July 1968 * 6 days old Kodiak, Alaska
I’ve shared this picture before here but it seems so fitting for what’s on my mind today…so what the heck…I’m using it again. It’s the only picture I have of me as a baby. I was the fourth of four so of course there aren’t very many pictures. By the time a fourth comes along, and a third girl to boot, nobody cared about the new baby anymore. There aren’t many pictures. It’s been a family joke that the two oldest have thousands of baby pictures, girl and boy, my other sister and myself; not so much. Too funny.
I’ve really been think a lot lately because of my circumstances; the fact that I’m moving back to Idaho and that I’m basically living with a person who ignores me…all I do these days is go for walks and think too much. Typically thinking too much is a terrible thing for me but I’m different now, somehow. The Lord has truly changed me and I see my own value as a person and I do my best to embrace it and to not beat myself up over the actions of other people. I know that I am only in charge of one single soul…and that is mine, and others acting ugly towards me is not a sign of my ineptitude but rather their lack of understanding how to be compassionate or kind. It is what it is and if I had any power to control how others act this world would absolutely be more loving and beautiful than it is right now. I cherish peace. So I make my own. Me and the Lord, we do it together.
I mostly think about people when I’m over-thinking and I think about what makes people do the things they do or act the way they do. Usually I can understand and put myself in another’s shoes and empathize with them and even doing this I don’t always agree or disagree, but rather try to understand how a person came to be who they are. Sometimes I wonder if I do in fact have some sort of God-given gift for this because I do think it’s something that is innate in me and has been there since birth. The older I get the more I recognize situations in my life that I didn’t understand at the time but now have a lot more meaning. This is especially true of spiritual things in my life. I know that when I was a kid I always knew that someone was with me. We weren’t a particularly spiritual family but I did attend church with my friends and even as a child I knew that I loved Jesus, a lot. He was right up my alley back then and He still is today. I identify with Jesus quite a bit. I know that to some it sounds crazy, but He is more real to me than I am to my own self. I have never not cried when discussing his crucifixion. When I was a kid I could not even attempt to understand why anybody wanted Him harmed. I loved Him and I truly wanted to be like him lest without being crucified of course. Many times as a kid I imagined Him with me and I even talked to him and didn’t understand until later that what I was doing was actually praying. My entire life, even when I was not being a very good adult I’ve always had a very strong moral compass and I give all of the acknowledgement to Him. He taught me. I didn’t always listen, but He talked to me anyhow and He was there for me when I started to understand that being the person that I was being was not doing anyone any favors, especially myself. Slowly I changed and even today I slip up and do stuff that I’m ashamed to talk to Him about, but His love is constant and I love it so much that I truly try to do whatever I can to keep Him right there at my side being my conscience. I’ve always loved Him and in times I’ve felt that He has been the only one to love me back. He is everything to me and I’m glad that I can grasp that now and understand the glory of my life no matter how bitter it may seem at times.
That being said…I remember way back in my life. I truly do remember being 14 months old and I think I honestly remember just about every single day of my life since. I thought that everybody remembered life like this but I’ve only come across a handful of people that remember that far back. I’ve even read that scientifically nobody remembers anything before the age of five. I am here to say that it is not true. I remember the house my family lived in before we moved from New York to Florida and I was five when we moved. I can draw out the floor plans of that house and it is there that I have my very first memory of being alive and what I’ve been pondering in my days-long time period of silence and waiting to go back home. I’ve thought of that day millions of times in my life and that’s most likely why it has stayed so fresh all of these decades later; if it’s constantly there in your mind how could you possibly forget it? The same for every memory I think. I’ve always had loner tendencies and with that came my habit to over-think about anything that can be thought about and I believe this is why my memory of my childhood is still so fresh in my mind…simply because I’ve thought about every single thing so many darn times that I couldn’t forget no matter how much I wanted to. So I woke up and I knew that I’d been really sick. This is my very first memory and the one that every person in my family has confirmed took place when I was barely a year old.
