Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write something AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL (10/02/14)
TITLE: Last Chance
By Lauren Bombardier
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For the entire trip, these were the only words my mother spoke to me. What she didn’t say, though, reverberated through the car. This was my last chance with her.
Throughout this whole process, my mother had stood back and let my dad handle things – my dad, who prayed for and encouraged me through all of it, and still saw promise in me. For the first time in my life, I was getting the help that I needed. I wasn’t an addict in the traditional sense, but I apparently still displayed addictive characteristics that led my soon-to-be-counselors to believe they could help me. Armed with that knowledge and the determined desire to get my life on track, I was on my way to begin a 14-month residential recovery program.
I looked over at her, hoping to glimpse some sort of compassion. Instead, I saw her intentionally watching the road, looking for the sign telling us that we had arrived.
We pulled into the parking lot and she helped me with my bags while we waited to be buzzed in. I could see her shifting her feet while we waited for a senior staff person to process my move-in. As soon as we heard that someone was coming, my mother turned to me and gave me a brief hug. She then turned around and walked out.
She didn’t look back.
I stared at the chaplain sitting across from me. It was my weekly one-on-one session with her and she had spent the last few weeks evaluating my spiritual state. She repeated her question, “Why do you think God doesn’t love you?”
My eyes drifted to the corner of the room as I thought about all the reasons why I was unlovable. I knew that no one could love me. This had been proven time and again by my mother’s neglect, by my abusive ex-boyfriend, and by the general indifference that came from people when I tried to engage in…well, in anything with them.
With my eyes still focused on the corner of the room, I replied, “Well, how could He?” It made perfect sense to me – if lowly human beings couldn’t bring themselves to show any interest in me, then how could the great, big God of the universe deign to love me?
“I think you’re wrong,” she said to me. “I think He loves you so intensely that it pains Him to know that you are rejecting His love.”
What? Me reject Him? I scoffed and shook my head, but I remained silent.
“Think about it,” she said, before I left the room. While I had never considered myself to be a cynic, I couldn’t help but think she was crazy.
Still, I also couldn’t help but feel a tiny spark of hope.
Weeks passed, and then months. I took classes that showed me my codependency and anger. I learned that all addictions are coping mechanisms used to avoid the pain of trauma. I also learned that my anger had been so destructive that people just didn’t want to be around me. And I learned what my initial trauma was that started the whole, chaotic mess.
I had intense sessions with various counselors where I learned to be vulnerable and not keep things hidden. I learned I needed balance in my life so I don’t get overwhelmed and default back to old behaviors.
I learned about God, and how He does indeed love me. Through that, I learned to forgive. I had made a list of everyone I was angry with, and line by line forgave I them for each incident. I found myself praying for each person – for my birth father for leaving me, my ex-boyfriend for hurting me, and my mother for not loving me. Finally, I forgave myself.
I graduated the program and stayed another year as an intern. I still visit the women there and encourage them the best I know how – by sharing my story. I’m still learning, though, and still wading through the muck of past mistakes, but now I have support.
Best of all, God is the God of restoration. Today, Mom and I have the relationship I had always dreamed of. Her pride and joy in me is evident whenever I see her, and I have no doubts now that she loves me. My last chance with her was exactly what I needed to hear.
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