It was 2006, in the Spring, nearing summer. Since we are in Florida, there are no true seasonal changes in the climate. It was, however, a season of change in the heart.
My mom had been battling cancer for some time. It was lung cancer that had already metastasized to the liver. She was not doing well. I was working full time, two kids, and at the time a husband who was also not doing well and had just lost a leg to his uncontrolled diabetes, and, we were separated. To say it was a rough season was an understatement.
One day sitting at work I had been talking to my boss. As she left my office I turned up my radio so I could listen again. They were announcing a contest. The tenth caller won a trip. I didn't hear where to, or what was included, but I dialed anyway. On my very first try I was the tenth caller. I had won a trip for two to Chicago. My hometown! It included a private concert for other winners, a baseball game in a box with dinner and drinks, hotel and spending money. I was thrilled, and asked a friend from work.
I had been feeling unsettled for awhile. You see, back when I was 18 and just out of high school I found out I was pregnant. It was still a big deal back then, and I went and lived with my sister from my dad's first marriage for awhile. I had a baby girl, and had chosen adoptive parents for her. It was the toughest decision I had ever made. To this day I remember leaving that hospital. Brokenhearted and empty handed.
Years later her parents had contacted the agency, who reached out to me. During my daughter Ellie's teen years she struggled. A lot. With drugs, boys, and her identity as an adopted child. I was now married, but we wrote letters through the agency off an on. Our contact depended on her sobriety.
When I won the contest all I could think about was meeting Ellie. I reached out to the agency. Elllie was of age now, so they reached out to her. A few days later, for the first time ever, I heard my daughters voice when she called me. I have no idea how I held my composure as long as I did, but I hung up in awe and tears flowing down my cheeks. She had agreed to reach me, and I found out I had two grandsons. I would be meeting them in just a few weeks.
Just a week before my trip, my mom lost her battle with cancer. I had a tough decision to make, and after a lot of thought, I decided I needed to go on the trip. My family wasn't necessarily thrilled, but the memorial we were planning was not going to be able to happen until the weekend after my trip, I knew I had to do this.
The trip was amazing. The day we arrived we had a special concert that was loads of fun. It was great to be back in my home state and town. The next day was supposed to be the ball game, but I had plans to take the train to the suburbs and meet Ellie. Nervous is not near what I was feeling. I thought I would be ill. I arrived at the Hinsdale stop, and there she was. My beautiful baby girl, all grown up with a two year old and an infant. Like her momma, she had them young. She had a beautiful single flower for me, a sunflower. My favorite.
We walked a couple blocks to her house and she fed the kids while we talked and looked at pictures. It was surreal. She had the stuffed animal I had left with her at the hospital. After lunch we walked to the park and played with the boys. I remember throwing the ball to Lucas and thinking I cannot even believe I am here. After the park we went back to her house and I met her parents. Then it was time to head back to the city. We talked a lot that afternoon. I explained the why's of being too young, and she said she was always grateful that I gave her life and she was never angry. When we hugged she said I love you. I melted. I had a LONG walk getting off the train to our hotel. Along the way a homeless gentleman commented on my flower. I stopped and shared my story of meeting my daughter for the first time and that the flower was from her. He was so happy to have someone stop and share with him, to talk. He cried at my story. It was a moment I remember fondly of that trip.
The next day, unplanned, she came in to the city. We decided to go to the top of the Sear's Tower, once the tallest building in the world. She had never been! I was thrilled to do something with her she had not done before. It was a fun afternoon and dinner, and then another sad good bye.
When I got back we had my mom's memorial. It was a simple and nice service with a meal afterwards. At the meal, my mom's neighbor gave each of the grandchildren a Gideon's New Testament Bible. At the time I was very much against God. I didn't believe in Him, and, in fact, was following a Pagan, Wicca, Shaman view of the world. At the time MySpace was all the rage, and I had a huge following of my teaching and practices. I had even studied energy healing under a Wicca High Priestess. To say I was upset about the Bible gift was an understatement. How dare she!
Just a few days after mom's memorial I was talking to a Christian guy on my Myspace. We were chatting on MSN Messenger. (wow, I am old) Of the thousands of followers, he and his wife stood quietly by. Always kind. Always loving. Rather than preaching to me, he asked me questions about why I believed what I did. As the conversation went on, he asked if I had a Bible. I quickly responded with a no. Why on earth would I have that kind of thing? I was a bit angry. Then something brought those Bible's the neighbor had given to mind, and I went and got one.
It was through that tiny Gideon's Bible and over an internet connection that I turned to faith in Jesus Christ as my Savior. We talked most of the night. We found my first church online. We changed my MySpace account. Dave and his wife Kirsten became mentors me. And, as you can read in a post about Purposeful Crochet, they were the inspiration to my crochet and so much more.
Dave and Kirsten spent hours with me, reading with me, teaching me, helping to grow roots in my faith. I went to church, where I had wonderful mentors, and continued to grow.
That day, and that Bible from Martha were a turning point in my life. June 9, 2006 is my spiritual Birthday. One I remember every day.
It was a season of much change. But more change was still ahead.