The End

For a couple of months now, I’ve been thinking it is time to end Everyone Has A Story. I almost never write here anymore, and it has been very evident that I’m okay now. I’m over Chef. He texts me now and then, but it is never anything I welcome, and most of the time, I don’t answer. All of that time period is gone — Chef, Tion, Simon. Rob. Bandidos. I just don’t miss any of it. I’m happy in my new life now, and frankly, I remember when I  genuinely doubted that could be possible for me again after loving someone so much. 

Color me surprised!!

Everyone Has a Story was set up when my husband, Chef, tanked our marriage, and I’m not at all sorry I kept a sort of online diary of what that felt like. But truth be said, I’m too content with life these days to say much more about any of it. The pain now is but a faded memory.

I thought it would be fitting to write a summary of this entire website as a eulogy to my life with Chef as an ending to this website, and to say goodbye to some of my favorite followers. But, let’s face it. I was a chaotic mess, and when I read where my mind was on some of this stuff, even I have no clue.

So, I plan to keep it up, because I still get emails from sad people going through exactly the same thing I went through all the time I was losing Chef. My insanity might make them feel a little less alone and nuts. There’s nothing like feeling  a little whacko to really spice up the flavor of losing everything and everyone you love. Right?

These days the truth is, this story in my life is over. I’m happy. I’m blessed. I’m ready for the next chapter. And this chapter is, somewhat tragically, over. I’ve moved on. It happens.

So here it is. The last post for EHAS.

We all lead complicated lives. For me, I was a statistic regular. I was an abused child who learned too early that people, mainly men, couldn’t be trusted. Despite that, I ended up married to man that I truly loved for over 20 years. It took me literally a decade to relax into my own marriage, but once I had, I was invested and dedicated. I loved Chef, and to this day, I feel that he loved me.

Chef decided one day to join the Bandidos Motorcycle Club. I’m not going to lie here. I was interested in this turn as events as well, since studying human behavior is truly one of my favorite interests. We made some deep friendships, and lived in this culture for a decade. Then one day, everything came crashing down.

My Chef developed an addiction to meth. He had travelled to a funeral for a fallen “brother”, and somewhere along the way, he had used this drug to stay awake.

How typical is it that some of our worst decisions end up being decided so

But it looked like so much fun!!! Trust me. It isn’t.

recklessly? Chef had struggled with drugs before he had ever met me, but unfortunately for all of us, I did not know that. And sadly, even if I had, it wouldn’t have made any difference. Addiction is one of those roads we all travel alone.

Meth leads to a lack of foresight into future consequences, and Chef blew up our marriage. He is guilty of physical and mental abuse, lying, and infidelity. It all was too much, and without warning, I was left with no choice but to abandon him.

People will often say that what I did was abandoning a man who was sick, or that if I was really a servant of Jesus, I would have stuck through all of the pain and misery. Truly, there was time I would have agreed. But I learned within a couple of years of torture and devastation, God wasn’t interested in the plight of my marriage – He was rescuing me from something. We all say in our marriage vows, ” What God has united, let no man pull asunder” but we forget, what God doesn’t want united, that will be torn apart.

God knows me. He knows that reality can be a bit harsh for me, and I have been guilty of trying to mitigate it with alcohol and drugs myself. While I have always been able to turn back to God and cry out in my guilt and humiliation for being so weak, others, like my ex, have not. I believe with my whole heart, I’m not a drug addict or an alcoholic because God decided that isn’t the road He had planned for me. Instead, He showed me what this journey must look like, and feel like, so I would never judge other people who got caught up in this harshly. I believe, He ended my marriage with Chef almost the minute my youngest child, Bug, left home because His plan for me was something different than His plan for my ex. He loved me enough to not sentence me to a miserable life of drugs, which is the life my ex, Chef, had chosen.

It is a sad fact that most Americans will experience a divorce, and even sadder, most of us will experience a devastating loss due to someone we love becoming addicted to drugs. I’m not special in this, and that is truly sad.

