Story – Part 2 (I went ahead and put the rest here, it’s a little longer than part 1 but I didn’t want to put it in 3 parts. Thank you as always for reading!)
Many people would listen to this and say this is really depressing. She must be really depressed. Why not just give her some drugs and send her home. Obviously she looked depressed when she was out and about. Right? No, you’re wrong. She didn’t know she was depressed about anything, well she did. She just avoided the subject. Because, you see? This woman, she has a beautiful smile. And she still doesn’t believe that she deserves to be pitied or felt sorry for… she doesn’t want any of that. And so all the people around her, aside from a very few, had no idea that she was living in hell. But what do you do? What did she do? She accidentally got some help. It’s accidental help? Really? Or is it a letter from God? God doesn’t like people living in hell. They say that God is love, but God does have one thing that he hates, he hates hell. He hates evil. But she didn’t know that, she did. She got a letter from God. She didn’t know it was from him. She just thought she was being silly, or smart.
She didn’t know what she was doing. But she knew she didn’t like this life. And so she reached out to so many places. Just a little comment here and a little comment there. Just to see what would happen, to see if anybody would stand up and find out more. No one did. Not at first. No one bothered to find out more. She’d say a little something, but mostly people would say, “ oh, that’s rough” and move on. No one ever tried to get to know her heart, to find out just how badly she was hurting. So what did she do? She went to see somebody who actually works with folks personally on their lives, by accident, on a whim. For no reason at all. All of a sudden, someone listened. All of a sudden, someone understood. She’d tried that. She’d tried several times to find that. She had no idea what she was in for after that. What he told her was, his job is just to listen, to say what she says, help her to see things from a distance. Because as he put it, if you’re standing with your nose against a wall, you can’t see the giant building that you’re in. Or in my case, it was a prison. I had no idea I was locked in a jail that was in hell. So she talked. She tested. She let a little of the truth out, a little more. A little more truth now and then. She was scared. She still is. Scared out of her mind.
So what does she do? She realizes her problems, sort of. What does she do? She learns that she deserves to have love, to feel love, to be loved. She learns that she deserves to take care of herself because she wants to be healthy and strong. She learns that she’d been living a lie for years and years. She cries a bunch. Sometimes she has no idea what she’s doing or going to say, or going to see, or going to do. What she does do, is she learns about herself, she learns to like herself. Not in a “she’s better than you kind of way”, but in a “she’s just as good as you” kind of way. All she wanted, all she needed was someone willing to listen to her ramble.
So what happens to the girl who can see that she’s standing in hell? You don’t get to leave hell, not just leave, you have to walk out. It’s not an in or out kind of thing. You have to walk out. But you have to be able to see where you’re going sometimes, at least a little bit. For years all she knew was that something was wrong, and there was some stupid reason why she didn’t want to go home. That’s all she knew. The further away from home the better she felt. The calmer she got. The happier she would be. But, the closer to home she got, the worse she felt. Like a pendulum, back and forth, back and forth , back and forth. And always, always, always she had to go back home. Always had to go back home because home was in hell, and she thought she deserved to be there. She was wrong.
So what is hell? Chaos, hate, fear, abandonment. What is hell? Her home, for years and years. But, when she started to get to know herself, she started to see the big picture. She started to see what hell was; that it was limited, it was very limited. She started to get out of the grasp of the devil. He kept grabbing for her, kept on trying to drag her back in. He just couldn’t get a good hold on her anymore. She was slippery. He’d grab her and pull her in and she’d slip out again, back and forth they went. The devil trying to keep her in hell because she belonged to him, he thought. But no. She was getting slipperier, and slipperier. She was getting smart too, and so she would just stay away. She became more and more scared about going home, because she was away so long.
So what’s not hell? What is it? What is her hope? That finally started to develop? Her hope for freedom, for love, adventure, life. So she started to act a little different, because the devil had brought her down, down to the depths to almost nothing. She didn’t even know who she was anymore. But hope, hope started to bring her back out, not love really, because there’s really nothing different. All right, maybe a little bit of love. The love she started to have for herself, that started to grow, just a little. A little each day, one step at a time, she started to walk away. She started to walk away from hell and the further she got the more beautiful life became. She started to see the green trees, and the blue skies, the sunrise in her eyes.
