This is a part of my story that was published in "Chicken Soup for the Recovering Soul" 2004. It is one chapter of the autobiography I am working on. The story is of an event that occurred in my life in 1988 (twenty four years ago) and still impacts me greatly today as I ponder the things that might have been said during this interaction. I have absolutely no remembrance of the words that were spoken that night but the feeling, energy, and emotion associated with that time are not only of hope, expectation, and renewal... but a great sense of anticipation that I have been left here for a specific purpose and an exact time- that there is something very specific that I've yet to accomplish. The feeling? That it's not only pertinent to my life but also to the life's of others. Many occurrences in my life have me believing this: stalking and standing over the eagle in the wild (something that is NOT humanly possible but by the Grace of God and prayer...I did it); the dates in my bibles; and the many mysterious, and sometimes magical events supernaturally and spiritually that I have been graced to be a part of- the things that I hear, the things that I feel, and the things that I see. Since this time, continuously I examine my life and the tremendous changes and challenges that I have been through. I'm thankful now more than ever for every heart-ache, brokenness, grief, sorrow, and pain; also, to every beautiful song, I've learned to dance in my victories.
Hebrews 13: 1,2. (King James)
LET brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
The Mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.
John Milton, Paradise Lost
Dinner was at a local Greek restaurant to be followed by dancing at one of Chilliwack's more popular nightclubs. It was a time filled with great food, laughter, teasing and recollections of the school week. Fully satisfied, some would leave for home while the rest of us made our way to the club. Bright, colorful lights flashed and strobes pierced the semi-dark room filled with people having a good time listening to a good cover of "Twilight Zone," a song originally done by Golden Earring. The music was loud and the party was just beginning. My hands helplessly reached for the concoction capable of turning man to animal.
Looking to my girlfriend, I asked jokingly, "Hey, baby! Do you mind if I get drunk tonight?" Knowing that we lived just a couple of blocks from the club Phyllis replied, laughing, "Sure. Why not! I don't have too far to carry you home!" Over the music I shouted, "Right on! You're my kind of girl." The night of drinking, laughter and dancing would take its toll. As if I didn't have enough to drink, or wasn't drunk enough already, I always had to finish with a zombie or two, a very potent drink of various types of alcohol and a bit of mix. My laughter was now diminishing and the apparent heaviness of my heart was showing on my face.
"Are you okay?" Phyllis asked.
Looking like the zombie I had just drank, I replied, "Yeah. I'm fine. And you?" Rubbing my thigh lightly as she always had, Phyllis said, "It's okay. Everything will be alright." Her eyes looked right into mine as if she could see right through me, reading my mind, seeing my soul. Feeling her love and knowing that I couldn't hide anything from her, tears began to fill my eyes.
"Had enough to drink? Want to go home?" she asked. Hesitantly I answered, motivated by the thoughts of the damage I'd now begun to do in my drunkenness, not feeling too safe inside myself, "Sure. Let's go home."
I awoke in the morning, sad, sick, sorry and extremely hungover, awaking again to the words that I dreaded hearing after a good night's drunk.
"You're not going to like yourself very much when you see what you've done." Silence filled the air. I was too ashamed to even look at Phyllis for those words only meant one thing. Defeated, I slowly made my way to the living room, hoping in these few minutes the damage I'd done would somehow miraculously repair itself. "Oh my God! I did this?"
Phyllis scared and very concerned asked, "You don't remember?"
Fear gripped me as I envisioned the fury it must have taken to reap such destruction. "No. Why? Why did I do this?"
"We had just left Huggies. You were quite drunk and I wanted to get you home. You stopped in the parking lot across the way. I looked at you. Your eyes and your face were as if you had become a different person. I asked if you were okay. You said yes. I told you to keep on walking- were were almost home."
"Not moving you started asking, 'Why?' I asked what you were talking about, 'Why?' what? You didn't answer, you just stared. You started hollering, your fists were clenched and you ran angrily toward the house. You kicked in the door. By now you were cursing. 'Why!'"
Fearfully I asked, "Where were the kids when all this was happening?"
"I found a note on the table, they spent the night at a friend's place. There was no one home but you and me," She explained.
Not really wanting to know, I asked, "What happened next?"
"You began smashing everything, punching and kicking the walls, that's where all the holes are from. Walking over to the fireplace you knocked everything onto the floor. You flipped the couches and the armchair as if they were paper weights, smashing the coffee table, and throwing the other table around. You walked over to your weights and picked up your barbell and began repeatedly slamming it to the floor hollering and cursing."
"And where were you while this was happening?"
Phyllis replied, "Right here, next to you."
In utter dismay at the vast devastation, I asked, "Weren't you afraid?"
"No. I began to pray. You made your way into the dining room, crying, still asking 'Why?' I just watched you. I wasn't afraid."
The tone of her voice changed as she said, "I really need to talk to you about something."
My spirit, already crushed, braced itself for the worst.
"After doing all the damage, do you remember anything at all?" she asked.
Puzzled, I answered, "Nothing. Why?"
Silently she stared at me, and then continued. "From where I was sitting you were in full view- you didn't enter the kitchen, you stood in front of the doorway." Pausing again, she looked at me questionably. "You began to talk to someone..."
Quickly I interrupted her. "You said we were alone."
"Yes. That's true, but as I watched you were motioning with your hands, very clearly talking to someone. I couldn't understand what you were saying but I could hear you as clear as I hear you now. You spoke with this person, or what ever it was, for about ten minutes. Do you remember who, or what it was, and what it is that you talked about?"
Even more perplexed I replied, "No. Are you sure this is what really happened?"
Assertively she retorted, "Come on now. You know me. Would I make something up like this or lie to you?"
Phyllis was a woman of many years of sobriety, a woman of integrity. She'd never play such a cruel trick on me. She continued, "Whatever you two talked about, it must have been something good. Afterward you changed completely. You turned to me with an incredible look of peace back in your eyes and on your face."
"You walked toward me, and of all the damage you had done, the only thing that you picked up was the calendar with the picture of Jesus on it. You pinned it back onto the wall, then said, 'Let's go to bed sweetheart, I'm tired.'"
Powerful emotions stir as I recall that night years ago and think about the places from which I have come, worlds of seemingly unrecoverable loss and immense pain. Wondering how a hand of beauty, love and grace could reach into darkness so vile to rescue one such as I. Tears, no longer of rage and anger, roll down my face in thankfulness for the life I have now found. Sobriety; a life no longer dominated by drugs, alcohol, rage, pain. Five years, each new day bringing with it the promise of something better, this can only be so as the words he spoke still echo somewhere deeply in my soul.
Sincerely, and from my heart to yours: Godwin H. Barton.
Angel Warrior: Static.squidoo.com "Go for it! You are not alone!"