Updated: Dec 13, 2020
Y'all might wanna sit down for this one.
So...I'm not the best Christian. Like, I'm going to heaven but I'm not really sure how pleased God is gonna be when I get there. I imagine I get to the pearly gates and god is like, "YO!, BoomBoom...how's about you come and sit your ass right by me so I can keep my eye on you", sort of shit. Yes, in my heaven, God talks like a thug on the corner, he's my people; Jesus is my homie. I've Hunter S Thompson'd my way through life so...there's bound to be some kind of cosmic slap on the wrist when I get up there.
But, in order for you to understand where I'm at...you have to first understand how I got here.
I grew up in church. Literally every time the doors were open, I was there. I went to a tiny church with less than 50 people in my congregation. I was active in my youth group, I went to church camp every summer until I was 15, then led vacation bible school my junior and senior year of high school. I also went to a Christian school. I went to church 4 times a week: Wednesday chapel at school, Wednesday night fellowship service/dinner and Sunday morning and night. If the doors were open, we were there. Period.
After a lifetime of shit circumstances and keeping the faith that my mother instilled in me, the straw that broke the camel's back? January 21, 2004, the day I buried my children. I had my last conversation with God that day and I’m just gonna say, we didn’t leave it on good terms.
Just 3 days before, as I laid on a stretcher bleeding out from what can only be described as a “traumatic” delivery, I died. For a total of 8 mins I was gone from this world. And, well, here’s where you might wanna sit—I know what happens after you die.
I watched my ex husband beg me to come back, that he couldn’t do it without me, that Kazidy needed me. I watched my mother scream at my doctor to save me. I heard the long constant beep of the heart monitor telling everyone in the room that I was gone. I watched them do CPR.
I didn’t hear harps or see angels. There were no pearly gates. No booming voice or loved ones calling me to join them. Just light. Warm, inviting light that filled me with peace; and even though I didn’t know what that feeling was at the time, true love.
It's a weird thing to know god exists in and of itself, but waking up and being told your children have died AFTER experiencing death and subsequently "heaven", I didn’t care if he existed or not. Actually, I'll take it one step further and say...I didn't give one fuck. You allow me to die, make my family grieve, fill me with overwhelming peace, then send me back only to find out you've taken my kids from me? Yeah...that's a big fuckin no; me and him were done.
I can hold a grudge, so me and God...we took a 17yr break. A break, that for me, was filled with hate, anger, emotional turmoil, the lowest of the lows and some pretty fucking horrible decision making on my part-- I hated him, and I set out to prove just how much I didn't need him or his bullshit. The only thing I ended up doing was hating myself for what I'd become.
About 2 weeks ago, Chris and I went to Lansing to get out of the house. We rented bikes and rode along the river; we had lunch, ate ice cream and rummaged through a vintage book store--it was the perfect day. We were laying in bed that night, looking through all of the pictures we took and I started crying. Chris asked me what was wrong and I told him I didn't know. He said "are you happy" and no sooner did the words leave his mouth than a rush of warmth washed over me. I had felt that feeling before exactly once, the day I died. It was love, true love. Now, because I've spent the last nearly two decades hating myself and feeling the worst kind of unloveable...I started to have a panic attack at the thought of loving him like that--love equals pain in my book. Chris tried to calm me down but in that moment, the only thing I could think to do was pray. I asked Chris to leave the room and began desperately crying, begging for God to help me and to tell me what to do...because I couldn't live the way I'd been living anymore.
God, it's me, Dana (you can laugh). I don't know what's going on and I don't know what to do, but please fucking help me. I’m literally fucking begging. Just tell me what to do!
And then, from the darkest corner of my heart where "baby Dana" lives, the part that has been hurting my entire life, the part that has always needed to be protected from someone or something, I received an answer:
I sent you Chris for a reason. Love him...he can heal your heart if you let him.
My panic attack instantly stopped. Like, instantly. Now, although I grew up in church and believe...I'm still a fuckin science person. I still need the answers. I want the explanation. But with this, I can't...I went from the edge of total internal destruction--sweating, crying, heart racing, THOUGHT I WAS GONNA DIE...to as calm as I am on a beach in Mexico with a margarita in my hand--like a fucking light switch got flipped.
There is no explanation other than to say it was "divine".
The only thing I had in my head was to hug Chris--or rather, let him hug me. I'm not a hugger, not even with a partner. For one, I have my personal bubble and, unless it's sexy time, I don't want anybody in said bubble--even before Covid I was an advocate for the six foot rule. And two, I'm sciencey enough to know how healing a hug can be on a physiological/chemical/emotional level. Nope, don't have time for emotions. Stay away! But right that second, that's the only thing I could do. Not even could, I needed to hug him. I called him back to the room and fell into his arms. It was the longest hug of my life. It was the first real hug I've ever had. I cried and asked him to help me. Help me heal. Help me love. Help me help myself. I don't ask for help (EVER) and I did it twice in 10mins.
So that's where I am, trying to allow myself to love the person that loves me so much he's dealt with me running from him for 2 years! I let all the bullshit go and for the first time, literally ever, I listened to my heart...not the bitch that's been protecting me all of these years. Forty years of bullshit can't change overnight, and I'll always be a shitshow...but I'm trying to learn it's ok to let him love me. And, that I'm worth more than what I've been told my entire life. I'm enough as I am, God still loves me and just when I needed him, he grabbed my hand and pulled me back into the fold.
Love and light and all that shit,