It was raining today. As I drove, the rain started to lessen. When I pulled to a stop at the light, a fat little sparrow flew to the hood of the car, and sat there for a second. And it felt a little like the dove Noah sent out, coming back to tell me that everything was okay now. The whole drive there, I was looking up every chance I got to keep the tears from rolling down my cheeks and smudging my mascara. Because I felt pure relief so sweet it filled me with an pang of sadness. At last, at last, the tires underneath me sounded.
The whole story started two days before. I was sitting in church, barely listening to the announcements being played on the screen. I felt the tears then too, so powerful that I needed to do something to distract myself from opening crying in the huge room full of people. So I pulled out my planner, turned back to a blank month, and wrote out a prayer. I don't know that I've ever written one out before, but I felt so much emotion building up inside that it had to be let out somehow.
What I haven't told people- not even Sky- is what happened for me to reach this point. I know I've briefly mentioned that I started cleaning house for a lady in town- it turned out that we have mutual friends and they goes to the same church we do. One day after I had finished cleaning, a simple chat turned into a long discussion that turned into them praying for me; they told me God didn't want me to be so discouraged, that there are good things for me (and this, before I told them anything about me or my life). And then they told me to take the burden off of my shoulders about the PT test because it's not my fight. I cannot tell you how much I needed to hear that. I left their house that day feeling so lighthearted, like everything would be better.
But then, as swiftly as everything felt good, it went back to feeling bad. The last few years of my life have been the definition of when it rains, it pours. And I started thinking again about all the troubles we're facing and how there seems to be no way out. And that's the moment I pulled out that planner in church and poured everything out. I wrote vigorously, purposefully, even angrily.
I asked God-told God- that life should be better than this. That I don't want riches or power or fame, but I do want to not worry every second of every day. I want to stop the stress from permeating everything in my soul. I told him that he made so many promises to me and I wanted him to keep them. That I needed to feel him there and in control. That sometimes my 27 years have felt more like 100 and I'm tired. So tired.
The next morning, I checked on my college grant status as I've been doing every day for month. Somehow on a Sunday, it had finally posted. I was awarded the maximum amount of Pell Grant money, plus two other grants. And a few hours after rejoicing over that, an acquaintance messaged me on Facebook, asking if I'd be willing to take on housecleaning job for her, too.
So that drive today to talk to the college advisors was a drive that I didn't know if I would ever take. And there's still lots of loose ends to be tied before it's official and I'm enrolled for all my classes. But as I sat in the tiny room to take another ugly ID photo to update the old one, I couldn't help but think back to the first time I smiled in front of that blue curtain and low quality camera.
I was a few years younger. Blonder. I had just met Sky and he was far, far away. I didn't know who Millie was or that she would ever exist. I thought my life was in such perfect order. Had I stayed exactly on the path I thought I would, I would have a degree by now, and probably a raise or two at my office job. But Sky would be just a boyfriend, if anything. And I would never know my daughter, or how she'd be the most perfect girl on earth. And all the struggles that have brought me to my knees so many times wouldn't have carved out this place that I am now.
And that drive to school today wouldn't have happened. For all the fight it took, I would have missed all the sweetness.