Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Do something relaxing in the evening, get a good night's sleep, wake up with optimism, have a hardy breakfast, and be prepared to sit in a class room for 3 hours racking your brains on the ACT. This day was already set up to be stressful, I was already praying that I would be focused. I walk into school with a positive attitude, bouncy as usual, chatting away with my friend Daril. Our morning pattern is the classic "high school girl" in movies, we go into the bathroom and I watch Daril do her make up and blab about whatever is the topic of today. The bathroom is also the only place you could text without worrying about a teacher catching you by looking over your shoulder. I receive a text from one of my freshman friends saying "I just ran into your ex, I don't remember his name, he says he has to take the ACT". This was the ex who had previously harassed me, and now I have a restraining order against, 100 yards, its no secret, the school knows, my friends know so they could keep an eye out for me as well. I knew he was still going to night school at my school but otherwise he wasn't allowed to go into the school until 4pm and he had to leave at 8pm. My heart starts to race and I show Daril the text, her natural response is "Noooooo.....seriously?" We rush over to the wall that lists the classrooms people are in for the ACT. I find his name, he's just around the corner of where I am testing. You have to be kidding me, the school didn't even tell me! Am I wrong to think I deserve a warning if he is going to be in the same building as me. I understand he needs to take the ACT but couldn't they have warned me? Or told me? If it wasn't for that text I could have ran into him easily during breaks, or lunch, or whenever! I rushed to the bathroom to call my mom and she told me to just take my test and not to worry but be careful and don't go where he's expected to be. But I was completely shaken, I was teary eyed, and genuinely scared. I went to my testing room, the long way around, avoiding the room I knew he was in. I rushed into my classroom, my heart racing. They routinely read off the instructions mechanically, but I couldn't seen to tare my eyes off the door. It didn't make any sense for me to be so stressed out, he was in his room, he wasn't allowed to leave, I was safe, but all the logical reasons couldn't calm me down. My heart was pounding.
It was at this point that I realized I was going to break out into tears if I didn't do something. What could I do? I'm stuck in this room for 3 hours, I can't get out of my seat, I can't talk, but wait, I can talk, I can talk to God. I pressed my face into the palms of my hands to physically stop the tears and I prayed. I prayed for strength and security and to just trust that God wouldn't let anything happen to me. I prayed that my ex would be reasonable today, and that he would pray to God and find strength in God and not be tempted to come find me or go near where I am. I prayed for him to be calm and to be soothed by God. I prayed that I would have the trust in God, trust is the hardest for me after all the hurt I've been through. I repeated "Just Trust" in my head over and over. I imagined sitting on God's lap in His throne, like a little child sitting in their daddy's lap watching a game of baseball. I imagined Him holding me and soothing me, rocking me saying "It's okay, I have you, it's okay" over and over. I clung to that image as I plunged myself into the first test, writing. Good that is what I need, writing, I know writing. The questions almost amused me because of how easy they were compared to the AP English Literature multiple choice questions I had been doing for the past school year. I was able to turn my focus to the test at hand and not think of my fears, and ignore the fact that I was gripping the pencil harder than usual. Just Trust, I reminded myself. The next test was math, I was lost, I skimmed the test for questions that I might know the sequence of solving it. Most questions I had to guess on, I'm not a math person, numbers don't seem important to my life, numbers seem restricting in my mind. I don't like answers to be direct, this is it, this is the only answer and this is the only way to get to the answer. I like answers that vary and answers that have different journeys to the solution.
When I finished the test I just put my head down and floated back into prayer. I just talked to God, about why I was afraid, I told Him I didn't feel safe, I told Him I was hurting, I told Him I didn't want my ex to get into trouble, I told Him I didn't want to be a hindrance to my ex's life. I prayed that my ex would move on, and not even consider to walk in my direction. I prayed that I could just trust God. I felt fine to be in the room at last, because I knew only teachers were allowed in and out during testing.
Then the break came, I found Daril and we went to the girl's bathroom again. If it wasn't as crowded I would have stayed in there the whole 15 minuets but I felt like I couldn't breathe. I felt like we were just a herd of cattle, moved to the field to the stall. In and out of class rooms, the teachers being the cowhands.Daril distracted me and we ate donuts and didn't dare go around the corner where there was the possibility that my ex might be there. When the break was finally over I migrated with the rest of the class back into the testing area. I was still on end. Next test was Reading, thank God, another way to distract me. I made it through the reading just fine, being relieved that I didn't have to analyze the reading as in depth as AP English Literature. Then came science, and eventually the testing was over. I prayed to God before I left the room that I wouldn't even see my ex. But I was jumpy, Daril commented on how skittish and flinchy I was. We were going down the stairs on our way to go to lunch and I was telling her that I was just scared and I felt like he is just going to appear around the corner and see me and flip out. My favorite history teacher was walking up the stairs stopped and asked why I was scared, and what was going on, so I filled him in, in the most brief way I could manage through the stutters that took over my voice. Then my favorite history teacher told me that he personally watched my ex leave the school campus, and I let out this huge breath as if I was holding it, which I might have been doing. Thank God I could breathe again. My favorite history teacher assured me that my ex was no longer in the building and I was absolutely safe. And I thanked him a thousand times over as he continued his way up the stairs and he smiled at me before turning the corner.
My heart was descending back to its' regular speed but my body still was tensed. Just trust. God had my back and He wasn't going to let anything happen. I just need to trust. I'm safe, God is my daddy holding a baseball bat chasing away any evil that threatens me. I'm in God's hands, I'm safe, I'm loved and He won't I give me anything I can't handle.
Later today I have an art class I get to go to with my favorite art teacher, she used to be my 8th grade art teacher but she retired from teaching middle school and now just offers a community of art. I can't wait to melt into my art, and just let all the tension built up in me be released. Thank God for the gift he has given me, thank God that I can express myself through art and writing and movement. Right now my song is "How Great Is Our God" by: Seventh Day Slumber.