Our dryer went out today, so I went to the laundromat.
I remember coming here years ago. After a messed up, decade-long relationship had ended with my ex, and after my best bud died, I hated the life I was living. I had to start over, or I was going to lose it. I wanted a new life, so I started one. By myself.
I lived alone on the east side of Evansville. I lived in an apartment that didn’t have a washer and dryer. So, I would come to this laundromat. Back then, I loved being alone. Independent. Away from a dramatic relationship that always had me angry, and stressed out of my mind. I would get high a lot. Drunk a lot. Didn’t have a care in the world. Free to do whatever I pleased. Made a lot of money, and spent it carelessly. I was proud!
Then something happened. The happiness soon turned into horror. I was spending excessively. Boozing and drugging all of the time. Running with the wrong people, and ruining relationships with people that didn’t deserve it. Getting further and further into debt. I got hurt at work. Lost my apartment. Lost my job. Had to move in with my mother. Got really depressed. Hit rock bottom. Hard. I really considered taking my own life. After losing throughout my childhood and adulthood, and losing, and losing, I couldn’t handle anymore.
I got back on my feet, with the help of a few that supported me, and some great professionals. Found a new job, and started climbing again. Still had substance problems though. Still had depression and anxiety problems as well. I was, in a lot of ways, still really messed up.
My supervisor saw my pain. In my attitude. In my eyes. She asked me one day what I thought about God? I responded by telling her that I wasn’t really sure? I was baptized years ago in the name of Jesus, but didn’t really get it? Never read the Bible. Never really did much that had anything to do with God. I guess I prayed once in a while? I guess I saw His work a few times, but just thought that maybe those things were by chance, and not God. I guess I never really knew what God was? I was only worried about myself, money, drugs, and lusts of many kinds. Yeah God…whatever.
She gave me some CD’s to listen to. Some New Age, self-help audio that talked about many paths to God/ Enlightenment/ Consciousness. A broad view of becoming one with “The Light”. At the time, it was nice. It helped me really believe in something. It taught me that I was the center of my own existence. I was my own God, so to speak.
So for a bit, I was heading back up into the light, from a pit of darkness.
Some time passed, and I met a beautiful woman named Tiffany. She was a single mother of three, that had been through a few nightmares of her own. We really enjoyed our time together. I welcomed her, and her family as my own, and we married a short time later. Life was really going well!
She knew my beliefs. Not the same as hers. I believed that there were many paths in this life that lead to the same God. Christianity. Islam. Buddhism. All the same. Just different. She believed in Jesus. Just Jesus. She grew up in the church, had a whole family that were believers. Myself, however, grew up in a Catholic family, that honestly never really mentioned God, or Jesus, or the Bible. I kind of went my own way, while my parents fought to be with each other. My dad rejected me. My mother worked her fingers to the bone, and I just floated through life, alone a lot, hanging out with my mother’s parents, living in my own little world. I got into a lot of the wrong things, early on, and throughout my teenage years. An only child. Doing it my way. The wrong way.
My wife and I started going to her Grandparent’s church. I didn’t believe it really, at first. Every time I went, I would leave mad. Hurt. Mad, because this man would stand up there, and tell me that there was only one way to God, through Jesus Christ.
“Who is this man to tell me what God is?” I thought this many times over. But, for some reason, I kept going. To appease my wife mainly.
I kept going, and then something really started to speak to me. I heard something about Jesus being the Way, the Truth and the Life. The more I listened, the more I became interested. What did that mean? I started studying. Reading. Focusing on it. Pushing myself to understand it. I couldn’t understand why that bothered me so much? I had to figure it out.
It stirred me up. This message of salvation, and redemption. The blood sacrifice that was made, just for me. For each one of us. I felt numb. Convicted. Ill. My bad habits were starting to feel disturbing, instead of pleasurable. What was this? Why? This Jesus thing had me shaken up!
I remember getting on my knees at work one day, and saying to myself, “Jesus, if you are real, show yourself to me!” Nothing happened. No visions or apparitions. But, something was changing. I saw myself differently. The world differently. I recognized the evil all around. The evil in me. The lies that Satan tells. The truth in His Word. The realness of Jesus Christ.
Early on in this new experience, I went to a few different churches, and learned about the Bible. Honestly, the real truth about it, as well as things that weren’t true about it. I won’t bash the churches, but I learned to compare Scripture to what men say, and let God lead me in the right direction. God lead me through, and from harmful places, and into the right ones.
Praise God!!! I sit in this laundromat today, and think about this life. My life of sobriety. My life of peace. My life living in God’s grace. Appreciative of the Holy Spirit leading me, and not my mixed emotions that are influenced by the evil one. Yea I still sin. Yes I admit I’m still kinda crazy and a piece of work. But, more and more, I am His work. I allow Him to shape me, and teach me about His love. I sit here and remember doing my laundry, and being buzzed, full of myself and my lusts, looking through the window. Today, I look through this window, and see my life in a different light. His true light. Praise Him for never letting me go, even though I let Him go, time and time again. His grace is enough, and I am not worthy. But, He made me worthy through Jesus Christ, that showed up, and walks with me daily.