I woke up on the couch and I remember that on the other side of the wall was the kitchen. The wall was a half-wall and when I woke up my mom was in the kitchen. It was just her and I and I came awake and somehow knew that she’d be pleased so I called her. My mom, bless her heart, she is nothing but goodness a million times over. She was such a loving and tender mom and I’m so fortunate to have been raised by her. She ran right into the living room and sat on the side of the couch. She was brushing the hair off of my forehead and although she didn’t say that she loved me very much I knew all of my life and still know that she did and does. She would put cold wet washcloths on my head anytime that I was sick and she did that on the day that I woke up. I really like that feeling and I still do it today to myself and my grandkids. It’s kind of “my thing” when anyone is sick and I even did it with patients in the hospital. So she did it then but it was my first experience with the washcloth and I remember that I liked it that she was there and she was just touching me so very sweetly. I went back to sleep and when I woke up later everyone was home except for my dad. My brother came and sat on the couch and said that he had a present for me. He gave me a little truck with zoo animals in yellow cages in the back. I’ve already related this part of the story many times here I think. It’s a good little memory to pull up when I want to remember my brother as a kid. He passed away when he was 41 in a car accident in California. We’d never been close due to the twelve year age difference between us and as adults we had dramatically different lifestyles so I’ve always enjoyed this tender memory of him. I have many crazy brother stories as well…the silly things that kids do to torture each other and such but by the time I was five years old he was basically gone and on his own so after that we don’t have a heck of a lot of memories together. I was 29 when he passed.
Today when I was thinking about this memory I went off in a different direction. Rick was talking about how people blame God sometimes when bad things happen and that he never blamed the Lord for the surgery that left him disabled. And my first thought and my reply was: ” that’s because you actually saw Him when you died and that wouldn’t have happened without surgery.” Rick actually did die during his surgery. The surgeons accidently cut through three arteries in his stomach and he bled out and died. Real death. He was dead and they patched him up and gave him many liters of blood and got his heart pumping again and eventually got around to doing the spine surgery that they were there for in the first place. They kept in a medically induced coma for months and considered amputating his leg but they performed a fasciatomy instead so he still has his leg but his spine is wrecked. During this time he had an experience with the Lord. It is his story to tell so I will not go into details here, but I believe every word that he says about that time and he asked Him if he could come back so he wouldn’t have to leave his sons. He was granted that request by the Lord and today I don’t understand why he’s not making a greater attempt at using his second chance to have a better relationship with his sons, but again that is not MY story, that’s his story of his life so I just think my over-thinking thoughts and move on. But his mention of the surgery today made me think about the time I was 14 months old and very sick…this time that I was suddenly aware of my life and that I was alive. Apparently in the days before my recollection of life I’d stopped breathing and an ambulance was called and I was resuscitated and kept in the hospital for a few days. My parents did not get us kids immunized until the school district forced them to do it for us to attend school. They weren’t like parents today who play by all of the government’s rules. My dad didn’t trust doctors and so all of us kids very seldom ever saw the inside of a medical establishment. So I wasn’t immunized and I contracted chickenpox, mumps and measles all at the same time. That’s what they tell me at least, I have no clue if that is what a doctor said or if they just decided on their own, but there I was sick as a dog and my fever spiked and I stopped breathing and turned blue and my dad tried unsuccessfully to perform CPR while my mom called an ambulance and suddenly I was waking up on a couch and my life started. Honestly. Sounds really bizarre I know…but I remember what I remember and happenings before that day were much talked about in the days after I awakened and started being a kid.
Today I started wondering if maybe there was more to it than that…what if there was something spiritual happening? I’m not even sure what it is that I’m wondering about, but if I died and I had an out-of-body experience with the Lord, like Rick did…maybe it changed me somehow. What if that is the reason why I’ve felt Jesus walking with me my entire life? What if that’s the reason why I was so drawn to Him in Sunday School with my friends? Isn’t it possible that I was drawn to Him because I really did know Him? What if I went back when I died? What if it wasn’t my time…which I think is pretty evident by now seeing how I’ve been alive forty plus years since and have had children and grandchildren since that day. But I mean in a much more spiritual way…I was with Jesus right before I woke up. This moment on the couch has always been to me “day one” of my life. It’s where my story begins, everything after is still in my head and gets pondered over and over again. Lots and lots of memories stored inside my head from that age on…and one of the more meaningful ones is my feeling that someone has been by my side since that day. I have absolutely talked about this ‘person’ to everyone that I’ve ever had deep discussions with. My daughters know about him and my mom knows…it hasn’t been a secret but nobody ever suggested who it was until my oldest daughter came to my house with a Bible in 2010. I was in the midst of an insomnia nightmare and literally thought that I was going to die for lack of sleep. My doctor was trying everything he could but my heart rate would not go down and my body would not rest and every time I closed my eyes I’d hear a loud slamming noise and wake up and it damn near killed me. No joke. It was a terrible terrible time for me. My daughter brought over her Bible and read it to me and something just opened up in my heart right there in my backyard and she told me that it was Jesus that had been with me all of that time. It actually makes me cry right now as I’m writing this because I’m so humiliated that He saw me doing some of the things that I’d done in my life up til that day. That day she said something that struck a chord with me and I started attending a community church to learn more and the more I learned the more I recognized the Lord and the more concrete it became to me that He had indeed been right there thru every single thing…all of it. He helped me raise my daughters. How else could a naïve sixteen year old have a child and everything turn out okay? I had two babies before I ever saw twenty years of life…yet somehow everything turned out great and they are such amazing women today that there is absolutely no way I could take any credit for that. That was Him.
