chapter one

“For us this is the end of all stories…But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world…had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth has read, which goes on forever and in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

-CS Lewis

Today at work, like every day before it, I will slam my dated stamp into the crisp, clean, white paper. Then that wet, shiny black ink will twinkle in the glare from the light bulb. As the ink drys, its date will stare up at me – “AUG 11 2011”, and will continue to haunt my memory.

Today is an anniversary of sorts. But not an anniversary celebrated with party hats and popped bottles of champagne. A year ago today we arrived home from summer youth camp. A year ago today opened the door to three weeks of a living hell. This blog is not a “tell all” and I don’t write on it to rub faces in the dirt. Whatever short lived justification I would feel from “setting the record straight”, describing every graphic horror I encountered, and how wronged I was would not be worth it. Because, it’s under the blood now. Because, I can be “bigger” than all that.

But, I do write on this blog to let you know that I have been there. I know what it feels like to hit rock bottom. I know what it feels like to have your worst nightmare materialize before your very naked eyes. I know what it means to be depressed. I know all too well what losing “control” feels like. I remember what a struggle it was to even eat, each bite like a rock lodged in my esophagus. I know what it’s like to walk through the church hallways feeling so embarrassed and ashamed. (Is this what single mothers and alcoholics feel? Judged or ashamed? Now, I wish I could hold a large neon sign, saying, “You BELONG here. It doesn’t matter what you went through or are going through. WELCOME!”)

As I come up on the one-year anniversary of a month I’d really love to forget – I am processing. Because I’m normal. Because I’m not a robot. And because God fashioned me with a very sensitive, soft heart.

Sometimes I wish Will Smith would show up in his black suit and use the memory erasing device to take all the memories from last August. (I can’t be the only one that wishes that little gadget was real, right?) Because, right now those feelings are still so fresh. And maybe they’ll always be fresh – categorized away so as not to interfere with the blessings I possess now. But accessible – so that I can help those who are hurting so.

Today, I could harbor a frown and think, “look at all the horrible pain I went through.” But instead, today I host a HUGE smile – because look at all that God took me through! A year ago, I looked into the mirror in the guest room of my brother’s house on my 25th birthday. I was just a shell of the person I am today. I knew I was a mess. But, I remember staring back at my reflection, and with child-like faith said,
“God will you make me all better by my next birthday?”

I know I’ve said this before – but what I thought was the end of my story, was only the title and cover page. This year marks Chapter One. And one day, when I step into eternity – the greatest story will begin.