In the summer of 2010, I made one of the biggest decisions of my life. I was 23, and finally moving out of my parents’ house. Although we had a great relationship, I felt like it was time for me to spread my wings and fly. It was a perfect day in July, and I was overly excited to be making this huge step in exerting my independence. As the baby of five siblings, making a decision and having independence was not something that came easily or naturally. I was used to being taken care of, but I met a guy, who I was certain could and would take care of me and I thought for sure a trial of cohabitating would move us in the direction of wedding bells.
After 3 shorts months of living together, I quickly found myself regretting the decision to move out of my parents’ house. It was October and I remember calling my sister and crying about how miserable I was. I felt unloved, unappreciated, and lonely. I often called her to complain about my situation, reporting how I felt stuck and obligated to stay because of our financial situation. Though I was unhappy, I knew that without my half of the rent my boyfriend wouldn’t be able to maintain the apartment. And not only that, I wanted things to improve. I just didn’t know how to fix it. The more I complained to my boyfriend about his absence, lack of motivation, and my feelings of insecurity, the more distant we became. I wanted what most girls want, a loving partner, 2.5 children, and a house with a white picket fence… so why did that seem so impossible to obtain?
For the next 3 hours, we stood there watching everything we had worked for fade away. A bystander brought me a blanket to cover up with shortly before my sister drove us back to my parents’ house for the night. I thought many times of this angel person who blessed me with a blue blanket with yellow stars on it, because in that moment it was the only comfort I felt.
The renters insurance only took a few weeks to come through. In the meantime, friends of friends were flooding my parents upstairs with gently used clothing and other things for me to shop through and many local businesses had donated gift cards to the victims. It took 2 months to get back on my feet. And even though I had few possessions to my name and was now single, I felt freer and more content than ever. I started going back to church and spending more time with my family. I had never known what it was like to lose anything before, and in a matter of a few months had lost many of the things I cared most about, the things that I felt gave me status and purpose.
Some nights, I snuggle up with my little girl in the blanket that an angel draped over my shoulders as I watched my life transition into a valley. I thank God for taking me out of that valley and setting me on a mountain top. My dreams have come true. And while many would look at this story as a sad report of loss, I am thankful for an experience which stripped away the bad and clothed me in blessings. Sometimes you have to lose what you’re holding on to, in order to gain what you’ve always dreamed of.