Love Showed Up: When Love Drives You Home

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I found myself, maybe not so unexpectedly, stretched out on a hospital bed in the emergency room of the local hospital. The night before was left littered with despair and confusion. As I looked up at the ceiling and felt the paper gown that wrapped my tired body, I wondered how I fell into this hole and how the hell I was going to get out.

There was a babysitter sitting in the corner. He was reading his book. I knew his sole purpose in this room was to watch my every move. The nurses and hospital staff had already taken everything I owned and tucked it safely away so that I would not be able to harm myself.

“Do you know why I am here?” he asked quietly.

In my defiance and anger I told him that I knew he was there because it was his job to babysit me. “I choose to be here, honey. You deserve to be safe. And so I am here. I am with you.” These words, words of love, were the beginning of hope peeking through.

~ ~ ~

Depression threatened to overrun me that night.

My faith was crumbling, my hope fading, and Love seemed to be sitting on his hands.

About three months before, I started questioning everything. I didn’t know why I believed what I said I believed or if it even mattered. Is Jesus who he says that he is? Did he really do what he said he did? And if he is and if he did, what does that mean for me, right now, in this moment?

And to add insult to injury my own body was betraying me. I was depressed. Depression seems to be the demon that continuously haunts me. For the three months leading up to this night I wanted out. It wasn’t necessarily that I wanted to die, I was just so tired of living. It was like I was standing on the top of a skyscraper, on the very edge, and I couldn’t step backwards off the ledge. I either had to stand there or jump. It’s not that I wanted to jump. I just was so tired of standing on that ledge.

~ ~ ~

The night before, the police showed up and I was put under close watch. Sleep was impossible. The dark hours seemed unending and the morning came reluctantly. With the arrival of dawn, I received an ultimatum: the back of a police car or the nearest emergency room. Seeing no other option, I chose the latter.

With heavy eyes and weary bones I asked the nurse to turn off the light. The curtain was pulled to shield my face from the sterile fluorescent lights in the hallway. The babysitter even decided to give me a few minutes to myself and settled in his chair right outside the doorway. After a few minutes I woke up to voices, a familiar voice, outside the door. A shadow appeared on the curtain and a hand pulled it gently back. The face I saw immediately shattered my defenses and the room, once drained of breath, was pumped full of oxygen.

On my way to the hospital I shot a text to the couple from my church that I live with. I didn’t know which hospital I was headed to but said I would contact them as soon as I was able. I told them not to worry. Lindsay was out of town but that did not stop Scott from searching me out. He searched until he was able to find me, tucked behind a babysitter and crisp hospital curtains.

“Hey, Ali. I am really glad you are safe.”

In that moment, I felt both immense shame and immense relief. It’s almost as if, because he could sense the shame, he spoke out against it. “You have done nothing wrong. You are not in trouble. You have nothing to be ashamed of.”

Warm blankets were brought in and Scott sat down. He didn’t pry. He didn’t push. He didn’t ask me open-ended questions. He knew I would never be able to answer them anyway. He assured me that Lindsay was thinking about me and praying for me. He assured me that I was not in trouble and there was no need for shame. When he did ask questions, he gave me options and I just had to pick. Picking was easy compared to conjuring up an answer on my own. “I am going to get you something to drink. Do you want coffee, tea, or water? When we leave, I am going to make you some lunch. Do you want this type of sandwich or that type of sandwich?” I didn’t have to come up with any answers. I simply had to choose.

After nine hours and a psychiatric evaluation that seemed to last forever, it was decided that I would be allowed to go home. Because the hospital had to release me into someone’s care, Scott talked with the nurses and made plans for my discharge. Clothes changed, belongings gathered, I began to prepare myself for the “walk of shame” out of the hospital. The shame I imagined was quickly extinguished after I realized I wasn’t walking alone.

~ ~ ~

Sometimes love searches you out.

Sometimes love shows up in your hospital room.

Sometimes love shows up with warm blankets.

