I've survived because God has been the center of my life, my all and my everything!
|The Real Survivor
by Marilyn Mackenzie
According to Bernie Siegel, M.D. survivors: "Find meaning in their work, daily activities, and personal relationships. Express anger appropriately. Ask for help from friends, family, and health professionals -- and complain when their needs aren't met. Say no to nonpriorities. Make time for play. Learn from their pain and depression -- and then get on with living. Choose healthy behaviors that meet their own needs -- not someone else's ideas about what's good for them. Don't let outside duties keep them from meeting their basic needs. Survivors remember that they are precious people first, and mothers, employees, or otherwise upstanding citizens second."
I discovered that I was a survivor in 1978. Before that, I was a survivor, but I just didn't know it. Perhaps I thought I had nothing to survive, that I was blessed with a life from which I didn't need to survive. Yet surviving was just what I did in the midst of family squabbles and with a parent who exhibited alcoholic rages.
But, it was in 1978 that I discovered that I could survive. I left my spouse, and his attorney helped him take all of our assets. The mister got the house and all three vehicles we owned, the furniture, TV's, stereos, our joint music collection, even wallhangings I had made with my own hands. His attorney told the court that I abandoned my spouse. And because I couldn't afford an attorney of my own to give my side of the story - the alcohol and drugs my spouse took -I ended up with only my clothes, my costume jewelry, and my grandmother's china. (She was still alive then, but not aware of anything going on around her in the nursing home.) There was no one to tell the judge that my spouse told me each and every day of our marriage of five years how fat, dumb and ugly I was. He was wrong, you know. At that point in my life, I was a size 8 or 10 and quite nicely proportioned. I've never been stupid. I know that my IQ tests far above the national average! And ugly? Well, I've never thought I was beautiful, but I've always had men interested in me. I've always figured that was because my beauty comes from the inside, though.
Yes, I'm a survivor. I survived five years of being single in Houston in the late 70's and early 80's. What a time that was. I can remember lying at the pool on summer evenings and having all of those around me popping pills and drinking far too much booze. I did drink some then, but not much, and I didn't touch drugs. The people who lived all around me were content to get high and have meaningless jobs that just barely paid their rent and drug habits. I wanted so much more!
Perhaps because of my first husband was so critical of me, I ended up marrying a man 24 years my senior who pretended to be impressed with my abilities. He was, perhaps, but just because my earnings could provide him with a means of staying home every day and working on a book and inventions - none of which have ever been produced nor earned any money. I wonder if I was drawn to him, though, because he also had the abuser personality. Once I was enmeshed in a life with him and had a child to care for, he also began telling me how worthless I was, not always verbally, but with his actions and inactions. Thirteen years later, as the abuse turned physical and towards our son, I left with our son.
Yes, I'm certainly a survivor. But, I could not have survived any of my life's twists and turns without knowing that I was a child of the King. It isn't me who has survived this life, but my Savior. He has taken my pain and abuse and allowed me to continue being Ms. Merry Sunshine.
At the young age of seven, I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. Afterwards, I walked into our church sanctuary and whispered, "Where are you Jesus?" His response, in a booming and strong voice that apparently only I heard was, "I'm here Marilyn." And, he's been there for me ever since! His Holy Spirit was with me as I read the Bible through three times before I was twelve years old, and I understood! His Holy Spirit helped me to understand that King James version of the Bible, even without the concordances and commentaries available to me today. His Holy Spirit helped me know how to pray, to know what to say.
The Bible promised me that I would have a Lord and Savior, a Protector and Counselor, and a Friend. I believed that promise then and I believe it now! I've survived because God has been the center of my life, my all and my everything!