As a very young child living in Stedman, North Carolina, my mother woke me up one night, yelling at me to get out of my warm bed. It was in the middle of the night and she was particularly drunk. There was something acutely frightening about what was happening.
In my half-awake state I sat up and gave my drunken mother my attention. I didn’t know what was about to ensue but I could sense that it was something grave. Of course this was an over-developed sixth-sense that children acquire when living in such unspeakable and unpredictable situations. That invariable sense had clicked on my internal alarm button, which was always fully powered and lived along-side my beating heart.
My mother’s directions to me were clear. She instructed me to put on my best dress, go and sit on my father’s lap, tell him how much I loved him, and beg him to stop his drinking. Then I was to give him a kiss and tell my dad that if he didn’t stop, Mama would leave him for good!
The house had been a drunken, unruly and fearsome one for about a week. My father had stayed in my parents’ room, peeing in their closet and not cleaning himself for a week. The smell was making me feel sick. I found him with snot all over his white t-shirt and face.
Even as a small child I was repulsed by the site of him in this current state, and yet, I loved him too. To me, when I searched my father’s sad eyes, it was as if I was looking into my own. My father and I looked very much alike. It was my own reflection, looking back at me, only older. It was a face which held substantially more pain than my own heartbreaking sadness.
I sat in my depressed father’s lap in the bed in my beautiful little Sears and Roebuck dress and begged him to stop drinking. I also told him that if he didn’t stop, Mama was leaving. He had tears streaming down his face. I searched for a clean spot to kiss but one did not exist, so I kissed his snotty face and prayed this would work.
That night my mother loaded my siblings and I into the car and began driving down the unpaved road. I was sitting in the back seat and my older sister in the front seat next to my mother, where she always sat. Soon my mom accelerated and the car felt like it was flying we were going so fast! I noticed the speedometer was at 80, and I knew that was too fast.
Fear began enveloping me. I was not afraid to die but I did not want my family to perish in such a horrible way. Suddenly my mother got off the side of the road altogether and now, was headed straight for a telephone pole! When I screamed, my older sister grabbed the steering wheel and turned it as far to the left as her little hand would allow. I shut my eyes and waited for the sounds of crushing metal and screams perhaps, but those sounds did not come.
As I opened my eyes slowly, I noticed that we were at the beginning of my Aunt L’s driveway. We were safe. God had literally picked up the car and carried us all to safety where we were dropped off with a drunken promise by my mother to return later that night.
I couldn’t sleep that night and the sad thing was my life was so crazy that I didn’t even focus on the saving grace that the Lord my God had just bestowed upon my family. My Aunt L did her best to calm me, but my fear lingered in my heart.
When there were knocks on the door several hours later, I was peeking out of the guest bedroom of Aunt L’s house. I listened in and heard what the two police officers were saying to my Aunt.
The policemen told their story of what they thought must have taken place with my mother. They assumed she had gone straight home and slit her wrists in the bathroom so badly, that perhaps she realized she was dying. Then she had managed to crawl through the hallway, across the living room and into the kitchen where the phone was located. Somehow Mom had found the strength to stand up and dial the emergency number. They believed she must have fallen shortly after, pulling the long cord down with her. So they told my Aunt they were able to trace the call. When the police got to our home they had found my mom unconscious.
She was receiving blood transfusions at the hospital and I heard the police tell my Aunt L that my mother was almost dead when they found her and that it was a miracle that she was alive.
Sleep would have been a welcomed guest, but this was a night I could not rest. However, I was very grateful that my mother would live and grateful to be in a safe place.
God is so merciful and He is filled with so much love and compassion for us sinners. He wants so much for us to know and feel His love and understand that He will never leave us and would never forsake us.
Deuteronomy 31:8 ESV It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.
Joshua 1:9 ESV Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Protected under © TXu2-021-591 Rum and Robots Book One by Joni Caggiano