On Bended Knees
By Bernadette A. Moyer
As I was driving back home from the gym today I noticed a car with Texas tags, and living in Maryland I know just how far that Texas is and how many miles to drive from there to here. I had a rush of memories about the year that I lived in Beaumont, Texas with my first husband and our daughter who was just one year old.
I thought about how I came to Maryland to start a new life and to flee an abusive relationship. When I arrived in Maryland more than 35 years ago, I prayed I cried and I reminded myself of how I had to save myself and our daughter. This man that I married had a history of abuse from his previous relationships forward and I was warned about him. But just like any young girl/woman at just 19 years of age I had to make my own decisions.
If I had any doubts about leaving him our final day together soon took care of that as his parting “shot” literally was to punch me in the middle of my face. I skidded across the kitchen floor and ended up in a corner when he picked me up by my shirt and went at me again. That next morning I set out on an over 1,600 road trip home to my mother in Maryland. I wanted better for myself and for our daughter.
Less than a year later he died while taking a shower and had a seizure in the shower, he drowned to death. I had my share of guilt as he was alone at the time. As a society we don’t speak ill of the dead and since our child was so young I put the best spin I could on our marriage and our relationship. Just before her 18th birthday I told her the truth about him and it didn’t sit very well.
Victims live in shame and have all kinds of reasons for denying themselves and others the truth. It doesn’t change though, it is what it is and was what it was, an abusive relationship. Today I know better and am more than blessed. I don’t think he was a bad guy, I believe he was a troubled guy. Troubled from what he experienced in his first family and troubled from 6-years in the Navy during Viet Nam. His service experience left him an alcoholic (by his own admission) and with a seizure disorder.
He was a charming man and good looking too. Both his daughter and his first born grandson look just like him. I still celebrate our union on bended knees at least once a year at his gravesite. I thank God for all that I learned during our marriage and all the many lessons learned from his early death.
Thinking about Texas and that period in my life also reminded me of how important it is to pray and to bow down on bended knees. We don’t have all the answers but prayers and hope and forward marching have always saved me.
During tough times we find out what we are made out of. We can shrivel up and cry or we can turn it around and become stronger. Our hurt our anger and our disappointments can be used as the fuel that helps to propel us forward.
When I came to Maryland I arrived in an old late model Mercury that had a bad engine and probably took as much oil as it did gasoline. I lived with my mother for a few months until I could afford my own place. I was lucky to get a really good waitress job in a high end restaurant. I worked really hard and chuckle at the uniform of high heels, brown skirt and white dress shirts that we wore. I made great money and made wonderful friendships.
I became friends with many young people that were my age and made me feel new and young again. I was making it on hope and a prayer that first year. When my husband died we were still legally married and I was so fortunate to receive help from the Veterans. Things changed for the better. I changed for the better. I was resolved. I made my share of mistakes that’s what young people do but I always ended up back on my feet after so many prayers on bended knees.
Today I can look back with peace and with love and most importantly with gratitude. Every experience, the good and the bad contribute to who and what we are and above all else, I am a survivor.
My husband today keeps talking about our 25 years together and that next summer we will celebrate 20 years of marriage. We already have a trip planned. I am so happy but I never ever forget what my knees are for as I continue in prayer for all that I have and all that I have experienced.
Everything in life is either a blessing or a curse and for me with the power of my prayers and the strength of my knees I’ve known many more blessings!
You never know what will trigger a memory, today it was something as simple as Texas tags that took me back to another time, a time when I grew and matured and learned what it would take to care for both myself and for my child. It wasn’t easy but it was definitely meaningful.
Life is rich … and so much richer when after the struggles we find enlightenment. So many times it literally starts with the power of our prayers. Peace and prayers!
Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
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