The light pouring through the basement window was bright but altered through the dirt stuck to the glass. Noise from the outside was as clear inside as it was outside. Life was failing to be blocked from the darkness I was seeking.
Failure is too often the best friend of my choices. I tried dying my hair to block my premature grey from showing, but I was left with dry and brittle hair instead. I tried going to school, and while I earned a degree, I didn’t acquire the knowledge to do anything with it. Then there was my marriage. We had an incredible love affair, but changing it to a committed relationship was the end to the hot beginning we enjoyed. Our divorce was final on January 3, 2017 but the relationship ended one month after we married on May 6, 2016. I couldn’t take the promises in life anymore. I couldn’t be blinded by hope either. I was a failure, and the movement of life outside seemed to mock my reality.
My name is August Rain Thomas. The only natural part of my name is the last name of my father. My mother’s idea to name me after nature doomed me from the start. I know she loved my name, but she didn’t have to live with it! I never took my husband’s last name. I felt the last name of Lander would only bring further banter from people for my “earthly name.” Maybe my decision to keep my name escalated the demise of our marriage? Or maybe this was like the rest of my life; a start with an inevitable ending.
When we separated I moved into my friend, Jesse’s, basement. He has tried to make me see that life isn’t the tragedy I live, and while his ignorance is sweet – it isn’t right. I thought he had given up trying to reach me until I got home from court today. He had a gift wrapped for me on my metal desk. The note attached to the gift said:
“August rain cools the hottest of days, and helps life we need to grow. Here is hoping you can find your benefit to this world once again.” J.
I slowly unwrapped the shiny silver wrapping paper wondering what benefit was waiting for me. It was a small box from Amazon under the paper, and when I opened the box, a small book was waiting for me inside. It was Jesus Always by Sarah Young. 365 devotions.
He has got to be joking. Really? Jesse knows how I feel about religions and their teachings, but he still found this an appropriate gift to give me? My irritation and confusion was growing when I heard the slow creek of the basement door being opened.
“Safe to come down?” Jesse asked sheepishly.
“What the hell is this?” I asked.
Jesse held his hands in the air while walking down the 8 stairs. “August, I know your heart is going through a tough time. I also know you would never choose to read this book on your own. Believe it or not – I am not trying to push any beliefs I might have on you.”
“Well, you need to take a class on how not to push because clearly life hasn’t taught you that lesson yet!” I noticed I was trying to sound more angry than I was.
“I know it can seem that way. In reality, I really want you to find your own answers before the next chapter of your life starts. If He isn’t real you will only confirm that. Or you might find the purpose that has been lost in your trials. If this doesn’t help I will take the gift back. No questions. No debates will follow your giving it back either. Promise.”
“Jesse – thank you for trying to help. You are such a good friend, so to be fair I will read a page or two. Just be ready to find a new home for it.”
“Fair enough” he said while putting his hands back in the air to surrender.
Jesse left and I held onto this purple soft-cushioned book he bought for me.
“What the hell was he thinking?” I whispered.
I ate a snack for dinner and laid on the old metal futon I was using for a bed. It creaked with every movement, and the mattress hardly softened the metal bars it rested on. It wasn’t much but it was mine. It wasn’t nice enough for anyone else to want, and I felt comfort knowing it was something only a fire could rob me of. My bed fit my life so there was hardly any use for complaining about it.
I debated to myself whether to open the book at all. I finally opened it but only because my parents taught me the annoying fact that “it’s the thought that counts.”
I skipped past the introduction and started on the “January” page. It only stated a scripture summary referencing Psalm 119:105 NLT.
“Oh darn, and I don’t have a bible to look that up” I said allowed jokingly. But then I saw another book on my end table I didn’t put there. Sure enough! It was a bible.
“You thought of everything didn’t you Jesse?” I offered while rolling my eyes.
I read the first four devotions; January 1st – January 4th.
Lesson 1: Do not dwell on the past. “Right, like I would do that.”
Lesson 2: I am your joy! “Which is why I am so happy, right?”
Lesson 3: Be still, and know that I am God. “I have always moved a lot I guess.”
Lesson 4: Find joy in Me, for I am your strength.
Each day (or lesson) had a summary of the author’s thoughts based on scriptures listed on the bottom of each page. I read four pages and looked up the scriptures on each page. Already I had done more than I committed to, so he can’t be angry, right?
My parents tried to teach me God is real, but my beliefs never matched theirs, so the teachings ended there. I appreciated Jesse caring about me enough to try to share something good with me. I suddenly realized how much that meant to me. He was a good friend with a good heart.
I noticed I felt a comfort inside of me that I had not felt in many years. I think it was because Jesse made me feel not so alone. I quickly opened the book back up to see the lesson for tomorrow.
Lesson 5: Let my consolation – my comfort – bring Joy to your soul.
“Okay Jesse. I will read for another day or two.”