1979. The heart attack. Eleventh grade started with the normal routines I needed so desperately, summer band camp, focusing on all the complexities of formations to make beautiful mosaic patterns set to music on a football field. Back together with the group of friends I loved, doing the routine things I loved.
I had spent the better part of tenth grade trying and not liking boyfriends for very long, each being dumped in the only way I knew how, silent rejection, a behavior I learned at home, unkindly ignoring them, pretending they weren’t there so they would go away and leave me alone.
But eleventh grade was a new year, a new beginning with new friends to meet, new teachers, new band trips.
By now, I was a very possessive, clingy, needy friend, not knowing how to share love with others, being jealous of my friends’ other friends, fearing their other friendships would lead to the abandonment of ours.
One day early in the school year, my worst fears came to pass when the girl I considered to be my best friend at the time stopped talking to me, for no apparent reason.
Suddenly, the world became even less than I already believed it to be. Someone outside my house was treating me the way my mom treated me. My instinct was the same, beg this friend to tell me what I did wrong so I could apologize and fix it. But there was only painful silence, the ultimate rejection.
And all this while life at home was spiraling downward into the abyss of my dad’s illness and demise.
I was adrift on a stormy sea of teenage angst, rejected and rejecting others without a clue that a wall was being built, brick by brick, layer by layer.
I knew who God was, heard about him on Sundays, but I didn’t know him. Didn’t run to him. Didn’t know I could run to him. I was doing life alone.