Bear with me as I reflect on some out of the way things here, like the connection between Daytona and God. I’m still unsure which led me to which, but here I am, borderline homeless in Daytona (defined soon) and wondering why after such fervent prayer, life keeps throwing me one backhand after another just trying to knock me down – which, admittedly, it has a few times in the past five months – and keep me from getting back up.
After losing my job in January 2013 due to the death of the owner of the company and subsequent company closure, I spend the next 8 months looking desperately for work that would pay enough to cover my basic expenses: rent, utilities, transportation, food… I’d taken a couple temp jobs in that time frame because they were all that were offered, but it was still nowhere near enough to cover even rent. After my tax return had run out, rent of course fell behind. I had given up numerous comforts (if you can consider a proper diet and asthma/heart medication comforts) in order to start paying a little over each week on my rent to catch up. By August, I was essentially destitute. Knowing I couldn’t continue to pay rent, I gave my landlord 2 weeks notice and moved in with the man next door for a couple weeks. That turned out to be a nightmare, as he was an ex felon and was extremely controlling and cruel. He was also just plain disgusting as a person. His treatment of me made living there unbearable and so I got out before I got into a situation that I wouldn’t be able to escape.
In September, someone I used to date back in 2010 contacted me from Daytona and offered to let me move in there. It took a lot of very difficult decision making as this would put me 3 hours away from my daughter of whom I have shared custody. Seeing her 4 days a week would then mean seeing her only once every 4-8 weeks due to miles, gas, funds, etc. Without work and without a place to live however, I had to make the decision to relocate to try to get back on my feet. You may as well have ripped my heart out of my chest and taken my last breath away because that’s what it felt like as I started heading to Daytona without my baby girl. There was no work, unemployment had run out, my tax return and savings had run out, and I was without shelter. What else could I do?
I get to Daytona and just as I arrive at the house, I find out the water has been shut off. Not a good omen. Ex is scrambling to find the funds and we are out of water for days. It goes ok after that for a couple months, I learn my way around town but never quite feel welcomed. These people have a completely different set of ethics (or lack thereof) from the way I am. I find work within a week of arriving, but instead of being helped to get on my feet as was promised, I end up financially supporting a household of seven people, sometimes in full, on bills, food, gas, cigarettes, personal supplies, household supplies… The ex… he makes a decent sum of money, netting far more than I ever have in a month, but spends it all as soon as it comes in. As many times as I asked him to sit down and create a household budget with me, he changed the subject. Soon, the money I was making was running out, leaving me with nothing at the end of the week for having to support everyone but myself. That’s December, about the time his whole personality changed. He began to withdraw, to push me away, then one of his own exes came back into his life. He stopped coming to bed, started staying up all night on the phone with her, spent nights out (taking personal supplies that made it obvious it was a planned “sleepover”), and started becoming emotionally abusive. Then mentally abusive, eventually moving into screaming, cussing, threatening and being all out vicious toward me. At that point, I was scared as I’d been through this before and each time it only escalated. This man was becoming completely unraveled and was getting progressively and rapidly worse.
Come January, he’d left me for the third time. The final time he broke up with me, he did so online without telling me, then told me finally and had the nerve to immediately ask me for gas money. Upon refusing to give it to him because – well – he’d just left me, he threw me out, first with 30 days notice, then with 3 days notice. I came and went, sleeping where I could but the room he had just haphazardly thrown my few remaining belongings into was unlivable – it is a storage room, full of junk and mold, there is no door, no privacy, no bed, only a bare box spring, and a filthy couch that made me sick to sleep on one night. I felt like an unwanted dog being banished to a filthy kennel, only I think he’d have treated a dog better than he was treating me.
My dad being my angel, he ended up providing a clean, safe place while I looked feverishly for a roommate but Friday will be my last night there. In the interim, a woman I’ve known for several years and used to work with ended up offering a room to me with her in Sebastian. We talked about it, sorted out the details, and I was to move in with her this coming Saturday, the 8th. Trusting that my friend was acting honorably, I gave my daughter the good news that I would only be 45 minutes from her now instead of the impossible 3 hours and that I’d get to see her every week like normal again. She was ecstatic, as was I as we miss each other terribly. Well I don’t know what happened, but 3 days before I was supposed to move in with her, I noticed she’d deleted me from Facebook. I called, no answer. I texted, no response. An hour later, I tried to go to her page to message her and it turns out she had blocked me. There was NO warning or reason as to any of this. I left her several voice mails yesterday and still no response, so my dearest William sent her a message on my behalf asking her what was going on and still has not heard back.
Still have no idea why a friend of several years who so happily offered to have me move in with her, saying I’d done so much for her over the years, would – without any warning – delete me from Facebook, block me, refuse to answer her phone, return a text or a voice mail. Why would someone do that? She knew what I had at stake. She knew I’d already told my daughter that I was moving back to the area, she even offered to come up to Daytona to help me bring some of my things down. The last conversation we had, she gave me the new address and we were making plans for the move this coming Saturday. It was all a go and she said she was happy to help, that I owed her nothing. I would really love to know what is behind all this, why someone who was always so sweet would out of the blue do this to me. Does anyone have any insight to offer as to why someone would do that?
So thank God I did not turn in my resignation at work, as I would have had to do had this move gone through. Something stopped me from doing it, “Just in case.” I returned to my search for a roommate and happened to call on a listing last night for a room for rent in the area… a little more than I was budgeting, but I will have to work something out if it goes through. I spoke with the homeowner last night for a solid hour and she was very friendly, an older lady, who really seemed to resonate with me. In exchange for helping her around the house, she offered to drop the deposit and pay for half the internet that I would be transferring over. I will be meeting with her tonight and am praying to God that everything works out and I can move in Saturday. At this point, I have no other options so if anyone reading this would please join me in that prayer that I find a place to move into this Saturday, between my faith and your intercession, God can do some amazing things.
