From Good Friday to Easter Sunday: The God of life
The amazing thing about the Christian life – negotiating the many chasms of our human experience by carrying our individual crosses daily in the sure hope that this is not all there is – is the Easter moment.
Jane (not her real name) has spent the last several years in the New Orleans area working for a national company that compiles telephone directories for church parishes.
The commission-only job doesn’t pay a lot. But it’s the best job she’s ever had.
To appreciate that, Jane sits down and reflects on her life. A Shoshone Indian, Jane was born in Nevada, near the Bonneville Salt Flats, and she experienced a life of unspeakable horrors.
“Some of the times I inflicted on myself, many at the hands of others,” Jane said.
Her father was an alcoholic who regularly beat and cheated on her mother.
When Jane was 11, she knew something bad was about to happen. In a drunken rage, her father grabbed her mother, beat her and dragged her out of the house, which was located below the small town’s police station.
Intuitively, Jane had a vision. “I knew what my dad was going to do,” she said. “He was going to kill my mom.”
Jane waited until she heard her dad’s truck drive away into the night and then ran upstairs to alert the police.
“Go to 3-Mile point, and you’ll find them,” Jane told the officers. “You’ve got to hurry.”
As it turned out, the truck that could have gone anywhere was exactly where Jane had told the police. They were able to stop a potential murder/suicide.
“I just know the whole thing was God,” Jane said. “My dad that night was going to kill himself. He had a gun to his head and it backfired. From that moment on, he accepted Christ, stopped beating my mom and stopped cheating on her.”
Jane’s struggles, however, were far from over. Her brother committed suicide at the age of 17. Her mother heard the gunshot outside the house and was the first to find the body.
Consumed with grief, her mom was never right after that traumatic experience. She committed suicide a few years later.
Jane’s personal life also was spiraling out of control. She married a man – like her father, an abuser – and had three children. When she no longer could put up with his abuse and drug dealing – “I was afraid social services would take my children away from me” – she ordered him to leave.
As he began to knock her around, she picked up the phone in an attempt to call 911.
“He took the phone from me and beat me in the head until he knocked me unconscious,” Jane said.
He showed up at the house at 1:30 a.m. a few months later and put a knife to her throat. “I put my head between my legs, praying that God would send someone,” Jane said.
Five minutes later, cops were at her door. “To this day, I have no way of telling you how they knew, but God intervened,” Jane said.
Jane has remarried and has told her story many times as an advocate for battered women. Her three children from her first marriage are adults.
“They know everything,” Jane said. “They’re always in awe. Whenever they need anything, they’re always calling me to pray for them.”
At Easter, Jane is thankful for her life and her faith. Her job keeps her in touch with good priests and good parishioners.
“I just want people to know God’s peace – to know that through everything that comes your way, God will see you through it,” she said.