My life isn’t perfect, but I get help when I need it. After searching for solutions to the impossible, looking left, right, north, south and coming up empty–some miracle happens. Manna from heaven falls knee deep, and I stand there, stunned. Sometimes it takes me hours, weeks, years, to realize I have been helped. That’s the real gift: knowing I am not alone. I am loved.
One dismal March afternoon in 1998 as I drove along along Route 97 in upstate New York, I thought about my plight. Shackled to a man whose mental illness had sucked me dry, I half-believed his lies. I was the crazy one. I wasn’t kind or giving or loving. Afraid to see his taunts and rages for what they were, (that would have forced me to take action), I scolded myself. I could fix things if only I was kinder, more selfless, more loving. If I could work harder. Be perfect.
But the pretending was killing me. I would die in this life I did not want. On this mountain. Powerless. Miserable. Trapped. He would never let me go. I’d never run with three young children and no money. No place to go. How many times had he joked about what he’d tell a judge…I’m sorry your Honor. ..She tried to kill me…I don’t know how it happened.
I would never escape.
To my right, far below the mountain road, the Delaware River had begun its thaw, lazy gray water swallowing the ice floes. It was pretty. Then I noticed the forsythia had burst their yellow sprays of light. Maybe I’d cut some and fill a vase for the kitchen table.
In the next instant, I knew. Life would get better. Someday, somehow, I would be free.
Someday did not come easily. It took years. And there were terrible moments. But we are happy now, a thousand miles from those days.
And it will happen for you, too.