I used to wish I could run away and somehow go back in time to little house on the prairie. I would ride my bike there, and Laura would be my friend. Together we would forever ruin Nelly. I would go there with fifty dollars, in walnut grove I would be the rich kid. I think as kids we all pretend to be someone else or create a better world in our heads. As kids it’s fun and silly, little boys getting in card board boxes that will blast them to the moon. Little girls living in a real Barbie dream house, with Barbie as there best friend, and Ken as there boyfriend. Somewhere between the trip to the moon and our first encounter with real pain, that innocent game of pretend turns to something else. It seems to turn to a road that leads us to believe we are not good enough. We stop wanting to be Barbie’s friend, we start wanting to be Barbie. We would rather be anyone than who we are. Sometime around the age of fifteen, I wanted to be anyone but me. I had friends and I had a boyfriend, and I went to church, and in that package it all looked good. And man at fifteen I could make people laugh, I could be the silliest person you’d ever meet. I could wear that mask on cue. My acting days started at fifteen. I had a very different life at home, no one was laughing . I really cant remember how it started, but at some point the man I had known as my dad began to slip away. He had always been a hard working good ole country man. He worked to provide for his family, he loved his wife and his kids. He never said so but we knew he did. Then slowly he became a crazy man. No really he was crazy. I am sure there is a better term for it, but at fifteen for me it was just crazy. He began to scream all the time, and drink and constantly threaten to kill himself or kill my mom. I had to hide his keys from him, or get chased in the cow field trying to keep him from driving. I guess this is where I began to get hard (I just looked up hard, here are more words for it: cruel, callous, severe, unkind, brutal, thick-skinned, strict, remorseless, pitiless, harsh, tough. I was all of those) I really did not care if he drove off the road I just thought he may kill someone else in the process. Our crazy home life became normal to me. Once my friend Mallory called to see if she needed to pick me up for church and in the process of talking to her my parents began to fight over a gun, each one wanting the bullet for themselves. In my nonchalant attitude I put the phone down and wrestled and won over the gun. Then picked up the phone and asked Mallory to please come pick me up. I am sure I went to church and did my clown act. I wanted to be sad all the time, I wanted people to hug me and tell me everything would be okay, but it was not okay. And I was starting to see no one wanted to pretend with me, so I tried to keep it all in. Things went from bad to worse. One night after a long day of fighting my dad got a rope and came real close to ending it. He would have died but we cut him down and the impact of the fall from the tree to the ground knocked breath back into him. Here is where I scared myself, I didn’t want to help cut him down. It’s over let him die. I thought maybe if he is gone there will be peace. My brother happened to be there that night to help my mom. I guess God saw through my mask. He knew the extent of my sadness. He also knew one day I would be glad me dad lived, he knew he would turn out to be a great papa to my kids, and he made sure that happened. But God let me stand back God let me get mad, and he loved me even though I thought I wanted my dad to be dead. What a big God we serve.
I always had a good sad story ready to be told, and with a few I let them see the broken me. But then I had a good friend tell me, “Lori at some point you just have to get over it“. Get over it, I was still going through it. I wish she could have shown me how to get over it, I wanted to get over it. Of course now I know my friend was just as broken as I was. We all hurt, and we all wear mask, and sometimes we just run slap out of compassion. That’s what I did I ran out of compassion the night my dad hung there from that big oak tree. But my friends words silenced me for a long time. I didn’t want to tell my sad story. I could have more friends if I was just funny and happy.
I wish I would have been able to see that the friends God was sending me at that time were deep friendships that could be what I needed to get through to get free. Some didn’t last but the ones that did are still going today. I think I was around fifteen or sixteen when I met Jeanne. No matter which side of me she sees, no matter how ugly the moment is she loves me anyway. Another life saver God sent me at that time was Lesli. Lesli let me be sad, she used to let me stay with her, and she would sing to me. It’s amazing what music can do to ones soul. It put such a hope in me, that I knew I could love this world again. Music at that time helped me believe in God. God was someone who I knew from a far, I had not yet allowed him to love me, but when Lesli would sing, my connection to God grew bigger. I wonder if she knows what she did for me. I hope I keep learning to really tell people the role they have played in my life.
Looking back now this part of my story, I know this is the part where satan really thought he had me. But it turned out to be what God used to strengthen me, and to bind me to him forever.