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And then this...

I will go on the record to say that I have been through a lot of stuff.  A lot of crazy, random, stuff.  The stuff that one can hardly believe to be true but it is.

2003 was one of those crazy years.  I vacillate between trying to forget it and trying to accept it and embrace it.   Tonight, I feel a twinge of gratitude for 2003.

December of 2002 was not the kind of Christmas I was expecting- a gold key to my own apartment was my gift and the truck was loaded the day after Christmas and I was moving out.  My husband thought it would be best if we separated.  I was sick.  The kids were sick.  My marriage was sick.  Our whole world was in a shambles and he could see no way out.  I could find no way to fix myself or my kids.  I left kicking and screaming...literally screaming.  I left alone.  My kids were not allowed to join me...but before you get all worked up...this story is not about that part.

My first night in that apartment with one chair, one bed, one pot and one set of dishes was my hell.  I fell asleep in front of the front door on the vinyl, in a pile of slush and sand I had dragged in from the winter move. Little rocks embedded themselves in my cheeks and muddy water dehydrated itself to my hair.  I woke up to frost on the carpet.  I hadn't noticed in my collapse of tears the night before that I hadn't turned on the furnace.

I was completely alone.  Throngs of friends abandoned me.  Many more just lost touch.  Judgments against me were not in short supply.  I only saw my kids a handful of times that year.  I cried every night of the year for them. They will never, ever know the heartache I felt.

I had no job so the days were long and lonely and filled with the worst kind of anxiety.

At the time, our church was really pushing humanitarian service so, I signed up for that.  For 9 months straight, day in and day out, many hours each day, I  cut and sewed school bags out of old Delta Airline seat cushions.  I bound sisal rugs.  I compiled emergency kits for battered women and file folder games for children. Serving was my survival tool.

One afternoon, in early Spring, a flyer was left on my door advertising a writing class in the city.  I had never had much interest in writing but something urged me to sign up.  Two nights a week for 4 months, I attended my writing class.  At first, the assignments were difficult and my writing was stiff. The teacher, a well published author of more than 25 romantic novels kept telling me, "I want to feel your words; taste them.  Move me with your descriptions."  And so, in my angst of life, I wrote a piece that made her feel what it felt like to be abandoned and left alone that year.  She cried as she tasted my words.

It was in that piece of writing that I fell in love with words.  Words that witnessed my life.  Words that shared with a total stranger, the things I couldn't speak myself but so desperately wanted to be heard. They were more than heard, they were felt.  I spent that year writing volumes and volumes about my life; the pain I was feeling.  All I had to keep me company that year was my notebook and a pen.  

Writing became my thing.  When I can't sort out my head...I write.  When I am sad or lonely...I write.  When I experience deep and holy experiences..I write.

8 years ago, I set a goal that I wanted to be a published writer.  I have submitted articles here and there and have even been paid to write for some big companies like Hallmark, Animal Planet, Walgreens, Clipix and some smaller companies and even a Catholic newsletter.  I have written speeches for organizations like Relay For Life.

But today...this happened!

My submission I wrote for the 10th Anniversary publication of the New York Times Best Seller, 29 Gifts by Cami Walker was accepted today!  I was really quite surprised!  It will be a chapter in her new book that is set to hit the bookshelves in 2018!  Cami and her co-author said. "You have written a wonderful story- a true gift to the 29 Gifts community.  I love your fine tuning of beginning each year with a gifting round..."

So tonight, I am grateful for 2003.  I am glad that in the ashes of a life gone awry, I found a saving grace in giving and writing.  In the serving and giving, I felt some worth and above all, love from my Father in Heaven.  My life is richer because of it but not only that, I have a life because I gave away my loneliness everyday in 2003.  There were times that year, it was my quest to end my life.  More times than not, I would have rather been dead than live one more day away from my kids.

It was perfect timing to be reminded of this today; to see that God is a creator of goodness even when it seems nothing good will ever come from a horrible situation.  This year will certainly rank next to 2003 in difficulty and despair.   I don't always understand the higher ways of God and at times look Heavenward in curiosity.  This year has been a year of waiting on Him.  Waiting for things to change. Suffering but when suffering once meant something profound, it seems we suffer just to suffer.  I pray for the day when I find meaning to the suffering and the plodding along. It will come.  God will soon shed his merciful light... Until then, we will continue to give, serve and survive.

The last line in my submission to 29 Gifts read...

" I had gotten lost in my own life but in giving, was found. Sometimes, the love you so desperately need is found in the heart of a stranger because you took the time to care first."



  1. Kath, I love it. You are so special and loved, it pained me to read even that little bit of your despair and anguish. How I wish I could have known you then, to have been your friend. Then again, you wouldn't be the same as you are and learned what you have. I'm so grateful to know you.


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