The Lord was calling me. He spoke to me in those intimate Thursday mornings before the Blessed Sacrament, and through the beauty of the Texas sky, and in the kindness of family and friends. Through these tangible signs, the Lord invited me to draw closer to Him.
All those things were wonderful, but they didn’t make me change my way of life. I kept right on chasing after my Texas idols: human friendships, new experiences, romantic love.
That summer, I loved God, and I loved Charles. Even though he had betrayed me, I kept holding on to him in my heart.
Not every sea is full of pearls, I read, in a poem by Rumi.
Yet my heart was fixed on Charles, a great sea with no pearls for me.
Because of this, living in my Texas apartment soon became unbearable. It was impossible for me to move on, with Charles above me.
But God provided for me, through the kindness of two friends. They invited me to stay with them until the end of my internship. I accepted their invitation, and made arrangements to move out of my apartment at the end of the month.
August 26 was my last day. My bags were packed, and my furniture was loaded into a moving pod. I was ready to leave my one-bedroom apartment, and Charles, behind me for good.
As I cleaned out my refrigerator that afternoon, I discovered a half-empty bottle of vodka in my freezer. I tapped the chilled, textured glass with my finger.
I should try to finish this before I go.
“Today’s a Thursday,” I said to myself. “Charles and I always had our best times together on Thursdays, right?”
My mind was made up. I would go upstairs to see Charles, one last time. We could end our relationship on a positive note.
I chose not to remember that I was leaving because of him. And I ignored the warning of my well-intentioned neighbor, who told me not to climb up those stairs.
“Especially not with that bottle in your hand,” he chided me.
I climbed up those stairs anyway. In that moment, what Charles thought of me was more important than anything else.
Charles was home. He mixed me a drink. It tasted vile, but I downed the whole glass.
The evening sunlight streamed through his half-shuttered window. Charles turned on some music, so I danced. I twirled and swung, feigning the joy I didn’t feel at all. Charles watched me from the sofa, drink in hand.
I paused my movements to let the apartment steady around me. Then my sun-tanned fingers flexed, gripped the beige carpet as I swung into a handstand. However, the angle of my legs wasn’t quite right, coming down.
Instead of landing on the carpet, my right foot clipped the edge of Charles’ desk.
“Ow!” I tumbled to the ground, clutching my injured foot.
We inspected the damage. My second toe was bent to one side and clearly broken. The top half of my foot quickly bruised purple, blue, and green. But I didn’t go home. Not yet.
I can change his mind. Somehow, some way I can grab his attention. Make him want, love me again. Somehow—there must be some way—
We kissed. It wasn’t like before, during that first time in June. This time, I didn’t believe him.
The sun was long gone now. Charles’ apartment sunk into gloomy twilight.
My foot throbbed with intense pain. It was a half-hour drive to the nearest emergency room, and with a low-level injury like mine, I’d have to wait a while.
Instead, Charles offered to call the medical office on Fort Hood.
“Hello…Hey. Yeah, I’m a soldier on base. My wife hurt her foot. Can you help her?”
His wife? My stomach churned with sudden nausea.
I don’t think the nurse bought his lie, because eventually he hung up the phone.
“It was worth a try.” He shrugged.
My thoughts were still on what he'd said to the nurse. He made lying seem so easy. Natural, even.
Dread filled my entire being. Coming upstairs that night was a mistake so big, I couldn’t even grasp the immensity of it yet.
“I should go now." My foot screamed in protest as I pushed myself off the sofa. "Good night, Charles."
I limped downstairs. It took me a long time to fall asleep. My throbbing foot, and my stinging conscience kept me wide awake.
God is calling you, and all you can think of is Charles?
The next day, I moved out all my things and left that apartment for good. I never saw or talked to Charles again.
My last evening with him was terribly foolish—but it finally woke me up.
I had hoped to teach Charles something about my faith. Instead, he dragged me right down with him, into his immorality.
After that night, I realized I was a sinner. I had betrayed my Jesus. I turned and repented at last from my folly.
And you scooped me up, O God, and would not let me go for anything. Because from the beginning, You had claimed me for Yourself and refused to let the Devil take me. You refused to let him have the least claim over me.
Jesus, Jesus, You took the burden of my wrongdoing on yourself, and You died for me. You saved me. You have been hunting me down my whole life, O fierce, jealous, eternal lover! And here—truly starting here—You began Your invasion of my life.
And I? I began to let You invade.
Thank you for reading! Join me next week to learn how God began the great invasion of my life.
*Note: In this post, I used the name Charles in place of the gentleman's real name.
About the Author:
From Army public affairs to convent life to marriage and motherhood, Mary Rose Kreger’s journey has been filled with twists and turns. Wherever she’s journeyed, she’s always been writing stories. She lives in the metro Detroit area with her family, where she writes fantasy tales for teens, and blogs about her spiritual journey: before, during, and after the convent.
Mary also shares faith-based poems and fantasy quotes on her Instagram account, @faithandfantasy1.