There is one event the Lord brought to mind that I am compelled to share with you before I reach the climax of the struggle with bulimia. The role that bulimia played into this day still makes me shudder. And when Jesus recently resurfaced it and made it fresh in my mind, I knew I could not leave it out. As I have mentioned before, each post has had its own “gut-wrenching” hardships for me. But this post has been particularly difficult, as it has impacted the most people…and those who are the closest to my heart.
As many can testify, when one sins, it is not merely personal, but impacts those close by. My entire story up to this point can testify to this truth. Like a jealous lover, it had usurped Jeff’s role as husband. Like a robber, it had stolen from old relationships as well as the potential of new ones. Like a bully, it had shoved my girls out of the way, taking the last piece of cake. And while I will go on to tell how it almost took my life, it crushes me most to tell how it threatened to take the life of others as well.
The depths of the impact of bulimia on others reached its pinnacle on July 24, 2011. The day started by journeying to a used bookstore, where, oddly enough, there were also tables and tables of expired bakery goods that were free for the taking. As I was headed to my parents’ afterwards, I chose a couple items that I thought everyone would enjoy, one of which was a chocolate cake. As the cake sat on the counter at my parents, my desire for it grew. Later in the day I remember my dad calling my mom from work saying that there was supposed to be a pretty good storm that night. What should have been an exciting time to cozy up with my girls at my parents’ home turned my thoughts elsewhere. “Oh, I better take the girls home before the storm starts.” This really meant, “I better quick get home, so I can eat the entire cake by myself and then purge.”
Consumed by my wild desire for the cake, I hastily drove us back to our little house. The rain was beginning to vigorously pour down, and I almost contemplated pulling into someone else’s driveway till I could see the road better. I was driving a little Prius and was starting to wonder if all the water on the road might be too big of a job for it’s little tires to handle. But we made it home. I closed the garage and ate the cake.
As I was finishing, I heard the sirens, and my cell rang. It was my mom making sure we had heard the sirens and were heading down to the basement. I grabbed the girls and my barf bucket and headed downstairs. My heart beat anxiously. Anxiety for having bought the cake. Anxiety for having eaten the cake. Anxiety for taking my girls back to the house where we were “braving the storm” all alone. Anxiety for being too preoccupied with my purging self, rather than focusing on happily distracting the girls. I began to have thoughts of us three being found dead in the basement. All three of us drowned, with the evidence and cause for what I had done floating all around us.
I called mom, and, having detected the panic in my voice, she said she would come and get us. She arrived with one of my sisters, and we piled into her Suburban. I almost suggested going a roundabout direction that did not have so many crazy hills (Galena has some crazy hills), but we ended up going the usual way. As we were coming down my parents’ lengthy driveway, there was a tree that had fallen across the road, so we had to turn around a try a second access to our house, which was a gravel road. This way also had heavy brush strewn across it, but we managed to hop out and clear the road. Thankfully we were able to make it to the house. I was an anxious wreck. I felt the pain of putting everyone at risk so heavily. A day or two later I had my first panic attack, and I’ve wondered if it was all built up from that night.
The next morning, we learned that about a mile from my house, in the direction I was going to suggest to my mom that we take, a car had been dragged out of a creek that had suddenly risen, and both passengers were later found dead in a field nearby. The whole episode brought me so terribly low. I was overcome with everything I had done to others…to the people I loved most. It took me weeks before I could tell Jeff even a few brief details about the flood event. This was truly my lowest point. And so the stage was set for its final scene.
And like Samwise Gamgee, those who loved me had to stand by and bear the grief of watching my love and faithfulness to “the ring”grow. It had truly become “my precious”. It had brought me to the very brink of hell, and I wondered if I would follow it into the heart of Mount Doom. In the secret, I would pull out my ring, and stroke it in the darkness, lest someone might see and ask to help me “share the load”. But my time had come. My Rescuer was on His way. The Eagles were coming.