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Life is hard. There are so many obstacles to overcome that it is senseless. I have to constantly remind myself, Charlotte breathe – girl just breathe. So, I take a big breath and breathe. And in that moment, I experience a level of peace until my emotional cycle starts all over again.
I have spent years in my vicious emotional cycle, trying to figure out a permanent fix. But nothing worked. I mean NO-THING! I’ve tried exercising, meditation, Buddha, Islam faith, improving my diet, and changing my environment as well as my friends. BUT NOTHING WORKED! Absolutely nothing changed my state of being. Other than that, my situation had gotten so bad that I was about to lose it. I didn’t want to live any longer. However, I realized I needed help. So, I finally decided to try counseling. But that didn’t work either. The counselor seemed to want to be my friend rather than provide me with the professional service I needed. This caused me to drown deeper in my abyss.
At this point, I just wanted to quit. Quit work. Quit my marriage. Quit my children. Quit being me. Just simply quit existing. I was desperate for a change and fast. Time was not on my side and I was running out of it. In fact, I often find myself staring at my old clock that hung on my wall. Oh, look, even that old wall has a crack in it. How symbolic! That crack on my wall is a perfect metaphor for my life. Not only was the crack unsightly, but it also showed that we had a serious problem with our foundation structure. Hmmm, the story of my life. I certainly did not have a strong foundation. My life was a mess. I had a serious problem (a major crack – unresolved issues) in my own life. My problems were so destructive that they left a hole in my soul, broke my heart into many pieces, and my spirit was completely dormant. I was empty, lifeless as well as hopeless. My life was coming to an end.
At least, until I met Dora. Dora was a bubbly, overenergetic, happy-go-lucky coworker. This chick was always happy, always smiling to the point she was getting on my last nerve. How can someone be that happy? She had to be faking it. There is no way someone can be that happy all the time.
Whenever I saw Dora coming my way, I immediately went running in the opposite direction. Or pretend I was so busy at work, that I did not have a minute, no, a second to spare.
At any rate, one day, I desperately needed some coffee. I didn’t have time to stop by my favorite coffee shop on my way to work that morning. As much as I hate our office coffee, I needed caffeine before I turned into the Incredible Hulk and tore up our entire office building. So, I headed to the small breakroom that had the less traffic. When I got there, no one was in the room. So, I fixed my coffee and then sat down at a small top in the far corner of the breakroom. This way, no one could see me if anyone entered the room while I was sitting there.
As I sat for about five minutes sipping on my coffee, I was thinking about my miserable life – trying to understand how I had allowed myself to get to this place. I said to myself, ‘I really need to stop running. I can’t keep doing this. Charlotte, girl, you can’t run forever.’ Then suddenly my thoughts were interpreted when I heard the breakroom door open. Lawn knows I tried everything to not move a flinch. I didn’t want anyone to know I was sitting in the corner. That way, I won't have to say hello and put on a fake smile. As I sat still, trying not to breathe, I kept whispering to myself - please, please, don’t come over here. Then, I heard that obnoxious laugh as the footsteps got closer and closer. LAWD NOOOOO! PLEASE NOOOOO! NO! NO!
Yeap, it was her. Dora with that big kool-aid smile stood in front of me with her cup of organic tea.
“Oh, hey Charlotte,” she yells in her loud vicious voice. I had to shut my eyes for a second as I responded, “Hey Dora.”
As much as I did not want to have any interactions with Dora at that moment, I had no choice. She finally had me trapped in a corner with no way out. Well, I could run right over her, but I might have lost my job if I had done that. So, I just looked at her out of the corner of my eye as I tried to hide behind my cup of coffee. But Dora did not take the hint.
Ironically, as much as I don’t want to admit it, it was a good thing. If it wasn’t for that moment that Dora had me trapped in that corner, God would not been able to pin me down long enough to show me how to stop running – running from life, running from love, running from my family, running from Him.
That day, Dora helped me to open my eyes to a whole new world by making this simple statement. “Charlotte, you need to stop running. You can’t run from me forever.” Then she laughs. But suddenly, she gets this real serious look on her face and then says the most incredible thing I’ve ever heard. “Charlotte, you actually are not running from me. You are running from God.”
Wait, what? What does God have anything to do with this conversation?
But her statement intrigued me. Why did she bring God into this conversation? And how does she know that I am running from anything? For the first time, Dora had my undivided attention. I wanted to know what she meant by that. Then she asked, “You want to know what I mean don’t you?”
This girl is reading my mind. How is happy-go-lucky doing that, I thought.
I can laugh about it now, but at the time it wasn’t funny and I was confused by her profound statement. So, I placed my cup of coffee down, looked up at her, smiled, and said, “Dora, please sit down. Yes, please explain what you meant by that.”
That was a miracle. I smiled, yes smiled, and at Dora of all people. I hadn’t done that in a long time – smiled. That girl Dora, who I have been running from for months actually made me smile. Not only that, on that day, she showed me that I could not keep running forever. She taught me how to stop running and my life has never been the same since.
The persons and events in this short story are fictitious. Any similarity to actual persons or events is unintentional.
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