by Kelly Doheney
I was going out clubbing. My friends and I were all meeting at Midnight Club at 11pm for drinks. We were only going to stay an hour and then take Rory’s car to drive to the Rocky Horror Picture Show at midnight when it started. Rocky was always better when you were drunk. I was meeting Kaleb and Sara, and of course, Rory. I checked if my kid was asleep. Seeing he was, I kissed him on the forehead and quietly closed the door. Adam was a sound sleeper, so I knew he wouldn’t wake up while I was gone. I was only going to be 3-4 hours at the most. He would be fine. The club was only a few blocks away, so I decided to walk. I locked the door behind me and started down the street.
As soon as I turned on 39th street, I could see my friends in line at the club. I had a thing for Rory for a few weeks. We had just met at Walmart, where we both worked. But I knew better than to get romantically involved with anyone. What we had was “friends with benefits”. We often met at his place, for a little fun. I would never let him know I had a kid. That would spoil everything. Plus, Adam didn’t need a man to be in the picture. All he needed was me. I know, I know, I am not the best mom to leave my eight-year-old home alone. But I swear, the kid doesn’t even wake up through an earthquake.
Anyway, my friends were waving me down. “We saved a spot in line for you,” Sara said pushing Rory over “You should have drove, you’re blue.” She laughed.
“Or at least wore a jacket.” Kaleb said as he took off his coat and wrapped it around me.
“Aww what a gentleman,” I said.
“MY gentlemen!” Sara said, jerking Kaleb back to her.
“Easy now, easy now, nobody is trying to steal your man,” I said, rolling my eyes.
When we got in the club, we went straight to the bar for some drinks. I ordered some shots of tequila to start me off. Tequila always sent me spinning. I needed to feel something. Anything. To escape my life, that was going nowhere fast. I mean, I had friends. I had a job. A shitty job, but it fed Adam. Kaleb and Sara went straight to the dance floor. They were planning on staying at the club longer and skipping the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I ordered a vodka and followed Rory to a table. He was drinking too, but said he was only having a beer because he was driving. So responsible.
I was getting drunk. The room started spinning. I kept insisting Rory would have another drink. I think he might have had three beers before I allowed him to say no. Rory had an issue with saying no. Suites me though. I wanted to have fun. “Let’s get out of here,” I said. “Let’s get from fresh air. It’s getting hot in here.” I didn’t wait for a no, I just pulled him through the crowd and out the door. “Now let’s go to Rocky” I said.
I spotted his car on the street and motioned for him to follow.
“I have had too much to drink,” he said. “It’s not safe to drive.” He was always the voice of reason, but this time I didn’t care. I just wanted to get to Rocky.
“Oh please, you have had a few beers,” she answered. “You are not drunk.”
Before he could answer, I got in the car and waited for him. He knew I wasn’t going to take no for an answer. “Okay, I guess you’re right.” He said, giving up the fight.
“I know I am right.” I replied.
I rolled down the window to get some fresh air and screamed out the window, “I am on top of the world!”
“Come back in the car, Rae!” He yelled.
It all happened so fast. Rory must have run a red light. All I saw was the truck. That sobered me right up as Rory tried to swerve away, but he wasn’t fast enough. I saw the headlights and then everything went black. I saw a white light in the distance. It came closer and closer until it filled the darkness and suddenly, I was in a beautiful garden. “I am dead!” I screamed. “I am really dead!” I was panicking. All I could think about was Adam. “Adam!” I yelled, as if I could do anything now.
“Adam is going to be okay,” a voice behind me said. I turned around in a second and a man was standing before me in a white robe and it was glowing. “But you might not be,” He said gently as He put His hand on my shoulder.
“Am I dead?” I asked fearfully.
“Not yet,” He answered.
“Then where am I?” I said in a state of confusion. “Where is Adam?”
“Adam is right where you left him tonight,” He said.
“I am sorry, I don’t know who you are,” I whispered with a downcast face.
“I am,” He answered.
“You are who?” I asked again.
“I am the I am” He repeated.
“Oh my God,” I said in confusion.
