It is difficult for me to write or think about anything but October in October. The month of October is, of course, visually spectacular and it is also filled with wonderful childhood memories for me - the smell of burning leaves, the homemade scarecrows (of Dad's old clothes stuffed with leaves), big fat orange pumpkins on every doorstep, and the excitement of Halloween. But October is significant to me in a much more bittersweet way. October is the month that I changed forever. It was many, many years ago and nothing is more shocking to me than realizing how long ago it was because there is still a physical flinching in my body when I think of that time.
It was a wonderful and horrible time all at once. It was the fear of the unknown and the rush of something new all stirred into one pot in a secret chamber in my heart. It was a time that I gained knowledge that I could never unknow, when my spirit came alive and was terrorized all at once. Even with all the words and phrases that I know and seek out I cannot name the feeling of that October. Every year I think of the people that I believe God sent into my life then to rescue me from myself. Sadly, they are no longer in my life but I will always be grateful to them.
Back then I was angry at God, and I shouted questions to Him nightly. I had a lifelong faith, and that was the only thing that did not change that October. I can now concede that I will never understand why it all had to happen, but it was the quintessential God hitting me over the head with a two-by-four since all of His subtle whisperings had been lost on me.
Everything I thought I knew about myself was false, but everything I knew about God was still true.
I want to say I walked through the fire and didn't get burned, but that would be a lie. I was badly burned - but also, in time, incredibly healed. I wanted that October and the following months to be my one trauma, my one breakdown, my one time of questioning my God - but there have been other times since then - more heartache, more fear. Even if more is to come I know that God is unchanging. His grace is sufficient.
I spent years after that apologizing, explaining, doing penance, and then one year I wrote on the front of my journal - no more apologies. This is the path God sent me on - the good and the bad, the right and the wrong.
The path is life itself.
I cannot change that October , nor would I want to, because, as horrific as some of the memories are - so is the beauty of salvation, the tender comfort, healing and hope that only comes from God.