The Difference between Then and Now

My new daily prayer has become one, simple request: “Lord, please do not allow me get so wrapped up in my selfishness that I miss moments to connect with someone.”

Today I walked through the doors and met Venora for the first time.

She greeted me with a bright smile and welcomed me back to her station. We initiated normal chitchat and polite introductions. I got some recommendations on local restaurants and Venora encouraged me to visit a few restaurants in her hometown.

I’m not even sure how it happened or why. It’s probably not important to remember how the conversation segued. I remember Venora telling me she was engaged and getting marred later this year. And I remember asking her about her plans for the honeymoon. She shared a sweet-sounding description of a train ride across the US. But as she started to share the plans for the wedding, her story increasingly warmed my heart.

“I’m getting married later this year. I met my fiancé a little over a year ago. We met through a mutual friend. At first it was weeks of just talking on the phone and video calls. We’d talk for hours, and fall asleep still on the phone together. Then, I finally went down to meet him in person…and wound up staying there for three months! He asked me to be his girlfriend in May of 2020, and on December 27th, he proposed.

We’d been looking at cost-effective ways to afford this wedding for awhile. Then, my parents came to me one day and offered to host the wedding at our house. In return, they’d cover the cost for the honeymoon. *laughing* They had me at the words, ‘pay for your honeymoon!’

My parents didn’t get a honeymoon. They got married in a trailer. They’ve been married 28 or 29 years. I want them to have a honeymoon. So, I’ve decided to give them a gift as well. Since all our friends and family will be at our house for my wedding, I’ve arranged for my parents to renew their vows during the reception. They don’t know this yet. But then, I’m sending them off on a honeymoon of their own. They deserve this. Of course, we’ll have to find someone to watch the cats, the dogs, the turtle, and our lizard Bagel. But we’ll figure it out!

I wanted to do this for their 25th wedding anniversary, but that was a really hard year. So, it didn’t happen.”

(I decided to be bold and ask her why it was a bad year)

“My grandma passed away. She was my dad’s mother. Then, my uncle’s house, which had all my grandmother’s possessions, burned down. My dad doesn’t have anything of hers left. And…that year, I was attacked.

I don’t like saying the ‘R word,’ so I just say ‘attacked.’ The whole thing sent me into a spiral. I started binging and purging. I became extremely reclusive. I lived with my parents, but I wouldn’t even eat dinner with them. I felt like I couldn’t cope. On top of that, I was in an abusive relationship, which just drove me further into a dark place. To the point…where…I decided I didn’t want to be on this earth anymore. I grabbed a handful of pills and…I was just ready to end it.

I didn’t even tell my dad that I had tried to do that until a few weeks ago.

I tried to go to a church one night and just pray. I didn’t want to go into the sanctuary because I knew someone was going to ask if I was okay. I hate that question. I just wanted to pray and get more clarity on who I was and what I was supposed to do with my life. But, when I sat outside the church, one of the laymen asked me to leave because he thought I was part of a group of minors that had been caught underage drinking on the church property. (*shrug*)

But, thankfully, I made it out of that dark time. I impromptu enrolled in a cosmetology school and wound up getting my degree. And…well…here I am!”

Venora, you are stronger than you know. So grateful that you lived through the darkness and let me have the chance to meet you. The world is better because you are in it.

3 thoughts on “The Difference between Then and Now”

  1. These are such tremendous stories. I love how life is transitioning from you and your grief – to enjoying those around you and hearing their stories.
    Love and prayers,


  2. Thank you so much for sharing my story! I am so grateful to have met you yesterday !! It’s different reading my story on here rather than just hearing myself talk about it . Really helps me actually see how far I’ve truly come from the lowest point of my life. I am so beyond grateful for this blog now and will forever follow along with it. Thank you for actually helping me come to peace with myself and actually allowing me a chance to share my story with not just you but your readers as well! Sending much love and thanks to you and I hope to see you again soon!


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