She started to feel again. She did not like that, because feeling hurt so bad. She didn’t want to feel anything ever again. But she started to accept that in order to feel wonderful, and to feel loved, and to feel great, and to love herself, that she had to feel the other stuff too. She started to learn that feeling was OK and that her feelings were something she should trust. Let bad feelings remind her that’s the wrong direction and good feelings, that’s the right direction. She really didn’t believe that she should trust how she feels because she’d been lying to herself for so long. Funny, she always felt that honesty was the most important trait of all and she spent twenty plus years lying, to herself, to her friends, and her family, and her coworkers, and strangers too.
So what did she see? That little bit of hope. The birds flying, birds flying? Such freedom that they have, birds, They’re so free. They go where they go. No cage. No dark corners to hide in. No reason to go cry in the closet so no one could hear you scream into a pillow. How many times has she gone to a corner, or in the bathroom with a pillow, just to scream into it where no one could hear? The pain that she did not want to feel ever again. The reason, the reason she never wanted to feel anything. “Better to feel nothing” she said. “Than to feel that.” And so she didn’t feel anything. She quit loving, she quit hating. She just breathed. All she did was breathe.
So what was her hope? She always believed in God, he answered her prayers frequently. What changed? Her hope, she had lost hope. What is hope? What did she hope for? Would it ever come to pass? There she is standing, right there at the gate of hell. The door’s wide open. She looks out and what does she see? What does she see at the gates of hell? She sees pain, crying. She sees sickness, heartache, cancer, death. She needs to turn around and look the other way! On the other side of the gates of hell, she sees love. She sees hope, freedom, health, adventure, happiness.
Standing at the gates of hell, why doesn’t she walk through those gates? How does she walk through? You see, the devil is a little tricky. Because what he does, is he lets her see that at the gates of hell once in a while, and then he drags her back in. But he doesn’t have a good grip, she’s slippery now. But he does have a grasp of her. What does she have to cut off to lose that grasp? Her leg? Her ankle? Because it feels like he’s wrapped around her ankle, trying to grab her and bring her back in, trying to get a hold of her hair so that she can’t get away. And she can see the gates of hell now, and she can see through them. She knows she’s going to walk right through. On the way to the gates of hell, to get right through, to cross that border, is a hard thing to do.
Why is it hard to walk through the gates of hell? To walk out of hell? Why would that be hard? Why would anyone think it’d be hard to walk out of hell? Because the devil is a trickster, a liar and a thief, and she has been tricked, and lied to, and stolen from for so many years that she doesn’t know what to believe. Is that really the way out? Or is there more hell to go through? In her heart she knows its OK to go that way. But in her heart, in her mind, in her body, she also knows that as soon as she starts to take that step through the gates of hell? The devil himself will be there, tearing at her, clawing at her. He will be pretending to be nice if he has to. One minute screaming and yelling, gnashing his teeth. The second minute, telling her how sorry he is. How he wishes so badly that she wouldn’t leave, that he loves her. But you see the devil doesn’t even know what love is, the devil has no idea what love is.
The path through the gates of hell is not something you just walk through. She has to learn to love herself enough to grow through them. She has to learn that she is worthy of a great life. She has to learn that she is capable as well. Walking through the gates of hell is something she has to do alone. Not completely alone, but it’s something she has to do and no one can do it for her. She has to take the first step, and then the second and the third steps. And if she has to she has to walk faster, jog, even sprint through that gate. The grasp of the devil will loosen because of her growth. She has to learn to listen to the good and to quit hearing the bad. She has to be honest with herself, truly honest. She has to strengthen her core so that she can see the lies for what they are. Going through hell is hard enough but getting out of it? Nearly impossible. Completely impossible if she ever gives up.
But as I said in the beginning, this woman is stubborn. She’s more stubborn than hell could ever be. Because of her curse, her gift, she will someday find herself free.
Thank you for reading,
PS. She is free from hell now. The journey was long and hard, but oh so worth it!