“Yes?” He answered.
Before he could answer, I started yelling at him. “I gave my life to you when I was just a kid,” I screamed. “And you abandoned me!” I stopped him again. “Where were you the night I was raped?” I yelled. I have never talked about that to anyone before, but since he was God, after all, I knew he would know about it. I fell to my knees crying “where were you when the thing that destroyed my life happened?” He walked towards me and knelt before me, lifting up my face to meet his eyes.
“I was right there,” he said gently. “I never left your side.”
“Yes, you did!” I yelled. “You left me!”
“If I may correct you,” He said. “You left me on that day.”
I started crying. “I was so angry with you,” I said. “I hated you! From that moment on, my life just spiraled out of control. You never helped me.”
“You never let me help you,” He said gently.
“I walked away from you,” I said. “Shouldn’t I be in hell?”
“You have never left my hands,” He answered.
“Yes, I did!” I yelled. “And you left me to spiral down a road that I couldn’t escape. I was in and out of abusive relationships. My parents couldn’t reach me. The church couldn’t reach me. Nobody could reach me! I was in and out of psychiatric hospitals. I tried to kill myself nine times. You were never there!”
Before he had the chance to talk, I continued, “and now my only escape is to get drunk as often as I can.”
“I know,” He said gently. “Why do you think you never succeeded in killing yourself?”
“I succeeded tonight,” I reminded him. “I am dead, am I right?”
“I had to talk to you,” He answered. “You wouldn’t listen to me any other way.”
“But I am dead, I can’t go back, I am dead!” I yelled.
“I am a God of second chances and third and fourth and fifth,” He said. “As many chances as it takes until it’s too late.”
“Well, I guess it is too late now, isn’t it?” I said sarcastically.
“You have forgotten I know the past, present and future,” He said. “You have forgotten about my omniscience. I know who is going to be my child and who is not.”
“So, if I was going to end up with your child anyway, why did this happen now?” I asked.
“Because of Adam,” he answered. “He needs his mom. He needs to know me, too.”
“So, you want me to take him to church?” I asked with an annoyed voice.
“I want you to stop running,” He said. “Church is the last thing I am worried about. I am worried about you and about Adam”
“Do you really love me?” I asked desperately. “After all that I have done?”
“More than you know,” He answered compassionately.
“No, I don’t know,” I said. “I don’t know anything! I don’t even know if I can believe you.”
He stepped towards me and lifted his hands to show me what was on them. I was staring at his face, hesitant to look down at his hands. I slowly looked down, and I saw the scars on them. I fell to my knees again and buried my face and cried.
“Do you believe me now?” He asked gently, lifting me to my feet again.
I buried my face in his shoulders and cried harder than I have ever cried before.
“I am sorry,” I cried, “I am so sorry.”
“My child, you are forgiven,” he said as he looked at me and smiled.
“Now what do I do?” I asked curiously.
“Now you have to wake up,” He said.
“What?” I asked quizzically.
“Wake up!” He said as He tapped my forehead.
I opened my eyes, and I was suddenly in a hospital room and doctors and nurses were all smiling at me. I thought I was dreaming, but the IV in my arm and heart monitors on me told me I wasn’t dreaming. I was back. Was that all a dream? Did I really have a conversation with God?
“We thought we lost you,” a doctor said gently. “Somebody wants to see you,” he continued.
They opened the door and my little boy came running and jumped into my arms. I was so happy to see him. I didn’t even know how he got there or what happened, but I didn’t care. I was just so happy to see him.
“I was so scared, mommy,” he said tearfully. “I was so scared.”
“Everything is okay, Adam,” I reassured him. “Everything is going to be okay.”
My life changed that day. When I walked with my son outside the hospital, I looked at the sky. I still don’t know if I was dreaming or if my conversation with God was real, but that didn’t matter. What matters was that I was changed. I never got another drink, and I took care of Adam like a real mother would, and that next Sunday, I took Adam to church. God saved my life in more than one way.
Kelly Doheney is a 44-year-old college student from Arizona. She has been a Christian since 2019.