Of all the people who have populated my life, my dad is probably the one who has logged in the most prayers on my behalf. Even today, in the middle of my all-grown-up-ness, he prays for me. For my kids. For illnesses and meetings and soccer games and preschool lessons.
I have no empirical proof, but I'm quietly convinced that my survival thus far is due in no small part to the prayers of my father. Especially during my teen years.
See, there was this boy. Let's call him James, not so much to protect his identity as to keep me from having to type his actual name repeatedly. So his fake name is James and I was twelve and there was this boy.
I met him because Christy thought he was cute. Our eighth grade symphonic band was performing in the gym of another school, and he was a freshman usher in a pink shirt, standing just inside the back door.
It's a long-established corollary that junior high girls travel in packs, and we weren't about to uproot the tradition. So. All twelve of us accompanied Christy out the back door (past cute boy) to gather on the lawn in a cluster of whispers and giggles. I'm certain we were sufficiently annoying.
But an interesting thing happened as we single-filed-it past Mr. Pink Shirt. I glanced up just as I walked by, to find him watching me. He smiled.
And so it began.
We dated off and on (and off and on and off and then on again) until I was seventeen and nearing the end of my senior year.
I'm struggling for words here.
What can I tell you about James? He was fiercely in love with me. He was wonderful. But he was also chased by metaphorical demons, plagued with fears so ravenous. And when he was terrified, which he often was, he turned dangerous.
Sometimes I wondered how it was possible to be so hollowed out, not a trace of me left, but still writhe in the onslaught of fresh pain. My soul was raw; scraped through, beaten numb, stretched so thin I should have disappeared altogether.
Yet I survived.
And I have to credit that to someone else, to Someone Else. To the people who petitioned on my behalf, and to the God who answered.
Foremost among the petitioners, I believe, was my father. I was in no position to think, let alone be logical. I was in no shape to stand up for myself, to want to live. So he did it for me.
I fully believe that when the choice was die or not die, I pulled the not die card every time because he did it for me.
James would tell you that I left him. He's mistaken. I didn't have it in me to leave. God life-flighted me out of my personal Death Valley until I could breathe again and hope enough and regain the sanity to choose to live.
It was my very own modern day miracle, born out of a prayer campaign spearheaded by my father.
Thanks, Dad. I certainly do owe you.
When Christmas Stretches You
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