To Walk Away
A Short Story based on Scripture
By Kerri Phelan
Sneaking out like a thief in the night. She’s leaving with only the clothes on her back and an airplane ticket knowing how this action, this decision, will change everything and everyone she knows. Especially the children. They will never, and can never be expected, to understood how she just walked away.
There’s no gossip here. No immoral acts or secrets being taken with her. It is simply what she needs and wants to do. For an empty soul, spiritless and dead inside. She knows this will change her. If she returns, she will be the mother she should have always been. Capable of the love she was intended to give.
But for now, she slips out the door, having left a note that simply says, “I love you and I’m sorry. All will be explained.”
His newborn eyes, gazing into hers so full of love and need. She looks into his. She loves him with all of her heart. He is her all and her everything. Her beloved boy. She cannot love herself though, as she loathes her reflection and pleads for Gods mercy.
She puts him down for a nap, kisses his forehead and leaves the room. The flood of tears begin. As always the questions appear with the tears. Why am I so unhappy? Why am I so tired? Why am I so alone? Sleep is lacking, eating is scarce, fear is overwhelming.
Waiting for her husband to come home so she can be wife and not mother for a moment. Sadly, being wife is over. Mother forever.
Leaving the house as quietly as possible as not to be seen by the closet peeping toms and tootsies she moves quickly in the darkness. She knows where she is going and has a long journey ahead of her. She is determined to complete the journey or die trying.
Her realization of having to make this decision all began during Lent the year after the birth of her fourth child. Being a faithful Catholic, she did all the things necessary of a good Christian. She attended mass on Sunday, went to confession, didn’t eat meat on Friday and gave up her one cigarette a day habit for those forty days.
For all purpose and appearances, she was the perfect Christian wife and mother. But, as we all know, appearances are deceiving and the secrets we keep eventually eat through our spirit and we become ugly. She had become ugly.
In her thoughts and in her hatred of having to be mother. Nothing was as pleasing as being left alone.
“Just leave me alone!”.
She would scream as loudly as possible in the faces of her children yet not saying a word. She would never say a word. They would never hear or see her anger. She would just submit and the noise in her head, the screaming and the intolerance eating away at her.
In mass one morning, she heard the story of Jesus, John, Peter and James going up Mount Tabor to pray. The story continued as Jesus was met by Elijah and Moses. A cloud appears and in the cloud God says to them,
“This is my chosen son; listen to him.”.
The priest continues his homily explaining how difficult this walk up the mountain was and how spiritual a journey it was for anyone who made it.
What she heard was how this priest’s journey strengthened his gratitude and spirit and knowledge that God is the one truth and the only light we should seek. She wouldn’t forget this story as she felt she was always walking up a mountain. Struggling.
As always she went to mass alone as no one in her house felt it necessary. She would begin to explain to her husband the homily and he would pretend to listen intently while watching his little television or looking at his cell phone.
This was the dilemma she had. This was her suffering. To know God and to want Jesus in the hearts of the ones she loved, but realizing she could not get them there. It was their choice.
She loved her family with all her heart and gave of herself freely. She cooked for them and bathed them and clothes them. Yet in her her heart she felt alone. Regardless of constant prayer and begging for a change of heart she could never totally commit herself to being grateful of the gifts she had.
Always something missing, always something pulling her out of reality.
What would happen next would make clear what she needed to do.
She was in the laundry room in the basement. Folding the clothes intently and daydreaming. She heard something as clear as the the dryer rumbling say,
“Climb the mountain.”.
“What?” She looked in the other room where her husband ran his business from.
“What? Did you ask me something?”
She went into his office to find no one there. She went upstairs yelling out a hello to find the house empty.
“Climb the mountain.”
There it was again. She wasn’t imagining things. In one fail sweep, as if the weight of fifteen years of self hatred and self pity was pulled off her shoulders, she realized that it was Him.
It was God!
She had praying intently for guidance and acceptance. She had been fasting and devoting herself to God and family. How could this be the answer?
Climb the mountain?
She knew exactly what the mountain was and what the message was suggesting. But to go and climb a mountain, leaving all of her responsibilities, her children, her husband behind.
Yet, how could she ignore the voice of Himself? The voice she has been seeking her entire life?
Thy will be done.
This is what she thought to herself.
Ask and you shall receive.
Seek and ye shall find.
All the messages she always read.
She makes her decision and begins to prepare the house, the frozen meals, the clothes, the arrangements.
As she prepares these things, she says nothing. To tell of her plans would be a mistake. It would become tainted and discouraged. No! She would do this. She would do this alone and with the guidance of her true Father. She would do it! Who would believe her anyway?
She does what He has commanded.
Would she find the answers she so desperately seeks?
Would she come home and be greeted with the same love she is walking away from?
Would her journey up the mountain that Jesus Himself walked make a difference in her life?
These answers she would only find upon completion. Faith is following His command and not knowing the outcome.
She would go.