The other question bothering me so much is why does God continue to test my faith by allowing me to come into worse and worse situations? I mean I have lost everything over the past 18 months, including access to my child who is the single most important person in my life. I’d go as far as to say she IS my life. Every time I have prayed on this, I have received the same answer: “I do this to draw you nearer to me. If you see that I can raise you from nothing, then you will have everything.” But how much more pain and loss can I take? I realize God knows my limits, but life has become unbearable far too often, especially in the past five months. In RCIA, they discuss depth of faith often. It’s so difficult to have faith when all you’re doing is futile even down to your most basic needs being stripped away and the longer it takes to get an answer – or see a miracle – the further that faith sinks. This becomes a vicious cycle as God detests the lack of faith and puts the person in an even lower situation, pressing the faith to return. It’s a Catch 22 – how does it stop? As life – and faith – elude me, I will leave off here, hoping some answers come in the way of a safe place to live with my meeting of this seemingly nice woman tonight. Thank you for listening, and please – keep me in your prayers.
What a beautiful morning! Even though I had the chance to sleep in today, my internal clock still roused me at exactly 6 a.m. on this frigid Thanksgiving morning. With my phone dead, I couldn’t immediately see what the temperature was outside but even though it was a snuggly 70 degrees in our bedroom, my bones still felt that cold air nipping at the windows and trying to seep through wherever it could. Getting myself into a couple layers (and mind you I’ve lived in Florida my entire life, layering is not something that comes natural to me), I crept outside so as not to wake anyone else for whom getting up before dawn on a holiday may seem… foreign. WOW the air went right through me. Right over my bare feet (told you, I’m a Floridian) and up my too-big jeans (one who’s lost a lot of weight). No problem seeing my breath! I slipped into my car to plug my phone in and when it came up, Weatherbug displayed 35F with a “Feels Like” temp of 31F!
This arctic blast was unexpected even to the weather sources apparently as the last I checked, the low was only supposed to be in the low 50s. Nevertheless, I do love a nice brisk morning, and this morning is being met much like any other with a hot cup of tea on the porch watching the sun come up – regardless of my shivering as though shoes finally did make it onto my feet, I kinda forgot socks.
Oh – and if you need a place to watch the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade live online – click here!
So what am I thankful for? These apply to every day, not only today. In no particular order…
I’m thankful that my best friend was able to hold some of my belongings for a couple months until I could return to retrieve them – those belongings included my leather jacket – the ONLY warm thing I own – which I was able to get just in time for the cold weather. I’m also thankful that he was able to help me in obtaining my asthma medications. Having just gotten out of the hospital with pneumonia and a partially collapsed lung, I ended up also picking up a common cold virus which has got my sinuses, throat and chest a whole new mess, causing even more breathing problems!
I’m thankful that for the first time in a decade, I am finally able to spend Thanksgiving with family (even if it isn’t my family). I’m thankful that Tim is back in my life and that I have been welcomed into his family and am a part of it. I’m thankful for all the children – mine and my future steps – who make the holidays what they are, a time for togetherness and tradition with a little magic and mayhem stirred into the mix. Even though my daughter can’t be with us today specifically, she will be with us the next few days and who says Thanksgiving only has to last one day? It’s a 4-day weekend! I would happily re-write the common calendar just for her 🙂
I’m thankful for my father who has been an immense support to me on every level through this year of financial and emotional isolation and hardship. My dad is the one person I can go to with anything without fear of being judged or preached at. He simply cares and he is my rock. I love you dad ❤
I’m thankful worlds over for my love Tim who, despite our rough past, remained firm in his love for me and provided me with everything that was missing from my life. From the basic to the paramount, he has done whatever it took to make sure I was taken care of, even when it became a struggle for all involved while always drilling into my head that it WILL get better. Now, we are on our way to things getting much better and really coming together. He’s given me food and shelter, he’s given me faith, family and most of all love. ALL of these things had been missing this year, some for much longer. Sometimes I don’t know how to show him how much he means to me and the words themselves often escape me, but I try. I’d be content to spend the rest of my life showing him how much he means.
I’m thankful that I have a home to come home to; that a severe health issue was able to be treated; for good nurses at the hospital who made me comfortable and less panicked when for days on end I was struggling to breathe and not responding to medications; for having even a small income even though it still isn’t enough to live on, at least it’s work; for my daughter having a full understanding of my life’s situation and being patient through some very difficult transitions that needed to be made to get me back on my feet so that I could properly care for both myself AND her.
There are many more things that I’m thankful for, but these are the ones that stand out most for me today. On that note, it is time for me to start preparing my cold dishes for this afternoon. Pie prep was negated this year after Tim was gung-ho over making lemon meringue pie from scratch, then got suddenly “lazy” (his term, not mine) upon giving in to the temptation of a ready to eat key lime pie (which of course required the purchase of a pumpkin pie to go with it). That’s alright, dressing up the turkey is all on him and I’m just thankful (!) that this year – also the first in MANY – I don’t have to get my Thanksgiving dinner from a church or charity. It’s a blessing to actually have food in the house and there have been far too many times over the years, especially this last year, that there simply has not been any.
I hope all of you reading this have a very happy Thanksgiving with those you love.