This is my seventh year of participation in the A to Z Challenge. My intent this year is to share a little bit about me each day… the good, the bad, and the ugly… so you can get to know “the woman behind the words” a little better!
Note: My A-Z post may be showing up in the evenings for the next week or so, as we are officially on vacation beginning today. We drove 300 miles today, and have another 200 miles to go tomorrow, to reach Galveston Island on the Gulf Coast, my most favorite place in all of Texas! I can’t wait to have my toes in the ocean!
Now on to my post for the letter S…
I was born and raised in small towns the Northeast corner of South Dakota, and I remained in that area until I was twenty two years old. At that point my then husband graduated from college and we moved to Denver, Colorado. From that point on I was never to reside in South Dakota again, other than for a couple brief stays with my parents while waiting to join him at his next Army assignment.
When I was eighteen I couldn’t wait to get away from South Dakota, and from small town life. It seemed like, growing up in a small town, everybody new your business. My father was a business owner, a City Commissioner, and a prominent member of his church, and he had a reputation to maintain. Although I was incredibly well-behaved as a teenager, I didn’t exactly fit in the box, and that caused a lot of friction between us. If I said something in school that was considered “radical thinking” my parents were likely to know about it before I ever got home. I couldn’t wait to escape.
But forty years later I find myself nostalgic for that small town way of life, and the simple way we grew up in a relatively safe environment in a rural farming community. I miss the seasons (but not six month winters), I miss the trees, grass, and lakes (but not mosquitoes), I miss the beauty of rolling fields as we drove along two-lane highways.
When I graduated from High School I was certain that I would be perfectly happy to never see most of my classmates again. High School wasn’t a fun experience for me. Yet just last year I found myself agreeing to help locate some of those former classmates to let them know about 45th class reunion plans, and last Fall I began a private Facebook page for our class. Not surprisingly, most of us have mellowed a bit, and rounded out a bit too, in the last 45 years, and it is interesting to exchange life stories. I’ve reconnected with a couple friends from back then and find that I like them as much today, if not even more, than I did back then.
On the few occasions I’ve returned to South Dakota in the past twenty years, I found my eyes flooding with tears as I crossed the border from Nebraska into Dakota, and if you ask me where my home is, I would answer South Dakota. Apparently life has come full circle for the girl who once wanted so badly to get away.
While living in South Dakota I was introduced to the man who was to become my first husband. He was a member of the religious sect I had joined. I will talk a little more about him when we get to “Ex” (X), but I wanted to share here that I discovered shortly after we got together that he was a practicing Satanist. I was young, though he was even younger than me, and I was naïve. I also had no idea, initially, just what being a Satanist involved.
I was to learn as time when on how terrifying the reality of Satanic belief and practice is. Anyone who thinks playing with the Devil is a game or a joke is in far more danger than they realize. I witnessed people’s lives being destroyed, and I saw things I never want to see again.
There is power in Darkness just as there is power in Light, and it is the love of that power that draws followers. The reality is that Satanic power comes with a price, a physical price, an emotional price, and most importantly a spiritual price. One could accurately say that he sold his soul to the devil. It destroyed him, it destroyed our life together, and it nearly destroyed me.
He is no longer living, he died while he was still in his thirties, years after we had been divorced. And although I have at last forgiven him for the destruction he caused in my life and others, he is the one and only person I can say without hesitation that I am thankful is dead, because he is no longer able to harm anyone, and especially another child.
That story in some ways leads into my final S-word for today… I am a SURVIVOR, and I say that with courage and with pride. From a young age I have had to come to terms with many difficult issues and situations in my life, and even though at times I wondered if I would be able to survive, and at times I really wanted to die, I have come through those fires so much stronger than I ever would have been otherwise.
I also think about how many wonderful people and experiences I would have missed out on if I had ended my life early. That is how I know that God has wonderful surprises in store for our lives just around the corner and out of sight… never, ever give up hope!
Today I take my life one step further. I have come to realize that it is not enough to merely survive, we must do more than that… we must choose to embrace life and to thrive! Then, and only then, have we truly won the battle.
I know that I was kept alive for a reason and for a purpose, and I will spend the rest of my days trying to support and encourage other survivors so that they can find peace and joy in their lives too. God is merciful and good, and I am so grateful to be here.
Where do you consider to be “home”? Do you believe in the existence of evil? Has there ever been a time in your life that you weren’t sure if you were going to survive?
Links to all of my 2018 A-Z Posts:
- A – Aquarian
- B – Blogging
- C – Cantankerous, Cats
- D – Divorce, Domestic Abuse
- E – Enabler, Encourager
- F – Fibromyalgia, Faith, Follow Through
- G – Germany
- H – Hearing Loss, Hair, Hope
- I – Introvert, Independence, Incarceration
- J – Josie Two Shoes
- K – Kids, Kindness
- L – Things I Like
- M – Middle child, Midwest, Moves
- N – New day, Noise, Never, New Mexico
- O – Ocean, Online Dating, Obesity
- P- Purple, People-pleaser, Promises, Peace
- Q – Quiet, Question, Quirky
- R – Rez Kids, Real, Realist, Regrets