What to do on January 1st?
There are lots of things people try to do on January 1st. Some will bungee jump for the first time. Some will go on a diet. Some will start working out. It’s a new year time for new beginnings!
I would like to tell you what I did on January 1st 1993. I made decision on that day. A decision to die.
Let me start this by saying that I was 19. And the previous 7 years were the worst of my 19 years. I grew up on an 80 acre horse farm, in the second poorest county in the state of Indiana. My dad was a thoroughbred horse trainer and a dock worker at a trucking company. My mom was a real estate agent. They both worked hard. I was the youngest of four girls. By the time I was eight my siblings were all out of the house. I worked hard on the farm. Feeding horses, chickens, dogs, and cows. Broke ice with an ax on cold winter Indiana mornings so the animals could drink. Helped stack wood for the wood burning stove.
When I was 12 my mom was diagnosed with lung and liver cancer. I became her primary care giver. Everything changed.
I was so lost, so alone, so afraid.
Neither one of my parents were church going people. My dad could cuss like a sailor. My mom was a heavy smoker. I loved the horses and idolized my folks. Tried every day to please them. I knew I was loved by them, but I wanted more than that.
I felt an emptiness, a void. I started drinking when I was 13. I started cutting when I was 14. I dated trying to find love in boys. Trying to fill the void, the empty hurt. During this time my mom started going to church. I went with her occasionally.
But with each year my mom grew weaker, the cancer grew stronger. I blamed this God that she seemed to find solace in.
In April of 1991 my mom went to the hospital for the last time. I was 17, on May 20, 1991 when my mom who I had taken care of since I was 12 died. I felt like I had failed her. I ran harder. I drank more. I hurt.
I found a fella who had emotionally scars like me. Who had been hurt. Who didn’t trust easily. Who was looking for relief. We fit each other well.
His family was stable. They worked hard. They ate Sunday dinner together every week. They went to church. They asked me to come. I politely declined. My fella and I would come into that kitchen for Sunday dinner reeking of alcohol. They never said a word. They smiled and laughed and talked.
I wanted what they had. I asked one time, “What keeps you all so happy?” “God.” one of them said. The same God who let my mother suffer and be taken from me? Yea no thanks!
They were patient with me. I needed that. I asked my fella if he would go with me to his family’s church one Sunday. Sure he said. We went. I started wondering what running from God had gotten me.
I was tired of running, tired of hurting, tired of trying to be in control.
On January 1, 1993 it was raining and cold. I was done. I’d had enough. I wanted out. I went to my mom’s grave. I knelt down in the cold wet grass.
I cried, and then I died.
I decided that day to die to self.
I prayed. I said, “God I can’t keep running, I can’t keep hiding from you. If you want my life take it. I am not in control anymore. Help me.”
So that’s my suggestion for what to do on January 1st of this coming year. Dieing has given me a reason to live. That’s been 20 years ago. It was the best decision I ever made. I’ve still had hard things, horrible things happen, but now I run to God not away. As Paul once said, “I die daily.”