Tuesday, June 06, 2006

New life in the country (saga continues)

In a small town everyone knows and minds your business. We lived on the main street (called Main Street) of town, because my mother had purchased a small beauty shop and was trying to build a client base. Since church was a way to be seen and to meet people, we now went to church. Our new church was my mother’s standby: Congregational. I loved the new hymns and the sermons were interesting, topical and short. There was an active youth group. A new minister had arrived with two teenaged sons, and the older son was in my class. We became friends.

But my mother was not enjoying the rural environment. She was drinking heavily, and as I entered my teens our clashes became more hostile. We argued over everything. I was not the daughter of her dreams, and she was definitely not the mother of mine.

I made matters worse by pouring her whiskey down the sink when she went on her weekend binges. I ran away from home once after she had gotten drunk one night and I could hear her on the sidewalk all the way from the bowling ally. She also had "dropped in" on our youth group leader, (whom I adored) who was working late in his office on Main Street. When she told me that, I was mortified and outraged. I disappeared the next morning and was gone well into the night. In my mind I was going to hitchhike to California and find my father, but whenever someone slowed down to offer me a ride, I panicked and ran off into the woods. I wandered lost most of the day. Each time I approached a house or roadway I turned aside and moved farther into the underbrush. If I hadn’t been so tired and cold, I might never have surfaced. My newly found guardian angel must have been guiding me, because I eventually emerged from the woods onto a highway, sat down and waited to be rescued. Some hours later a car stopped and the people inside were part of a search party. I had been hoping all day to be found by the youth group leader, the actual reason I had run away, and the only adult I thought would understand. I had prayed for this and was damn disappointed when he didn’t show up.

But God had heard, and was even willing to answer my prayers. His timing was just different than mine. This too would become a theme for my life… learning to accept God’s timing instead of my own. Because not long after that, this sweet man took a more personal and active interest in my spiritual growth. He became my human guardian angel, my absent father, guiding me through those turbulent years. He took me skiing, hiking, to afternoon concerts. I first heard Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols with him and was in tears by its beauty. We were good friends at first and then the relationship grew... into love. He was eleven years older than I, but I thought we were a good match. My hormones were raging and had he not had the resolve of a saint, I’d have seduced him. I tried for sure. But this was a small town, and he was more concerned with doing the right thing and keeping up appearances than I was. After my graduation, we finally went on our first “date”. I was ready to get married. And I was impatient with his reticence. He had protected me through high school, but he also wanted me to experience the world, go to college, create a life. He wouldn’t budge.

1 comment:

kpjara said...

God's timing...I still don't fully grasp that one and as a result sometimes I feel like I'm unheard or He's toying with me!