“At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”
College was NOT the time of my life. Unfortunately, my life had a lot of dysfunction leading up to this milestone. Most memories of my childhood consisted of pervasive fear, abuse from my father, death of my mother, and other major loss & transitions. After my Mom passed and my Dad relinquished his responsibilities as a father, we moved in with other relatives, who were suppose to be the “best option” to take care of my siblings and I. Abuse continued on mental/emotional levels.
Once I was old enough I RAN. I was 18, and was given the option of College or College so I did what I was suppose to do. I chose to leave NY and attend college in PA. I could have stayed in NY and saved a lot of money on tuition or even room and board; but when you run you don’t think of how your life will play out with debt after 4 years. I did know I was excited to leave a place that represented pain & loss.
Like most people who run they do not actually get the reprieve that they are hoping for. I was 18, but developmentally I felt more like a 15 year old. I battled constant anxiety and depression. Even though I removed what was wrong in my life, mental ties do not break as easily. I functioned in dysfunction for so long that in College I continued old patterns. I had “friends” who really did not care about me. Majority of the time I hid in my room because I was scared. At times, I did not even have the courage to walk into the cafeteria to get food.
I jumped from one suffocating and co-dependent relationship to the next. Repeating my pattern of dysfunction. I was at a Christian School and I think on a subconscious level I chose this school in hopes that people would be nice BECAUSE they were Christian.
I was hurt by most of my friends. I LACKED the confidence and wherewithal to make new friends so I “stuck it out.” You see when you deal with hell for so long it becomes a companion. I was really good at “just dealing.”
The STORY does not end here. Thankfully. Slowly I grew. Every once in a while I had a person or a circumstance throw me a bone that helped me feel worth something. Into my Junior and Senior years I joined the Gospel Choir (yes Gospel Choir), I started swing dancing, and talked to more healthy/mature people. I had ONE professor who encouraged me to think about Grad School. At that time I had no plans for after College. I found a church that spoke TRUTH, and acted like the church.. I grew in my faith, personal confidence AND confidence in who I was as a follower of Jesus.
There is more. My lifeline. My Grandma. She had always been the thread that when I thought I was sinking she would pull me back up. Sadly, after my mom passed we were unable to live with her and my Grandpa. She was still one of the most powerful influences in my life and faith today.
College was no different than any other time in my life, and when I needed my lifeline I would pick up the phone. My Grandma’s reassuring and somewhat tough voice always had the right balance. She listened to UNDERSTAND and spoke TRUTH to me when I would shut up long enough to listen. And no matter if she was 5 minutes, 20 minutes, an hour or 6 hours away she always knew what to say. “Connie hold onto the phone I am going to pray.”
You see in life, when you are just hanging on by a thread, there is ALWAYS someone holding the phone and praying for you. If YOU are that person doing the praying do not stop. It makes an eternal difference.
I am FOREVER blessed and grateful for my Grandma. She was far from perfect, but she knew who was. Even when I had no faith she was interceding for me.
“But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And WHEN you have turned back, STRENGTHEN your brothers.” Luke 22:32