Sometimes love shows up to remind you that you are loved,

that you are safe,

that you are wanted.

Sometimes love shows up and sometimes love drives you home.

934148_564066710800_1490501974_n copyAlison Luna, born and raised deep in the heart of Texas, is learning what it means to press in to the places that hurt in order to fight for joy. She loves her last name and finds promises written in the stars. You can find Alison wrestling with the idea of hope here and tweeting it out in real time at @luna1387.

  • http://www.brennadambrosio.com/ Brenna

    Love you.

    • aluna13

      b – i love you back. thank you for constantly believing in me.

  • http://ronnerock.com/ Ronne Rock

    “Sometimes love shows up to remind you that you are loved,

    that you are safe,

    that you are wanted.”

    This.

    You are greatly loved, Ali. You are greatly wanted. And you are safe…

    • aluna13

      Ronne – thank you for being a voice that reminds me of those things. I am so grateful for you in my life. Thanks for hanging out and watching the story unfold.

  • pastordt

    Beautifully done, Alison. I am sorry for the pain that pushed so hard, but deeply grateful for the wisdom and grace of true friends. You have told this hard, good story so very well. Thank you.

    • aluna13

      thank you for listening to my story.

  • http://dramaticelegance.blogspot.com/ rachel lee

    “sometimes love shows up…”

    that line right there. oh Alison, love, this post resonates so powerfully in my heart. you are never walking alone.

    • aluna13

      sometimes love does show up. and not at all the way we expect. thank you, rachel.

  • http://www.tanyamarlow.com/ Tanya Marlow

    I. Can’t even.
    I’m in a blubbery mess right now. Your words always do this to me, girl.
    SO much love for you. You are beautiful and this piece is just beyond beautiful. Wowsers.

    • aluna13

      tanya marlow. stop that crying. i love you very much. you encourage me beyond words. thank you for that. sending you lots of love. (said in my very british accent)

  • http://uphillanddown.wordpress.com Megan Whitmore

    My mom once threatened to call the police on me to keep me from hurting myself… I was so mad at her at the time, but now I am very thankful that she was there for me in one of my darkest hours.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

    • aluna13

      light shines in the darkness. and the darkness has not (and will not and can not) overcome it.

  • http://avanomaly.blogspot.com/ Jamie

    Beauty! I love this. Thank you for sharing. So much hope.

    • aluna13

      there it is, that blasted hope :)

      glad to walk with you, Jamie

  • http://www.bethanysuckrow.com/ Bethany Suckrow

    “I either had to stand there or jump. It’s not that I wanted to jump. I just was so tired of standing on that ledge.”

    You are a brave woman and a helluva writer to boot, Ali. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Much love, friend.

    • aluna13

      whoa, bethany…thank you for those words. i don’t know that i would even consider myself a writer. but wow, thank you. thank you for listening and walking with me and sitting with me. you are a treasure. grateful to know you.

  • http://kateschell.wordpress.com/ Kate Schell

    “The shame I imagined was quickly extinguished after I realized I wasn’t walking alone.” Mmm, that’s beautiful.

    • aluna13

      its amazing to me what community can do to shut down shame.

  • wnhen@aol.com

    I have been in emergency rooms, and hospital rooms often these past few months. I was there with you as I read this story. When in the hospital I overheard so many stories, saw so many painful moments between family members and friends – and sometimes saw beautiful moments of people reaching out – giving love to those who need it. I’m thankful Scott was there for you.
    I love your last name, too. My grandmother’s name was Luna Long, and my granddaughter’s name is Vita Luna. I wrote a song for her called dance on the moon. May you dance on the moon in your dreams and in your waking.

    • aluna13

      i am thankful for those who walk into the dark places so those of us walking there don’t have to be alone.

  • Mark Allman

    Alison,
    Thank you for sharing this. I hope I can be one to look for opportunities to show up for others when they may need ride home. A ride without fear or shame. A ride where you sit back in love and know you are worthy.

  • http://www.bethmorey.com/ Beth

    Oh I love this. And you.