To even utter the words I could have died is a sentence that still baffles me. I look back at it knowing very well, it wasn’t just dumb luck. I knew there was something greater than myself involved in this. And to say something like ‘a higher power’ or ‘God’ were words so far removed from my vocabulary, I almost didn’t recognize them as I mumbled them to myself.
For the next few days, I felt a sense of weakness I have never known. As someone who has never needed anyone, I looked my reflection with a sense of wonder and unfamiliarity.
I knew there was something missing in my life I couldn’t fill or find within myself.
Time later, I found myself beside a hospital bed, praying for the first time in I don’t know how long. And I realized God might have been that missing piece.
It came as no easy task welcoming religion back into my life. I was raised in a church. As a kid, my mother dressed me up and I looked forward to it. I’d utter phrases like, ‘God’s plan.’ But as I got older, something changed.
It became harder to accept God into my life and like many people who find themselves at a religious crossroad, I turned away from the church but more than that, I turned my back on God.
I walked into church the following Sunday, apprehensive and nervous as if there was a sign on my forehead that said ‘I don’t belong.’
What I began to realize was God welcomes you when you’re ready to welcome Him but more than that God never left.
He welcomed me with open arms.
While they were arms I couldn’t see, I felt the warmth and the welcoming of God and his presence all around me. It came with no task of proving I belong there. It came with no test or no hard feelings for my absence. It was simply walking in and listening when all I heard before was the silence I chose.
He forgave me for my sins.
He took my burdens. He took my troubles. He forgave my mistakes if I had the ability to own up to it. And in doing so, there was a weight lifted off of me knowing someone could forgive me while I was still learning to forgive myself.
He was the light in my darkest times.
When I wasn’t strong enough, when I didn’t have anyone to turn to, He was there was there to lift me up.
He gave me strength when I was weak.
Inner strength is something I knew well. But even the strongest people need something to believe in. Without it, when you do crumble and you’re at your worst, something greater than yourself will need to give you strength.
He was the eyes when I couldn’t see any further.
When things weren’t going my way, what I didn’t realize at the time, was that thing wasn’t a part of his plan or mine. He knew where I was going and what I should have been doing even when I didn’t have all the answers.
He blessed me with every unanswered prayer.
You know when you pray asking for something and you don’t know why you’re not getting it? If you pray harder or louder and say you want it bad enough maybe He’ll hear you. You think isn’t listening. He is. He hears even those silent wishes that go unsaid and reside in your heart. But there’s a reason something doesn’t work out as you planned. There’s a reason you got that rejection letter. There’s a reason things didn’t work out with that person you thought you loved. God always sees a bigger picture than you see for yourself and one day you will be grateful for that.
He didn’t have to speak but I heard him.
It was through every homily I heard on Sundays. It was in every moment I asked, ‘please send me a sign.’ And he’d always answer in one form or another. He was there. The communication without words was something I could have only picked up on, in the moment I began to believe there was Someone greater and stronger than myself.
I couldn’t see him but I could feel him all around me.
“(He) saved my life. (He) taught me everything. About life, hope and the long journey ahead… But love is like the wind. I can’t see it, but I can feel it.” – A Walk To Remember