But one thing I’ve learned from this experience is that we can heal from it, even those of us so heartbreakingly wrecked. Life is a beautiful thing, and even those events that seem so awful and so permanent are truly valuable to our ability to appreciate what this world had to offer. It is only those of us with tragedy, disappointment, and grief in our eyes that understand what the price of a seasoned soul looks like, and comprehend how very valuable a lesson that really is. I just wouldn’t change a thing about my life, even if I could.

I want to say thank you to all of you for being my sounding board through this so very common sort of heartbreak. I want to encourage you all to take a page from my own lesson book and realize, this too shall pass. You are the only one who can decide whether you emerge from this hell better, or worse, and I hope for all of your sake, it is the former.

EHAS was so therapeutic, cathartic, and frankly fun, and I know, there are going to be times, I’m going to be sad I said good-bye. But it is time.

Good-Bye!!

~Bird

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What We Look For in a God

Jake and Suzie-1-4In 2005, I was involved in a terrible motorcycle accident. For a month or so, I hung in the balance between life and death, my punctured lungs succumbing to pneumonia and ARDS, in and out of comas, every rib broken, liver pierced, heart bruised, and on and on. No one was convinced I would live, or could live.

But I did. God was clearly involved in my survival, and several months after entering the hospital dying, I walked out alive.

When I returned to my life, though, I found rising deep inside of me a

Dj, Caitie-Bug, and Rebekkah
Dj, Caitie-Bug, and Rebekkah

genuine anger. Yes, my body had begun to mend, but I hurt badly all over, my ex-husband had not paid any of our bills for months or taken very good care of our kids, and I found myself weak and overwhelmed with the task of putting all of our lives back on track.

Up until that point in my life, I had been careful to direct any anger about things in my life anywhere but in God’s direction. And there was a lot of anger to direct. I left my childhood home and family enraged, and my first few years of adulthood, while on the surface seemingly normal and calm, concealed beneath a churning ocean of anger, disappointment, betrayal, and sadness.

My mother and me...
My mother and me…

I believe that we have a better ability to ignore the wounds of our childhoods when we are young and strong, both in body and in mind. But after my motorcycle accident, with my mind still reeling from the shock of what had happened to me and my body still groaning beneath the pain, I found that I was unable to ignore certain emotions that were threatening to swamp me, and frankly, my dark thoughts were frightening me.

Chef has always been super popular with people who knew him. Me, notBandido Chef so much. It isn’t that people didn’t like me. It was just that I don’t collect large numbers of people to invite them into my life on an intimate level. I have always been careful about who I consider a friend, and I’m too introspective to have much energy left over to give acquaintances. And whenever I don’t feel well, or I’m sad, or stressed, or whatever else, I tend to withdraw and isolate a bit. I can’t manage social niceties while dealing with whatever it is I’m dealing with. It just isn’t how I function.

broken windowsSo, you can imagine how much I enjoyed parades of biker clubs coming to visit me in the hospital, along with the other supporting cast of Chef’s life. Plus, he went on television and spoke about motorcycle safety laws and held a rally in honor of those of us who had been hurt in this accident. I have memory after memory of waking up in a fuzzy state with faces looking down at me in pity.

When I got home, my three teenagers were pissed off too. Chef had Don and the kids 001farmed them all out to different biker households, and as is our family tradition, it would seem, they had all started smoking weed to cope. For 3 months, they basically did whatever they wanted to do, smoked a bunch of crap, and had to wait patiently to see if their mother was going to die.

So, yeah. I came home pissed at the world. Chef has never been a Christian much more than in words, but I had tried hard to make him understand why I was upset. It did no good to accuse him of anything. He thought his wife was going to die, and who knows how well or how badly we will handle that kind of stress until we have to? I couldn’t really direct my anger at the person who caused the accident either, because he’d been a fifteen year old kid, the same age as my own son, and with about the same maturity level.

