I don’t have a bank account. I rush to the bank the check is written from. “They” go through all their security procedures, get my thumbprint, and ask for something like 200 different forms of picture ID. Finally, I’m handed an envelope with $3500 in cash in it (well, more like $2993) if you factor in the check cashing fee!
It’s a giant, monumental leap forward. In what seems like a blink of the eye, I jump from having virtually no means to help just myself to be, what appears to be, 100% self-reliant. Don’t get me wrong. It’s nothing like I was making the previous 15 years, but now being able to provide a modest, yet comfortable living, for my entire family, provides me an enormous amount of comfort and hope.
I call my brother-in-law as I’m driving down the road to find out where to wire Amy money. I’m able to get it to her that day.
Stuck in my brain is this memory of someone asking me if I was planning on giving any of the money I had just received to Amy and the kids. The sincerity with which they ask the question both astonishes and floors me.
“Is this what people really think about me right now,” I think to myself. “That I’m capable of intentionally abandoning my wife and kids?”
It seems everyone is suspicious of me; well, almost everyone.
The gulf between others perceptions of me now and the reality, at least in my mind, is wide and deep. I don’t know why I keep expecting people to expect the best from me, but I do, regardless of how many times I’m shocked out of my mind by the exact opposite.
Meanwhile, Bishop Lund confirms to me that Amy received the money and that it couldn’t have come at a more needed time. I am told she’s elated and very grateful. All of a sudden, and for the first time, I can start to see how things could possibly come together. It’s all blurry, but I find hope in that I can see something possible. I want to keep pouring fuel on the momentum; however, I am reminded that it is patience that is needed. I need to wait for her to decide all on her own when she feels ready.
For how long?
That’s the worst part…the UNKNOWN! It could be days, weeks, months, or when I catastrophize, years or even never.
Bishop Lund unexpectedly says to me that he sees no reason why Amy and I shouldn’t have a conversation at this point. I am a little bit shocked, but also like, “Yes, I would agree Bishop. We’re married and have 6 children together. Tough call, but yeah, I think talking would be a very appropriate thing for us to do.” He offers to call her and share with her what his recommendation.
I coach him thoroughly on how to make sure he presents everything in a way where she doesn’t think any part of this idea is coming from me.
He doesn’t need the coaching, but I give it to him anyway.
The outcome? I’m told Amy doesn’t feel ready, but that she’ll think about it.
Well, that’s just great! I catastrophize to myself. “I’m never going to even talk with her ever again for all eternity!”
Days go by.
I’m driving down the road going who knows where…feeling mostly down. My phone rings. I answer and recognize the voice right away…it’s a friendly, familiar voice.
Is it really Amy’s father on the other end?
I can tell he’s driving and Amy’s mom is in the car as well. They live in Richland, Washington. As shocked as I am with the call, the real shock comes…right about now…I hear this,
“Jeremy, would you like us to take you to lunch today?”
“Wait! What? No way! You’re not here in Arizona!”
“Yep! We sure are, and we’d love to take you to lunch if you’re available.”
Lets quickly recap. I apparently scare Amy all the way to Kentucky. I spend 50 days in jail, 108 days in an addiction treatment center, and I’m homeless. I did just get a job, but that doesn’t change the fact that with me at the helm, our family broken to pieces and scattered all over the U.S.!
Yet, in spite all of this, my in-laws drive to Arizona, call me out of the blue, and want to take me to lunch! Up to this point, I have only been able to imagine what they think of me, and for some strange reason, I imagine it’s probably not very positive.
But, here they are. The two most unlikely angels appear out of nowhere.
It’s also the most, no, ONLY, spontaneous thing Amy’s parents have ever done in their entire life. I must insert this. It’s simply an impossibility for them to be spontaneous. The parting of the red sea? No big deal. Amy’s parents being spontaneous in any degree whatsoever? Nope, sorry, a miracle wouldn’t be sufficient.
Yet, here they are! What’s a word for something that happens and it’s greater than a miracle? Whatever it is, that’s what this is.
Okay, I’m finished with that loving rant :-).
We arrange a place and time. The California Pizza Kitchen.
I arrive first or so I think. I wait outside until I find out they’re inside and already have a table.
I walk in.
I see them; then they see me.
Jill, Amy’s mom, with a giant smile and loving tears, embraces me…and that pretty little lady is STRONG. I mean she can squeeze…and hold it for quite the length of time.
I think it’s the most healing hug I’ve ever had. The kind that is meant to send a clear message. We still love you; we still believe in you.
Amy’s dad also gives me a hug, and greets me with,
“It’s good to see you, son.”
She as well as Robert, Amy’s father, radiate light, happiness and positive energy.
This giant of a man is the epitome of a person short on words and long on just quietly being as good a man as you can find on this planet.
We take our seats. Amy’s mom leads out.
Her first questions are sincere and searching ones focused on me, and how I’m doing.
Once she feels she has a good feel of things and of me, the next hour or so is mostly her expressing love, encouragement, and confidence in me and painting for me a hopeful future. She teaches me, fills me with hope and simply ministers to me. There is no criticism, judgment, or lectures. She says every word, phrase, expression, and affirmation I need to hear.
She does inform me that Amy is unaware they’re in Arizona and meeting with me and she probably won’t be too happy when she finds out.
But, I know one thing.
I will be happy when she finds out!
Jill doesn’t speak for Amy and stops short of any guarantees, but she makes it quite clear, that both her and Robert are advocates for our marriage and family to remain fully intact. It is also beginning to feel they are increasingly becoming advocates for me to Amy as well!
When lunch is finished we head to their hotel. We end up on a long, beautiful walk along the golf course. I look at the players and wonder how anyone in the world can afford to pay for a round of golf.
Then, I remember. I have some money! If I knew where in the h*** my golf clubs were I actually could!
Oh well, for now, it’s beautiful. The temperature is perfect. Blue skies. Slight wind.
I recognize at some point along the walk that for the first time in over a year, my entire soul is in a state of total calm and complete peace.
It’s a tranquil feeling void completely of any trace of tension, anxiety, pain, or fear.
I am filled with happiness.
We end up spending the entire day together. When leaving, Amy’s father, takes me by the hands and with complete genuine joy in his voice, says,
“Jeremy, I have never seen you doing better than you are right now. I love ya, son.”
Right then, I wake up!
No, I’m just kidding. As far as I know, this really did happen!
After another long embrace from Amy’s mother, I get in my car and drive off.
Of course, I pick up my phone and dial the number to…that’s right, Bishop Lund. He answers, as always, on the first or second ring.
I love it when he gets excited when I call him with good news!
It will be his turn next, as in about a few days, we are going to switch places.
He will be the one calling me with news…news that will both excite and sober me up at the same time. I knew this had to come sooner or later, and I’ve been preparing for it for a while now.