As I've mentioned before, God is my homeboy and whatnot. Sometimes he tells me things really loudly and clearly, and sometimes he whispers to me. But we talk.
I know people think I'm weird for that, but really? I don't care. I've never been very religious, whatever "religious" means, but I've always been very spiritual. I really believe that God not only loves me, but he likes me a whole lot. Which is cool.
There have been a lot of times in my life that I felt like God hated me. And I'm okay with saying that too, although it's not easy to admit.
When my first husband walked out on me, I was really, really, really po'd at God. I remember screaming into the night, "WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME?!?!"
Because, really? I tried to be a good person. I really did. I've honestly lived my life trying to do the right things. I've never done anything really, overtly bad. I love animals and small children. I went to school, worked at a job, got married, bought a house. I did all the things I was supposed to do and this was happening to me? And bad people everywhere were having good lives, all around me? What the crap?
During that time period, when I was pregnant and desperate and alone, I went to church.
I felt nothing.
It was really freaking scary. I suppose I expected to have some sort of epiphany or something and then everything would be okay when I got home. But I felt nothing and going home was the same hell it had been for weeks and months.
I don't remember the exact day or time it all became okay. I don't remember a lot.
But I remember waking up one day, in 2001, in my little room where I lived with my two babies. And I remember hearing, nothing more than a whisper in my head, "You need to buy a house."
And I thought to myself, "BAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHA!!!!"
Because GOOD LORD. I made around $20,000 a year. I was a single mom with two kids. What kind of house was *I* going to get?
But I got up, and I went and got the newspaper, and I looked at the real estate section. I thought to myself, "Maybe there are houses I can afford."
And then I thought to myself, "BAHAHAHAAHAHAHAAHAHAHAAHA!!!!"
Because, of course, the only house I could afford, would be a crack den.
Two days later, I did my taxes. I added up the numbers three times, each time, in more and more disbelief.
I looked at the number that was the refund. And I said, quietly, but out loud:
"I'm going to buy a house."
I went to a mortgage broker and I got preapproved for a loan in about five minutes.
I called real estate agent after real estate agent, but no one would call me back after they found out what I wanted to spend. (I was preapproved for something that I wasn't comfortable spending and I didn't want to share the preapproval amount so they wouldn't pressure me) I looked in the newspaper again one day and saw a real estate agent who had kind eyes and in my head I heard, "Call her."
So I did.
And I adored her. She and I spent days together driving around looking at houses. I didn't know the area very well and she couldn't lead me or steer me anywhere, but she had a daughter close to my age and she'd say, "I don't know if I'd want Melinda to live here." Subtle!
I loved her.
I found out that I could buy and afford a brand new townhouse. I got to pick the paint and the wallpaper and the light fixtures. It was amazing. I could afford it. I didn't have grass to mow. It was mine.
We moved in. It was great.
One morning about six months later, I woke up and was laying in my bed, waiting on the alarm to go off and in my head I heard, "You're going to marry Jason."
And then I thought, "BAHAHAAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAAHA!"
Because, no, I wasn't going to marry him.
He and I had dated since 1999. He was extremely anti-marriage. Extremely. Um. EXTREMELY. He had told me since day one, "I do not want to get married. Ever. To anyone. Ever."
I went on about my life, thinking God had probably missed the boat on this one. Sooner or later he and I would break up and I would go on about my life and find someone who wanted to marry me. Because I always knew I'd get married again. I'm a marrying kind of girl anyway.
But I loved Jason. I loved him in a way that I knew that if he were absent from my life a really, really big hole would develop and it would not be okay. It would never, ever be okay. He was my best friend. It wasn't all about romance with us. (Very little about romance...we're not really romantic people) But we laughed all the time. I could talk to him about a lot of things. He was more than my boyfriend.
A few months later, miserable in my job and desperate, I was sitting in my office and I heard, "You are going back to school."
And, guess what I said?
Yeah. The hysterical laughter thing again. That's probably getting old.
But I picked up the phone and I called the local community college and I made an appointment with an advisor. The next day, I marched into his office and sobbed, "I'm almost twenty-seven years old! I'm to old to go back to school! I don't know what I'm doing! Oh my GOD!"
And he looked at me and smiled and said, "What's the big damn deal?"
No, he really said that.
And I laughed. And I took my entrance exams and I enrolled in classes. My dad picked up the kids two days a week so I could go to night classes and the rest of my classes I took online. I continued to work full-time.
On December 5th, 2002 I came home from my college health class and Jason was at my townhouse, waiting on me. He'd picked up the kids from my parents house and they were sound asleep. He looked anxious and weird. Since he's generally anxious and weird, I pretty much ignored it and crawled into my pajamas. I sat down on the couch and he got down on both knees in front of me and asked me to marry him.
My first thought:
I have a hole in the toe of my sock.
Then I said, "Are you serious?" I'm classy like that.
At some point I did say yes, and seven months later, we got married.
Over the last few years, I've heard that voice so many more times. Once it said, "Go to Tennessee" and so we went, with no jobs and no plans, and not knowing if we were going to sink or swim. Other times it's spoken softer, "Start this Girl Scout troop" and "Apply for this job". I keep following and things keep happening.
Oh, I've been mad again. When the doctor looked at me and said, "I'm so sorry. It's called secondary infertility" I was so angry I screamed all the way home. "WHY ME? WHY NOW? WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO US?"
I still don't know.
But I know there is an answer. I just have to stay quiet long enough to hear it.
Today I sat in church, feeling a deep, deep sorrow. Things have not been great in my life lately. There are a lot of things that I know need to change and I'm really overwhelmed at the sheer volume of all I have to do. In all honesty, a lot of my sorrow is feeling sorrow for myself and the guilt that comes along with feeling sorrow when you have so, so much.
But that's the thing about being friends with God. He doesn't get mad at you for yelling at him when you don't understand or feeling sorry for yourself from time to time.
The voice said, "Volunteer for the nursery. It will help heal your heart."
And the pastor said, right at that exact moment, "And we need volunteers for the nursery, so call Miss So and So if you are willing to serve."
So I'm listening. I don't understand. But I'm listening.