Hell was the most prominent part of the leather and the scars were deep.
I milked every last drop of what I had and the God given talents, gradually, over a period of 25 years, became more and more diluted and what I had started off fighting, I had become. There was less than nothing left. I was ‘nothing’ and lost whatever was left - and some. Even the eye of the needle looked attractive. In fact it was the only way, the only way to release myself from the wanting, the covetous nature that I had found myself wrapped in and I didn’t even know until now. Today.
I lost everything I had worked for 3 times. 3 times I made the same mistake and it took 30 years to keep on and on and on until I finally stood looking over the bottomless pit and realised that the only way was UP. It wasn’t just on a physical level but illusions were stripped away over a period of 15 years, the last 7 being the most potent. I lived by the sea and used to build intricate sandcastles with my daughter before the tide came in and washed them clean away. Every day, life was like that. I would try to build something and within a short time it would all be washed away.
It wasn’t until I heard about the foundations that I realised that God was telling me something. ‘Not on sand, Helen. On Rock.’
I heard him.
I heard his voice so loudly that I shifted faster than the rip tides that were coming for me. I knew that all I wanted was God. Nothing else mattered and so I handed it over and prayed hard from a place of total rawness.
I had spent my life praying to false Gods and that had lead me to hell. A slow boil, a gradual death without even noticing.
I never really knew what covetous meant and certainly never admitted that I could be so inclined, that is until I got to thinking about it and realized that often, when doing some menial task resentfully wishing I had a dishwasher instead of the newly acquired ‘marigolds’ , my mind would drift carelessly to the visualizations of friends who seemed to have everything. There I would be, feeling unconsciously sorry for myself having ‘not as much as I should at my age…and my mind would travel, way back into the past where I never had enough at school. No pens, paper, rulers, pants, socks, shoes in fact I had to borrow most of everything and work my passage. That’s when it all started. I’d look at what the other girls had and wish I had it. Just the basics would have done but my Mum never remembered to pack underwear, stamps or any classroom kit so I went without and got caught stealing pants with no name tags on. The shame of ‘may I borrow your pen?’ or ‘Have you got any pants I can borrow?’ grew and grew and by the time I left, I had a complex of never being good enough. My covetous nature had already been cultivated and the deep resentment for my Mum whom I believed never went without, solidified into my unconscious mind creating behaviour that was hard and selfish. ‘I want’ or ‘I refuse to have’ became a familiar voice.
Most of my life has been a battle for survival punctuated by sharp intakes of breath leaving only just enough time to pick myself up off the battle ground and carry on brandishing my sword half killing myself. Off I’d go again hurling around fighting the air creating the illusion of being busy achieving status or self congratulatory goals. Failed relationship after failed relationship. ‘Nothing must get in the way of me having the kind of grass that others may want to sit on.’ I had to prove that I was worth something. I had to prove that I could afford what everyone else had and that I deserved it. I would see something and think ‘I want that’ or mostly ‘ I can do better than that’ and then set myself up and go hell for leather proving it to all around me – not that they cared for a minute about what I was doing, they were so busy with themselves.
Within a week of talking to GOD my life had changed, I had moved literally from east to West in body, mind and spirit. All I wanted was GOD and God was listening and I was listening back. Nothing can describe the feeling of humble gratitude that followed the unfolding of events. The realization that through faith and the mystery of what Jesus did on the cross, that I could have a life. A life.
A real life. Not one of wanting something I thought I hadn’t got. Not a life full of superficial friends who’d blow in and out on the breeze. No. A life where I could work for God knowing that through all my iniquity and pain, through the greed, presumptuousness, egotism, through the despair and crying in the wilderness, God had forgiven me.
It’s 40 years later and I realize that I’m happy. I’m happy with life, my daughter, work , home, family and in fact, there is nothing I want save becoming more able to hear what God wants.
The change has come and slowly, God is showing me who I am and the plan…. In retrospect…the bigger picture. The ‘why’ the ‘reason’ and it’s not what I thought at all! I had got it all totally erm… wrong?
It seems that the only way to make a character like me see myself is by giving an enormous amount of freedom to mess up and enough rope when dangling over the side of the sheer cliff face, to pull me out! Thank God for the rope.
So, washing up is not so much of a chore as a good habit and the grass outside is the same grass you get mostly anywhere. Good grass, green not dry. It grows well. Yes, it’s really quite a lovely emerald colour. It’s not really mine, I’m just borrowing it for a while. I’m no longer interested in other people’s lawns nor owning one. I am happy to borrow the use of a lawn for a little while and appreciate every minute spent on it. Gratitude not ownership. Sharing, not keeping. Giving not coveting.