Today I am convinced that something happened way back there in New York in 1969. He did something when I went back. He taught me and then He gently lay me upon that couch and promised to stay with me even when I was scared and I felt Him the whole time. I forgot His name or His face but I didn’t forget how His love felt and I loved it so much and just embraced it all of these years. My heart has always been very tender and sensitive. I have spent a lot of years hating myself for my inability to do to others the things that they’ve done to me. And don’t get me wrong, I have been very careless with others feelings in my life. I have caused much harm with other’s hearts intentionally and unintentionally. I had at least fifteen years of being wreckless with other’s hearts and today I deeply regret it and when I get in touch with people from my past to apologize my heart just soars when they accept my apology…and there are still some who have not forgiven me. I have made my amends though and I’ve asked the Lord to forgive me as well. It’s much easier for Him to forgive than it is for us and that is why I love Him so. I do my very best these days to be fair and honest and to treat others the way that the Lord has treated me. I’ve been a horrible person at times and I’ve turned my back on Him completely until His voice became so loud that I had no other choice than to change my behavior. I imagine Him there…screaming my name..Ada it’s me!! You can trust me!! It’s me, Jesus! Until I woke up and saw Him and wept and fell into His arms. I finally recognized Him and His attempts to save me from my own self. I’d become a product of my environment after he left me there on that couch. And His intention was for me to be something more than that. That’s why I didn’t stay there with Him as an innocent baby. He taught me His ways and left me there and the rest was up to me. Thank goodness I heard Him later…years later living in Idaho with my dogs.
My daughter helped me to see Him and to recognize Him and I will be forever grateful. Now I accept that He knows more than I do…hahahaha imagine that. And when I listen to Him he doesn’t remind me of every fault that I have or every bad behavior that has occurred in my life. He reminds me that for forty-nine years He has been there waiting patiently for me to be His child again. And today I feel like it all came together in my mind. That day in New York…that was a very special day. That was the day He and I made a beautiful plan for me to be soft and to care and to love and even if I never got any of it back…He’d be there for me. He is beautiful and His love means more to me than anything. I’ve ever experienced here in my life. He gave me such a beautiful little family and He trusted me with those two girls and even when I was scared and hating myself He was there picking up the pieces and holding them while I healed. Good grief I’m not even sure where all of this is coming from. I’m so grateful for this life. I’m so thankful that I finally woke up. Literally.
And those two beautiful little girls that He trusted me with. My gosh, what an absolute Honor. The greatest blessing I’ve ever been given and far greater than anything that I deserve. Those two little girls who are now women are doing their best to bring me home where I can feel loved again. I’m so torn up with gratitude and thankfulness. I sometimes wonder if it’s all worth it…all of my life…my messy heart and my need to try to rescue men and my failed attempts at creating a loving relationship with any male other than my dogs and God. My body hurts and I’m so lost and alone here in Alaska and I’ve put on a brave and smiley face and I’ve given it everything that I have. There is nothing left of me to give here. It’s been used up and I made zero impact on this man good or bad. I’ve felt so hopeless and I’ve been so focused on listening to the Lord and being who he’s calling me to be regardless of the circumstances and if I’m comfortable or happy or not. I’ve stayed so focused on just letting my heart be what it is…I’ve loved with every ounce of who I am. The same as I’ve done with these two girls the entire time they’ve been my children. The difference is that my two girls have been walking with Jesus as well. Crazy how that happens huh? And they love the way the He taught us back when I was wavering on the brink as a baby in New York. He taught us. Because I do believe there was a plan being formed and it was up to me to listen and to get us there and by the grace of God alone I’ve come to this place in my life where these two beautiful women are quite literally saving my life. Because of love. Because of the Lord’s love. And if that doesn’t move a soul then I don’t know what will. My life here in Alaska is done. I did my part. It is not up to me to make the best of Rick’s life now. That is completely up to him and I wish him the best. I wish him more than the best and even want his life to be more fantastic than he is even aiming for. I wish him well. I wish for him to open his eyes and his heart and to fully embrace what the Lord has to offer. It all comes back to us in the end. The love we give out…eventually it does come back. You may nor believe it or see it and it may seem like it’s taking forever, but trust me when I say that it will come back to you at the time when you need it most and it will heal you in ways that you didn’t even know that you needed healing. He has taught me very well. I am a child of God, the most High King. Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior