So, I knew this girl, she was 18 or 19 when I met her, dark and brooding, like so many young people today. She had black hair and brown roots. She wore black clothes; t-shirts that said confrontational things and fishnet stockings; heavy black eyeliner and combat boots; you know the type. She appeared angry from the inside out, but upon closer inspection, I quickly realized she was filled with fear. She was the typical antisocial, scary-music-listening, depressed-poetry-writing, metal-lunchbox-carrying, misunderstood young adult. I use the word adult loosely. Admittedly, she worked full time and lived with her boyfriend, but her immaturity always seemed to seep through her facade.
Despite what her angsty adornment would insinuate about her childhood, she actually grew up in a Christ centered household, Bible thumping, Holy Roller types, if you will. I was surprised to find out that she was saved when she was young, so young she couldn't quite tell me when it happened. She told me how she witnessed people get up out of wheel chairs, people praying and speaking in tongues, people healed of cancer instantly, people slain in the spirit, financial miracles time after time, among so many other mind blowing incidents. In junior high and part of high school she was eager to be involved in her youth group. She was a Jesus loving, pro-abstinence, pro-life evangelical. She didn't just go to weekly youth services, where they baby-sat teens on Sundays so their parents could attend "real" service, she attended retreats and worked on mission trips. If I asked her if she believed in God, through all that repelling exterior, she would always say yes without hesitation, but she never wanted to discuss it further. In my mind, she was the perfect picture of the prodigal son in the midst of all his "fun".
I met her parents briefly during the few years that I knew her. They seemed very pleasant and genuine to me, but she insisted the only thing they ever talked about was God, or Jesus, or church. That always made me laugh. I never understood why it annoyed her so much, but again, she never wanted to discuss it in depth. One of the things I do remember is that she would tell me that every time she spoke with her mom, her mom would inevitably ask her how her relationship with God was. It seemed a valid question to me, but it irritated her deeply.
She was so insecure about so many things. One thing that was different about her was how her insecurity manifested. Alot of young girls dress sexually provocative to be attractive, but she tended to wear clothes that were loose fitting and boyish. She was pretty though. Not the kind of pretty that silenced a room, but the kind that grew more apparent over time. Her rejectionist approach to life was actually kind of annoying, but once you pushed passed all of her defenses, she was pretty smart and surprisingly funny. You just had to make it beyond her standoff-ish demeanor and her "I don't know you, but I already don't like you" once-over glance she gave everyone. Even though she partied, she never really seemed to enjoy it as much as she said she did. She drank too much from time to time, smoked weed and may have even tried a more illicit drug; though she would never be specific, I always suspected she tried a hallucinogen or two. We were so different! To this day, I don't know how we became acquaintances, perhaps we were friends, it was hard to tell with her.
She was quite a character, so confused, so divided, so unsure of who she was and where she fit in. I don't know why I thought of her today, but it happens every now and again. Though our relationship was shorty-lived, I'll never forget her and how she influenced where I am today. In spite of her and her "Beware of God" attitude, she managed to show me that no matter where you find yourself, God is always near. I will leave you with this, my recollected interpretation of a story she once told me:
"Each day, after work, I always take a shower or a bath. Yes, I bath twice a day, don't judge. On one particularly bad day, though every day was kind of a bad day, I decided to take a shower to relax. Nothing special. My boyfriend wasn't home yet, like most days, and I was alone in the apartment. Don't worry, nothing scary happened. Anyways, I was just standing under the extra hot water, letting it run over the top of my head. I was facing the shower nozzle and had my eyes closed. The running water barely covered the surface of the overwhelming silence I felt in the surrounding bathroom, apartment, complex, city, state and world around me. I felt incredibly alone in that moment. Now, I believe in God, but it had been a while since I prayed or went to church and as lonely as I had ever felt on any day leading up to that day or following that day, on this day, I suddenly felt not alone. Not in a creepy way either, if that's what you're thinking. On this day, I felt like God, or someone, was telling me that I wasn't alone and that He would always be there for me when I decided to turn around. In that moment, I was reassured and terrified. I know it sounds crazy, but it happened. What do you do with that? I didn't know what to do with that, so I just waited until the moment passed and I felt alone again and I could finish my day. Crazy, huh?"
Now, you might think that story is crazy or that the girl is crazy, but I don't. I think had she just turned around at that moment, her whole life could have been different. It is my hope, no, my belief that this girl eventually did turn around. I think when she did, she found a whole new world filled with love and joy and beauty. I know she did.