Monday, May 29, 2017

I Wish I Had Known This Before

Have you ever had a moment of colorful clarity where you found yourself saying, "I wish I knew then what I know now"? There are many things in our lives we lament when we look back on them. For me, the moments of clarity happen when thinking about a period of time in my life I wish never happened. More specifically, the years of alcohol abuse and sexual addiction.

Those years were a fury of emotions and actions that took me to places I never thought I would go and wish that I could have known better or had someone in my life telling me the things to be wary of and exercise extreme caution in doing. Sadly, there wasn't but it was my own doing that caused those years to play out the way they did.

I, personally, created the sick and twisted environment in which I lived. The attitudes, hatred, and profane demeanor were all owned. No one had authority over how things were done, where things happened, or how often. As a result of a controlling and strong will, I never had anyone who could get close enough to watch over me.

To have another set of eyes see what I, obviously, didn't and slap me upside the head when getting off track or readying to do something stupid. To have someone take a hold of my hand and yank me in the opposite direction of where I was going and to not stop yanking until I relented.

Someone to tell me, 'Don't do it. That man is going to shame you. That one is going to abuse you. That one over there? He's going to control and threaten you.' I never heard those words because I never allowed any person to get within a reasonable proximity of my stone cold heart.

Then the thought emerges, "Would I have listened to the warnings? Would I have heeded all the urgent calls from that person when I wasn't even in a decent head space?" In order to be completely honest with myself while looking back on that time, I wouldn't have heard them. In fact, I could argue that there would be a certainty that I would kick and scream against that good willed and caring person, all in an effort to continue rebelling.

Sad, isn't it? Especially when a special friend was the one thing I was crying out for inside but adamantly denied, verbally. Interesting how a genuine need can be so easily ignored because of anger and stubbornness. Unfortunate how that destructive period of time, the years of drinking and meaningless encounters with men, could have been completely avoided if only I had laid down the arrogance and hatred. How do you do that when you are completely immersed in it?

That answer may never be known because of what I was going through at that time. It was as though every piece of my world had been turned inside out and upside down. There was no knowledge, wisdom, or discernment at my disposal...none that was accepted anyway.

The mind was blocked to any reason or common sense. Wanting to be lost in the insanity was more comforting than dealing with reality. It was a harsh reality that didn't exist if I didn't think about it. Oh, if only I could turn back time.

Even though time can't be turned back and while I may still lament those lost and hurtful years filled with scars that will always be there, I can hold my head high today and say that those scars may have come at a price but they are being turned into packages of beauty. Tattered things that have helped me become a different person. A better person, with compassion and empathy for those facing a similar fate.

I can be the voice in someone's head telling them not to do it. Even going to the extreme of showing up at their house, dragging them kicking and screaming from a situation I know they really want no part in but feel no reason to expect better for themselves.

I can be the woman who tells it like it is, sharing the things I know now that they may have already wished they knew before diving into the shallow end of the life pool head first. I can be the one to tell them the one thing that saved me from further heartbreak and imminent death, a relationship with God. Without that, this life would have been lost.

While I also wish that I had known a relationship with God before all the messy stuff I went through, there is a reason for it all. There is a greater purpose behind the pain endured and the shame inflicted. I may not know it completely, but I can try to save someone else from saying, years later, that they wish they had known this before.

Encouragement for the week:

I think there are a lot of people in the world who wish that the knowledge they have now, could have made it to the ears and mind of the younger 'them'. Wishing they had known certain things before their life started to go downhill and off the rails.

There are many times I wish that someone had told me about Jesus a long time ago but that didn't happen. While the wish remains, there is an immense gratitude that I know Jesus now and that's all that really matters.

If you are a Christian, I don't have to tell you how great it is to know Jesus and how grateful we are to the person who first told us about Him. Be the person who shares that great news with someone else.

If you are not a Christian, and have just an inkling within you wanting something more, look for Jesus and you will find Him. You will be glad you did without wasting any more time.

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