Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Recognizing Darkness

I have come to realize that there are times in our lives when we do not realize that we are walking in the dark. My daughter is going through such a time in her life. I can see the darkness; I can see the pitfalls – but she is as blind as she can be. In fact, she thinks that the sun is shining.

I cannot understand why she has made recent decisions, so I decided to look at my own life to see if I could find any similar patterns. I have, sadly, realized that there was also a time when I was walking in the dark and was totally unaware.

When I was young, life at home was not pleasant. No details, but it was an abusive environment. I left; decided that I didn’t want to go home at the end of my shift one night and…didn’t. I went to a friend’s apartment feeling certain they would allow me to stay. They turned me down. I was shocked. I called someone I worked with and they told me they knew where I could stay. They put me up at a hotel for the night and the next morning they took me to the apartment of a woman who needed someone to baby sit her kids while she was at work. The baby-sitting paid my room and board and I got a part-time job at night for “spending money.” I was in the company of people I barely knew, with no contact with family or long-time friends, and the guy who introduced me to this woman wanted more than friendship. But I didn’t see a problem in the world. Not one. I was happy without knowing why; I enjoyed baby-sitting the kids and I met a lot of new people.

All “good” things come to an end…the guy who wanted more than friendship, was married. The kids were in an abusive situation with their mother. Before I came along, they were terribly neglected, as well. When one of the men she brought home with her attempted to make it with the nine-year old daughter, too, I turned them all in, forfeiting my place to stay. I was scrambling for someplace to call home once again.

Why couldn’t I see this coming? How could I be so stupid as to trust people that I didn’t know? What was I thinking? Yes, I was in my own “bad situation” at home, but I had options other than to put myself out into the world – in the dark – trusting my safety to a whim. Why did this particular option seem the most reasonable? And why couldn’t I see that I was walking in the dark?

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