When it was all stripped away, it came down to me and God. And for a person like me, that is a very scary place to find oneself. It could not be ignored anymore. I was upset with God.

Chef reached out to the most religious person he knew, hoping to find godsome help for me. I don’t remember exactly how he knew him. He wasn’t part of our biker community, but I don’t think they worked together either. But this man had purchased a prayer cloth from a television evangelist who had prayed over it and sent it to him for me.

Yep.

(Clearly, my ex never understood me much, even after twenty years.)

I was touched by the kindness of this man, but disgusted by television load of crappreachers who peddle in this nonsense. I accepted it politely, pressed it into a scrapbook, and plunged into the unhappy ocean of being disappointed in God. So, of course, Chef invited this man to come council me a few months after I went home.

c-s-lewis-quoteI listened for hours as this well-meaning man gave me all the reasons why I shouldn’t feel the way I was feeling. What really stood out among his various mis-teachings was his belief that we were on the same footing as Jesus Christ, demi-gods, if you will. He lectured me in the Word of Faith doctrine that has been corrupting our churches for decades now, and he sought to build me up with promises that if I could summon up enough faith, God would have no choice but to give me anything my heart desired.

As he was talking, the Holy Spirit seemed to wake up inside of me. I was polite to him, all the while disputing his beliefs. And finally, it came down to this — “Why do you believe what you believe, and what in you makes you want to believe what you hear?”

What are you looking for in a god?

It is a sad reality these days that people believe what they hear others tell them, but put little or no effort into finding out the truth about the Lord by looking for themselves. Even worse, they lack the self-awareness needed to understand why they are looking for certain versions of God.

When the man left, and for the first time since the accident, I went to my bible and started looking for the truth. The real truth.

It took no time for me to find it. I was angry at God for so much about this 18c6326b9228e34bc10dca933c81b7e4accident. Forget the physical pain. I’m no wimp. I can handle pain with the best of them. It wasn’t the myriads of visitors being directed into my hospital room by a husband who should have known by now how I hated people around when I don’t feel well, or the sudden drug problem by not one, but all three, of my strong-willed, not-easily-managed-on-their-best-days teenagers, or the stacks and stacks of threatening bill collection letters. No. It went further than that. Deeper.

I won’t go into the harsher depths of my crisis of faith back then. This is already a really long post. But I will tell you His simple answer:

“One of you will say to me: ‘Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?’ But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?”

Romans 9:19-21

I know it sounds like an odd, not very comforting answer, considering how rough the times I was going through were. But for me, it was the perfect answer. It spoke to a truth in me.

how-to-wait-upon-the-lord-for-your-breakthrough-3-638I’m not one to want to be enslaved to a weak authority. If I am going to place all my hope in a god, I want it to be a real one, with power and godlike qualities. I want to be able to ask my god, why? But I want to be fearful of him as well. I don’t want to serve an ATM in the sky, or find special mantras that will force a deity to succumb to my infantile authority. I don’t want to imagine my god wringing his hands in worry over anything I think about what he says or what he does.

I want the God who predestined His own Son’s death at the beginning of cropped-sad-girl1.pngthe world. I want the God who shuts up the sea behind doors, who gives orders to the morning, who has seen for himself the gates of the shadow of death. I happily give over my life and all that it will ever mean to a god who is really a God. I want a worthy God to strive for a life that is worthy of Him.

Here I am, years later. All those terrible problems have resolved themselves in one way or another. But the most valuable treasure I took from the experience is the knowledge that my God will do as He pleases with what belongs to Him. For me, there is a trust that comes from understanding the God I serve is powerful, and He doesn’t serve me.

who_do_you_serve.jpgI’m saved by His mercy and by His grace, which He has freely given me without a single iota of it being commissioned by me at all. And because of this, I can trust that He doesn’t need mantras, or powerful pieces of cloth purchased from holy men, or some twisted exercises designed to summon up immeasurable things like faith. He doesn’t need anything from me at all, and because of this, I both fear Him, as well as respect Him.

~ Bird