On a cold January evening, I traveled with a heart full of faith and heaviness. Curving around the mountains, I thought of all the twists and turns in my life that brought me to this point. The blackness of the road stretched out ahead, then disappeared into the unknown. Just as the sun began to set, darkness tore at the sky above. Crimson seeped from the wound, signifying the death of another day.
What lay in Phoenix for me? Will I like it there? Why did he not love me? All seemed lost as I wandered into the wilderness.
Pulling into the modest duplex, my heart sank. This was now home. “I don’t want to be here. I want to go home!” I cried to God. “Oh, please don’t leave me here.” There weren’t enough tears to vanish the horrible place. I missed my beautiful home.
Slowly approaching the dark, hollow shell, I began moving in my air mattress and bedding material. Alone I lay in the living room as heat began filling the rooms. My thoughts were interrupted as the sound of the walls creaked and popped with the temperature change. I lay still, afraid of the dark, afraid of the sounds that kept waking me up, afraid of the neighborhood around me. Afraid of my new journey.
Then the fight broke out as my neighbors next to me came home. Oh, this is going to be so much fun living here, I thought, as the door slammed and my common wall and front windows shook. The sound of the angry engine tore the silence of the neighborhood. Tires squealed, then all was peaceful. The angry engine filled the night again about a half hour later and more fighting broke out. Within an hour, all was quiet, and I fell asleep.
Unfortunately, I woke up. Sterile walls gleamed as dawn’s first light peeked through half-closed blinds. If it weren’t so tragic that I had to live in a place I didn’t like, it could have been considered a beautiful day. But I felt nothing would make the coming days beautiful.
When the movers came, they asked if all my furniture would fit. Miraculously, I achieved making a mansion out of a thimble. Later that afternoon as I placed my personal items into their appropriate home, God simply held me.
My old carpet was a collage of broken glass and food stains. I surmised Steve took his anger out on my carpet for leaving him in the place we didn’t want a part of anymore. I had nothing else between me and the cold tile and decided I’d have to work on getting it clean. It didn’t come clean. I remembered a Home Depot not too far from my home. I needed to get out of the mess and get away from my new roommate, Self-Pity.
Home Depot was having one of their rug events. Finding a rug, I paid and pulled up to the entrance of the tent. The wind picked up, and I heard a loud crash as my car shifted. With great confusion I looked around and saw nothing out of the ordinary until I got out of the car. The wooden advertising sign hit the passenger door and dented it. The attendant of the tent came rushing to my side to see if I was okay.
“My car,” I squeaked. “Look at my car.”
“It’s okay,” replied the Middle Eastern voice. “You okay. It not hit you. That is good thing.”
Oh, how I longed to tell him I wish it had hit me. So far, my first two days in Phoenix were unwelcoming. Maybe this was a sign I made a mistake. Looking into his eyes, I saw the genuine empathy he had for my situation and simply cried out my frustration. “I just got divorced and moved here. I can’t deal with this.”
“It’s okay. I go get manager of store.” With that he disappeared and soon emerged with the manager who took down my information and reassured me that they would be taking care of the damages.
The paperwork completed and the rug loaded into my car, I cried all the way home. The exterior of my car now matched the interior of my heart and soul. It seemed only fitting.
Welcome to Phoenix.
Steve came the following day with my two precious dogs, Jasmine and Baby. He set up the entertainment center, arranged for the new washer and dryer, and even took me out to dinner. The next day, he left. Trembling, I sat on the couch as the engine of his car faded. Feeling the comforting presence of Jesus’ hand upon my back, I knew He was with me sharing my pain. My tears were His tears. It did not quell my pain.
The following weekend I lay in bed trying to sleep when a loud crash jolted me out of bed. Lights off, I peered out my kitchen window wondering if someone was vandalizing my car. I saw emergency lights across the street. Someone had been racing down the side street, apparently not realizing it dead-ended into the apartment complex, and wrapped the car around the fire hydrant that was now spraying water. Wonderful neighborhood.
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