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Deer in the Headlights

(About an 8 min read… it’s a little raw… but very real…)


It was a particularly dark night… there was a peace about it… it was safe… like being wrapped in a cool blanket… I would often go for walks in the neighborhood… the evening fresh Wisconsin air blowing on my face… the smell of summer green… and just the right amount of moisture…


Nights like these were refreshing in the beginning… my late wife and I would walk for hours… we’d talk… process life… and dream together… I looked forward to them… it was a season of intimate connection that came and went too quickly…


Usually, on nights like this… I would come home in my old black ‘76 Chevy short box pickup… and pull behind our quadruplex… my late wife would usually be ready and we’d go for a walk… but this night was different…


I jumped out of the truck with a newlywed excitement… the honeymoon season wasn’t over yet for me… I hustled to the back door of our downstairs apartment, swung it open… and noticed the lights were all off… I turned on the light switch for the hallway and said “are you home?”… no response…


At this point in my relationship I had little experience with violence… I’d dealt with a lot as a kid, but I saw my wife as my ally not a perpetrator…


Carefree and playful, I went through the apartment turning on the lights saying loudly “come out come out wherever you are…”I looked everywhere… suddenly I heard the back door open harshly… I ran over to see what was going on and saw my wife running towards my truck. I said “hey, are you ok?…” I felt a sense of urgency in my heart… she jumped in the cab, locked the doors and started it… it rumbled loudly due to the small exhaust leak it had… i quickly approached the driver side door and tapped on the window… “are you ok”… I said…


She looked over at me… her eyes were cold and dark… like something had possessed her… she had been crying… her lip was split and bleeding… her hair was a mess… sticking to her tears running down her face… I was utterly confused… I said “hey, can I get in with you?… can we talk?…” she replied at the top of her lungs “Go to Hell!!”…  the windows were up… but her words echoed in my heart… she pounded on the steering wheel… hard… it was an adult temper tantrum… I’d never seen anything quite like it before… she  stopped suddenly and turned to look at me… slowly… a dead stare… she smirked and slammed the truck into reverse, pressed the accelerator to the floor and backed up into the neighbors fence demolishing about a 10 foot section of it… I ran after her… I tried to put my key in the passenger side door as she was turning the truck around and accidentally snapped my key off in the lock… she drove off to the end of the drive way and slammed on the brakes… she waited there for about 15 mins… looking straight forward… there was something very uncomfortable about it…


I walked hesitantly to the end of the driveway… my gut wrenching   The closer I got… “are you ok?” I said… she didn’t move… I went to the door and tried to open it… it was still locked… so I went around the front of the truck towards her side of the door… as I rounded the front passenger side fender she pressed the peddle to the floor scooping me up onto the hood of the truck… I fell off the side into the bushes…


I stood up and quickly brushed myself off… she had pulled out into the road… paused and waited again… I ran to the stretch in front of her and slowly approached the truck… I don’t know what I was trying to do… maybe stop her from driving off recklessly…


There I stood… like a deer in the headlights… I thought “there’s no way she would hit me… I’ll try to talk her down…” I could see her eyes… they were wide and intentional… within a fraction of a second she pushed the pedal to the floor… I tried dodging the barreling truck, but she anticipated my movements… crashed through the mailbox and impacted my side in mid air… the trucks velocity mixed with my aerodynamics threw me about 10 feet into the front yard… ending with a dull thud… I woke up the next morning in the yard… it was very early… the sun was coming up… the grass on the lawn was covered in tread marks and dew… my truck was gone… and there was no sign of my wife… I stumbled back to the apartment… the doors were locked… I was so disoriented… and very sore…


I sat on the front step… the morning passed… I had missed work… I couldn’t call… at about 3pm… my wife drove up in my truck… it had been driven hard… the front window was cracked, the front windows were smashed out… and there were scratched and dents everywhere… she refused to make eye contact with me… walked past me, opened the door and went in the apartment… I followed her… I said “what was that all about?!…” she replied… “I hate your job… I hate my life… and i hate you… I wish I’d never married you…”… she never explained what I’d done… to this day, I don’t know the reason…


I’d never felt this kind of rejection before… and I never wanted to again… it was deep.. and intentional… and yet… life kept moving… hurt or no hurt…


Of all the multiple difficulties in my life… the biggest scars were those left  by wounds to my heart… there were so many… so many… deep and raised… like a primitive tattoo…


As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize how powerful hurt is… but more than that… how redemptive healing is… my pain was a variety of my choices and my ignorance… and life sometimes just gives you lemons…


I’ve learned that consequences are a thing… accountability is essential… and it’s never been Gods fault…


All of the protection… the missed opportunities… the truth that I should have died multiple times… mostly by my own thick-headedness… and shared stupidity… the times I would wake up… like in the front yard… and many similar times like this… all of the injuries to my neck and skull… with no brain damage… knife wounds… and deep heart wounds… lead me to this humbling thought… someone was fervently praying for me… there’s no denying it…


Hurt… rejection… violence… they are all part of the story…. but not the heart of the story… bodies heal… renewed minds heal… scars become a form of wisdom… and I keep moving forward… because greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world and I overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of my testimony… in Christ… we are ALL Overcomers…


Thanks for sticking through to the end of this long post… I hope my words and stories encourage you… and help you find breakthrough and encouragement…


Michael


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