I have a slight scar on my hand that dates back to late 1990s and the guy I was dating soon after moving to South Dakota. Our relationship was very far from good but I was clinging to him for dear life and sucking his life out of him. Maybe because my family was falling apart and my mom and I at the time were in the lowest point in our relationship, maybe because I was so insecure and desperate. Maybe because I had no idea who I am and what I am about, what I believe or stand for. I was told what I should believe and why but I didn’t really own that, I just agreed with it and tried to follow to the best of my ability.
The relationship with this guy was bad. There was all sorts of abuse on both sides. I was unable to walk away, even when knowing how bad it was. When he finally couldn’t take it any longer, he cut the cord. If there is nothing else good to remember about that time, I thank him for that.
That started a more rapid spiralling down. Not to sound cliché but I did everything in the book that a girl should not do to try to find stability. The funny thing I remember about that time was my wondering “Why does nobody want to date me?”
Now I look back and want to comfort the scared, insecure, pitiful me at the time. I wish I could have given a hug and a little “hang on, help is on the way” to myself at that time. Not that it would have helped because all of that would have been barely visible in the cloud of smoke and alcohol that I had wrapped myself in.
I had to hit the bottom where I realised that the empty inside is too deep and dark. I remember one lunch time at work I was so low that I walked over the catholic chapel for students. There was no one there. I sat on the front pew in the dark with just the cross illuminated and cried to my hearts content. I cried and cried and cried and cried and cried. It was so freeing and liberating to unload the burden. I remember thinking that I don’t feel any judgement or condemnation. I felt God in those moments for the first time in my life.
I remember thinking about the prodigal son coming home, how happy the father was to see him. How much the father had been waiting. How the father didn’t care about the stupid, self-degrading, embarrassing things that the son had done while away. How the father didn’t hold against him everything that had been said, done, thought. How happy the father was and how there was absolutely no condemnation, only happiness and celebration. How happy was the father to see his son, who he had been thinking about every day, to come home. The baby boy who he had loved from the day he was born was coming home!
I was coming home.
That was the moment when I owned my faith for the first time in my life. I had grown up going to church. I had been told about it. I walked away and did everything I wanted and didn’t want to do. I had been completely free to do whatever I wanted and in that freedom I found a deep, dark, lonely hole. This was the moment when I knew that my faith is what I want to come back to.
I am not ashamed because it is who I am. It has given me the faith that I own, the knowing and conviction deep inside about the truth and meaning of life. I have found it and I am in the best place I have ever been. That scar on my hand reminds me of where I've been and how far I've come. It's a good scar.
This video from Hillsong Colour 2009 whispers something in my soul every time I watch it.