The Night I Stopped Believing

As I wrote earlier this week I have been reading the autobiography “The Reason” by Lacey Sturm, the former lead singer of the Christian band Flyleaf.  It resonates with me so much, as there are a few similarities within our stories.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe my life has been much easier than Lacey’s, far less dramatic, but I can identify with many of the dark episodes in her life, which obviously bring me full cycle and back to thinking about those episodes in my life.

There are a couple of these issues I have discussed previously one this blog and will probably write about once more in the coming weeks.  But one issue I am sure I have not written about in detail, I may have touched on this in previous posts, but never gone into any detail about my feelings of that time in my history.

I know I have only spoken with a handful of people about this moment in my life, I know I spoke with Gareth about this the night he came to visit.  That night we discussed my drinking problem and how I had found myself in such a hole.  Gareth talked about the power of God and asked if he could pray for me, which I agreed too, he prayed whilst I just sat there crying.  I did a lot of crying that night, if God collects our tears and keeps them in a jar, then my jar must have overflowed and created an ocean that night.

I often site on here that the first time I prayed was a two nights after that meeting with Gareth, on a night when despite all the stress and the strain of my life at that point, I got through the night without a drink, without the urge for a drink, without pacing the house, without scratching at my arms, without continually rubbing my hands together and without breaking down, that night I prayed and I tell myself that it was the first time I had ever prayed.

But that’s not exactly true, because I had prayed once before, but I bury the memory, I try to keep in a box, hidden, why?  Because I guess I am ashamed of that memory now.

My granddad was from Poland, after suffering at the hands of the Nazi’s and then the Russians, his two older brothers were thrown into a Russian truck and never seen again, his sister then arranged for his escape to here in the UK.  We understand he was only 15 at the time, but when he got here he lied about his age so he could join the army to fight.  He never spoke much about his time during the war, although my Dad says he would cry uncontrollably when there was anything on the TV that showed the holocaust.

My Granddad lived about twenty miles away from where we live, at the time my parents didn’t drive and although my Granddad did, he didn’t own a car.  Therefore myself and my sister only saw him a few times a year, my parents would put us on the bus to Blidworth and my Nanna would meet us at the bus stop, we would spend the day with them and then they would put us back on the bus and send us home.

My Granddad was a real character, I remember he would always be in the end chair in their long living room, sat in front of the TV, with his dog Sam sat next to him.  That’s my main memory of my Granddad, because that was where I would find him everytime I went to visit.

Then one night when I was eight years old, my Dad got a phone call and I could sense that something wasn’t right.  A few frantic phone calls later, my Dad’s friend came to pick him up and my Mum came into my room to explain the situation.

My Granddad had suffered a heart attack during the day, he wasn’t well at all and wasn’t expected to make it through the night.  My Dad’s friend had taken him over to Mansfield to see him.

That night I remember through the tears, praying to God to save me Granddad, I didn’t want him to die.  My family weren’t religious, but still at that time we still learnt about God and Jesus in school, about the miracles they had carried out, so I prayed, between the tears I poured my heart out to God, to keep my Granddad alive, to make him well.

The next morning we got the news that I really didn’t want to hear, that my Granddad hadn’t made it through the night, the news that he had died hit me hard.  I remembered the prayers that I had made all through the night and decided that either I had done it wrong or there was no God.

Unfortunately my heart fell on the side of there was no God.  At eight years old your at that age where you begin to learn that all these things that your parents made you believe where real, really weren’t, there was no Santa, no tooth fairy, no bogeyman and no Easter bunny, so at that age coming with all these revelations that these things that were unseen weren’t real, then if God didn’t answer my prayer and couldn’t keep my Granddad alive, then He couldn’t be real either.  So for the next 30 years I carried that notion that God didn’t exist.

I know in Lacey’s book she has similar doubts at the death of her three year old cousin, who was murdered by his father, she simply stopped believing, reading this made me explore why I stopped too and as I suspected this was the night, back in February 1982.

When I spoke with Gareth that life changing Monday night, I said that this was one of the reasons why I stopped believing, that this prayer that went unanswered crushed any faith that I may have had.  I thought then that if there was a God, then I must have prayed wrongly, Gareth assured me there was no right or wrong way to pray.  That’s why when a woke the morning after I prayed for strength a few evenings later from that meeting, I knew that I had got it right this time and there was a God, who was there for me.

Last year I had to go through the deaths of my two Nanna’s, firstly on my Mum’s side and then just two months later my Dad’s Mother.  It was painful, but these were the first close death’s that I had experienced since my Granddad dying all those years before, back then I never went to the funeral, my parents didn’t want us to go through that, so these were the first two and only two funerals that I have been too.

I came to the conclusion that it was just their time, just like back then it was just my Granddad’s time.  His wartime experience in Poland left him with a number of ailments that troubled him throughout the rest of his life and he never stopped working down the mine at Blidworth, it was just his time to go.

It took an instant to stop believing, it then took a life changing moment to start believing.  I know that only that pain of realisation that my life was a mess and I had lost the one I loved,  brought me to my knees and a place where after looking down into the dirt for so long, that the only place left was to look up and find the light.

I buried the memories of that night over thirty two years ago, a painful memory and one that I have to say I am now ashamed of, but I feel the time is right to explore that memory, bring it out into the open and finally lay it to rest.

IN LOVING MEMORY by ALTER BRIDGE
Thanks for all you’ve done
I’ve missed you for so long
I can’t believe you’re gone
You still live in me
I feel you in the wind
You guide me constantly

I’ve never knew what it was to be alone, no
Cause you were always there for me
You were always there waiting
And ill come home and I miss your face so
Smiling down on me
I close my eyes to see

And I know, you’re a part of me
And it’s your song that sets me free
I sing it while I feel I can’t hold on
I sing tonight cause it comforts me

I carry the things that remind me of you
In loving memory of
The one that was so true
Your were as kind as you could be
And even though you’re gone
You still mean the world to me

I’ve never knew what it was to be alone, no
Cause you were always there for me
You were always there waiting
But now I come home and it’s not the same, no
It feels empty and alone
I can’t believe you’re gone

And I know, you’re a part of me
And it’s your song that sets me free
I sing it while I feel I can’t hold on
I sing tonight cause it comforts me

I’m glad he set you free from sorrow
I’ll still love you more tomorrow
And you will be here with me still

And what you did you did with feeling
And You always found the meaning
And you always will
And you always will
And you always will

Ooo’s

And I know, you’re a part of me
And it’s your song that sets me free
I sing it while I feel I can’t hold on
I sing tonight cause it comforts me

5 thoughts on “The Night I Stopped Believing

  1. Peg Richards

    What I’ve learned from similar moments in my past is to give them over to God, to learn what He wants me to learn from them & then let them go. For me, that is the way to move beyond shame into the freedom of life with God in the Truth. Blessings, Peg

    Reply
  2. atimetoshare

    What a precious story. Thank you for sharing this. Our impressions as children really make an impact on us without our even realizing them. I’m glad you have made your peace with God. He is real and he wants to help you.

    Reply
  3. Eva

    I’m sorry that you had such a tough time. I had a similar experience a few years ago in which I prayed for help with an impossible situation where I had to make a so difficult decision and no help came. I’m still clawing my way back from that one, I must say.

    Reply

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