I was raised in a small town in Michigan. There’s no other word to describe where I lived except to say it was the country. Though the streets were paved, there weren’t any streetlights or sidewalks, and the nearest gas station was about 10 miles away. I lived around open fields, woods, and farms in all directions.
In many ways, my childhood was pretty typical. I went through the normal teenage angst like most teenagers. But when I was 13 I decided I was miserable and I was going to run away. For reasons I no longer remember I decided that I was going to sneak out of the house at 2 am and leave. I had no idea where I was going to go, no idea how I was going to support myself, and no idea where I was going to live. But nevertheless, I was going to go!
I packed some essential items in a brown paper bag and placed it on the floor inside my closet. I knew that if I set my alarm clock that I would wake up my sister and most definitely wake up my parents, so before going to bed, I asked the Lord to wake me up at 2 am. With my essentials packed, I crawled into bed and quickly fell asleep. At exactly 2 am my eyes popped open and I saw the red light on my digital clock shining bright with the current time of 2 am. I quietly slipped out of bed, grabbed my clothes and my brown paper bag and I snuck down into the basement so that I could slip out the back door. I opened the back door and stepped out into the backyard.
Before I could close the door behind me every animal in the woods woke up! Is that a wolf? What’s that rustling around over there in the woods? Wait a minute, is that a bear? Is there a snake over there by the swing set? Standing there for what seemed like an hour but was only a few seconds, I decided that it was too dark to leave and I better wait until daylight. I turned around and I went back upstairs and put the paper bag in the closet, and I got back in the bed. I’ll find some time tomorrow during the day to run away I thought, and I went back to sleep. That was my first and last attempt at running away.
At 13 years old I didn’t understand about a personal relationship with the Lord. I was raised Catholic during a time when all services were in Latin. I never understood church. I never understood the Bible because we used a catholic missalette. On the other hand, I knew that my mother sincerely prayed, that I had vivid dreams and that I always seemed to know things. What I mean by that is that I could look at another person and suddenly know something about them. Not necessarily what they ate for breakfast, but their character. Whether they were telling the truth or not telling the truth. Whether they were a good person or bad person, whether they could be trusted, whether they couldn’t be trusted. At times I could see their pain. I learned very quickly I could look at another person and know things, so I assumed that others could do the same with me. So out of fear I was afraid that if I twitched if I blinked, if my eyelid fluttered, that my entire inner being would be exposed for the world to see. I assumed it was normal, so I developed a stoic emotionless demeanor to protect myself.
As a young child these things were extremely real, but at the same time confusing, and uncontrollable. So, asking the Lord to wake me up at 2 o’clock in the morning was something that I did very naturally. I didn’t get down on my knees, fold my hands, grab the rosary, and pray for the Lord to wake me up at 2 o’clock in the morning. I just said it to myself almost haphazardly, as I was placing my paper bag into the closet. No further thought was given to what I was asking.
I did not understand the importance of communicating with the Lord. I didn’t know how to pursue Him. I didn’t know how to nurture or grow in Him. As a 13-year-old child, it was one incident, that happened one day, and I moved on. I was just too young and too inexperienced in the things of faith. Today, I wonder how that incident would have changed my life if I had a true understanding of the Lord? How would my spiritual journey have changed if I understood the meaning of prayer? I was too young to understand that when he woke me up, He answered my prayers and that He heard me!
If the Lord wakes you up at 2 am I encourage you to see it for the miracle it truly is, thank him, and go after him with everything you’ve got!
I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me. Proverbs 8:17