The day began like any other day. I woke up and began working on a big paper I had due for one of my classes. I finished the paper, printed it, and left it stapled on my desk. It was a warm day and I headed to campus to finish work for my deadline as the graphic design editor of the school newspaper. When my portions were ready for print, I decided to grab lunch with some friends from the paper.
As we sat eating lunch, I remember being unable to track and participate in the conversations around me. My mind was racing and my head continually swiveled around as I watched what seemed like a million students pass by. Everything was in slow motion yet happening so quickly. After barely touching any of my food, I excused myself, said goodbye to my friends, and hopped in my car to head to another portion of my college campus.
I arrived onto a blinding part of campus as the sun’s rays reflected harsh bursts of light off of the huge white-cemented buildings. I bounded the stairs and don’t remember what happened next. I suppose I was looking for someone. Maybe I was walking in circles. I still wonder what I looked liked. Was I walking fast, with a purpose? Or were my steps slow, like I was lost? The next thing I remember was that I was being stopped by someone, I don’t remember if it was a boy or girl, and they asked if I was okay. I responded to them blankly, as if I had no idea why they would think I wasn’t okay. It was then that I touched my face and felt that it was wet. Was it raining? Was I sweating? I reached my hands to my eyes and realized they were tears. My eyes weren’t watering from the bright sun but I was crying.
I quickly ran back to my car, buckled up, and began to drive. By now I was sobbing. The sobs were coming quickly and I couldn’t get them to stop. My mind was racing and I kept yelling for God. I believed that He didn’t hear me. My body was overwhelmed with pain. Physically, I could no longer take each stab of agony. Mentally and emotionally, I was tired. Exhausted to say the least. For so long, I had kept a happy face, while inside I was screaming. The physical pain was robbing me from any joy in my path.
And then there was my heart, completely raw. I was unable to comprehend why one tidal wave of physical torment was always immediately followed by another. Spiritually, my heart felt like it had sunk. I questioned if He cared, if He saw me, and if He knew there was nothing more I could take. Amidst the sobs and the deafening silence of when I called for Him, I could not hear any of my God’s promises.
I swerved onto the freeway and headed west. I had no idea where I was driving but I felt that since the world around me was spinning I needed to get away from it as quick as I could. I grabbed for my phone and dialed my mom for what would be the first of several phone calls with her that day. When she answered, I immediately began apologizing. I needed her to know that it was nothing she or my dad had or hadn’t done. It wasn’t coming to this because of them. Then as the people pleaser in me could have predicted, I begged for her to not be mad. I repeated over and over that I wasn’t strong enough to keep fighting and I remember telling her that I was tired. Too tired to even go on.
I got off the freeway and headed back to my apartment. I ran into my roommate and best friend back at our place. I was crying and she knew something was certainly not right. I tried to reassure that I was okay and that I just needed to be alone. I grabbed all the prescription bottles in my medicine cabinet, threw them in a bag, changed into some cooler and comfier clothes, and dashed back to my Jeep.
This time I headed east. Again, unsure of where I was going but trying to escape the feeling of suffocation that was pressing down on me. I got off at an exit and pulled into a parking lot with a liquor store. I didn’t have any cash on hand and was afraid if I got a bottle of something they would trace where I had last used my debit card. The half empty water bottle in my backseat would have to do.
I drove north. Making as many twists and turns up those mountain roads as I could. My phone rang the entire time. People were worried, word had gotten out that I was in a bad place, and everyone was desperately trying to find me. I cried up those steep mountain roads and in heavy sobs asked God to take away the pain.
I’m not sure where I finally pulled off to the side and stopped my car. I even wonder if I could navigate back to that place today. I loaded my favorite worship song into my CD player and set it to repeat. Text messages of people asking where I was flooded my phone. I called my mom again. But, I mostly sat there. I was in over my head. So weak and so tired. The image that played over in over in my head was me, as a little girl, looking up to God, the Father. With my arms raised I was begging Him to pick me up, to hold me. And the only response I received was a displeased shake of His head. He looked at me with disappointment and refused to pick me up. I thought that He was ignoring me. And with that lie, which I held as truth, I blindly believed in no other option.
(To be continued...)