I woke up and I forgot where I was. A miniature panic attack took place within me for a matter of seconds 1…2…3… Slowly, I remembered. This was not my pillow; it was too squishy and round. My real blanket had embroidered details of white flowers, not printed squares of blue.
I was all alone on a spacious bed without my siblings and my parents for the first time in years.
Looking around, I saw that the room was huge. It had many shelves, and the windows could easily let sunlight enter through the light colored blinds. I knew I was in a two-storey house full of space to roam.
But home to me was a one-floor, tiny bungalow.
I got up expecting to hear a little bubbly faced boy greet me with a kiss. Wait… he now lives with Mom, and I live with Dad. I went to the bathroom to wash my face. I almost screamed. I thought I saw my mom in the mirror. My fist wanted to crack the glass mirror that stood before me, but I couldn’t blame an object for reminding me that I looked like someone who broke my heart— who broke my home.
Gone were my kisses from Dad and Mom before going to school. Gone were the late night car rides to pick up Dad from work and the grabbing of ice cream at the nearby Ministop on the way home. Gone were the cooling down days of summer by using the garden hose to play with my younger brother.
There is a saying that goes, “Home is where the heart is.” My heart was one thing to me whose place had been unknown until I held its broken pieces in my hands. I bled as I held on to each shard of my brokenness. The act of grieving became such a norm to me. It was the oxygen I breathed. I would sit alone, letting silence fill the room. A series of depressing thoughts in the form of a kaleidoscope filled my mind. It was suffocating.
Before this happened, the simplicity of home had kept me wanting more in life. I’d even refuse to go out with friends just to be with the youngest member of the family, *Pocoyo. I’d turn on my laptop and choose songs for us to sing and dance to. I was a Frank Sinatra fan, so I taught Pocoyo how to sing “I Love You Baby.” When Ed Sheeran’s hit “Thinking Out Loud” came out, we kept playing it on television. Despite all the emotional and physical abuse within an imperfect household from an imperfect mother, time with Pocoyo inspired me to smile and find the happiness in everything I did.
When things became worse, I did not enjoy going out of the house. Whenever I did, it was as though I had reminders of home. I’d be walking down the street, then I would hear a song that triggered tears. Music was a knife that slowly sliced open the scars I was attempting to close by myself.
I remember I was at a restaurant, and I saw a family of five. There was a father, a mother, the eldest sister, a younger brother, and a little baby boy around the table. As I looked at the family, waves of sadness, anger, and jealousy washed over me. I let them. I did not know what else to do.
I allowed darkness to sink into my thoughts. It was comfortable inside me. Darkness was a car that roamed in my head with unlimited gas. It traveled to the deepest parts of me and arrived at the most downbeat place called “Collapse.” I wanted to give up and not wake up the next day. There were mornings I did not bother to get up to go to school or let alone eat. Sleepless nights were common in an effort to distract myself from my situation. If I could hide myself inside a closet during those horrible months, I would have.
God never gave me a closet to hide in, neither did He send a whale to swallow me. I had accepted Jesus into my heart, yet I knew I had a problem. What was it? I was a spoiled little girl with brown curly hair, clutching onto what was left of my broken heart. Jesus was right in front of me, telling me to give up my heart to Him for a new one He could give me.
Every day for the next few months, He kept asking me to give Him my broken pieces. So, I, the spoiled little girl, made an agreement with Him. I said with a bratty tone in my voice, “Okay! I’ll give you my heart, but only piece by piece…”. Jesus was so patient and loving. He waited for me to give a piece of my heart to Him day by day, until my broken pieces were joined back together by Him.
I have learned to place my trust fully in God; to live by faith and not by sight. I was a broken teen once. I can say that Jesus is still working on my scars. Currently, I am going through my seasons of life as a young woman nearing the end of my journey in Senior High School. My parents are no longer on speaking terms, and I live with my dad. Honestly, he is doing a great job taking care of one of my younger brothers and me. My baby brother, Pocoyo, lives with my mom. I haven’t seen them both in years.
How do I cope with all these? By taking life one day at a time with God. I never force too much on myself because I have Jesus. He tells me to take His yoke and to let Him carry all my burdens.
I am grateful to God for giving me my dad, who doesn’t shy away whenever I need a crying shoulder. I am blessed to have friends who help me through the hard days of being at school with a heavy heart, or when my eyes are tired from falling tears. Slowly, God has placed more individuals who help me get by. I am thankful to Him for all of them.
God has led me to a church where I am able to grow in faith and in my identity as His child. At first, It was hard for me to think that I didn’t have a mother to care for me anymore. But I met so many Titas who became mother figures to me. Furthermore, God fills in the spaces of my heart where no mother can. He is a God who can be both Mother and Father to me. I still have my hard days, but I find myself stronger in Him than ever.
In this tightrope we call “life,” I hold on to my Heavenly Father’s hand as I take each step forward. God uses the worst things in life to teach us the best things He can make out of them. It takes a leap of faith or mere baby steps, since things take time. I’ve learned that my suffering is just the beginning of my journey with God. Also, I found a new home in a place I never thought would be a home to me in my wildest dreams. Home is where the heart is, and my heart is hidden with the only Person who will never leave me nor forsake me: Jesus.
This article was first published online in One Voice Magazine on Apr 20, 2019.