked away from what could be termed the “easy way out”. Living at home with my mother in her house with no bills to pay and a full swimming pool in the country where the living is supposed to be easy but for me it wasn’t.
It would have been oh so easy to just sit and stagnate. Just give up on all my dreams of finishing school and living an independent life full of travel and learning and just take care of my mother and HER mother, my grandmother. Giv e up on dreams of visiting the places I have read and dreamed about and just coast through life on someone else’s coattails. This never sat well in my spirit.
When I moved down to South Carolina granted my rose colored glasses were in full effect. I believed that it would just all work out somehow and that the job and the place of my own would just happen fairly quickly and easily – this was not the case. I did factor in the economy there and the entrenched nepotism that would make it extremely difficult to find a job for which I was qualified for.
I did not factor in the levels of stress that I would encounter from trying to live with my mother with whom I have had a relationship that has been more aptly described as combustible more often than not. I just had my mind so set on starting over that I just convinced myself that all those things would not be issues and it would be happily ever after or some version of that. I was right but I was oh so wrong too.
The stress of living with my mother, of trying to deal with her controlling nature and the fact that she has never lived with me as an adult drove me on more than one occasion to contemplate whether life was worth living. The verbal abuse that I had to tolerate and endure was so extensive that I was relegated to living like a recluse, confined to my room lest I come out and be subject to a verbal barrage of insults or disparaging remarks from which there was no way to extricate one’s self from.
Stress that permeated and seeped into all areas of my life – that had me so anxiety ridden that I was unable to pass my road test. Stress that ultimately started to affect my ability to keep up with my studies. The one thing that I clung to in the midst of all the other negatives that I was experiencing in my life was the promise of finishing my education – was put in serious jeopardy.
I wasn’t willing to lose the one last thing that I had for me the dream that I have had since childhood of being able to obtain a degree. I was not convinced that my future did not include this as a part of it. So I made the difficult decision to leave facing the prospect of being homeless and living in a shelter.
The fear that accompanied this decision is bigger than I know how to explain. Facing the prospect of living on the streets became more palatable than the way that I was living. Fortunately things did not get quite that bad. I did spend a week in a shelter for women which was humbling and very educational at the same time. It prepared me for the direction my life was going in and to reinforce my resolve to do whatever it took to get my life back on track.
Friends came to my rescue and offered me a way out of the shelter and the rigid, nazi type structure that was enforced there. In spite of misgivings I had at the time I pushed ahead just keeping faith and believing that God would not fail me and that I would be ultimately delivered from what some might consider nightmares.
As of right now, against all odds I have a new job, and I am working on getting my belongings back and moving into my own place. In the space of two weeks I went from being in the depths of the dark to standing on the edge of multitudes of possibilities.
What I gave up for lent led to me regaining something I had sacrificed for the past three years.