In the wee hours of the morning on June 16, 2006 ... I had planned on committing suicide ... For a myriad of different reasons.
I was going to shoot myself in the head at the very location I'd repeatedly been molested as a child ... A cliff overlooking the Kankakee river located in the Kankakee River State Park (Illinois), a rather ironic place of beauty for such a horrendous crime to have continually taken place.
Some 25 years after I was last abused as a child ... While on my long and self-pitying way back to the Kankakee River State Park to kill myself, I was driving through a heavily wooded area with very little to no light to help guide my way when out of nowhere, a rather rambunctious and absent minded deer came storming out of the woods and into the left side of my compact vehicle, a sputtering and barely running 1997 Ford Aspire.
The result of the "accidental" collision left me with a dented car and a flat tire which only made me angrier and even more determined to end my life as soon as possible.
The deer, apparently none the worse after the "accident", just stared at me as I looked over the damage done to my vehicle before it quickly darted back into the woods like a ghost floating through a wall.
Since I didn't have a spare tire nor the faith in my fellow man to help me if I waited, I immediately started walking towards my final destination point still as angry and anxious as ever on ending my own life.
On my long, lonely, and expletive-filled walk there, no less in the middle of the bug infested spring night, I ventured into the woods to go to the bathroom and as I did so (By sheer "happenstance"), I took notice of someone throwing something from the inside of their moving vehicle, out onto the side of the road.
Curious as to what it was, I could hear "it" whimper and cry the closer and closer I got to "it".
Sadly, I discovered, it was an adorable little, floppy eared, beagle(?) puppy that didn't appear as if she would live to see another morning.
Utterly dumbfounded by what I had just "found" and was currently witnessing, I hovered over the puppy in complete shock while trying not to tear-up as I helplessly watched her struggling to breathe. It was if she was begging me with her sad, puppy dog eyes to help her as she uncontrollably shook and shivered atop tiny shards of broken glass and other scattered debris along the litter ladened ground.
Not knowing how or even if I could ease her suffering, I was overcome with an unusual but extremely emotional tidal wave of empathy and love for the near-death puppy as I carefully picked her up and carried her fragile body toward the direction of my car...which was now at least a good hour walk away.
But old habits die hard and wouldn't you know it, on my hurried way back toward my vehicle (In a crazed effort to try and save my new found puppy's life), I inexcusably got distracted by a two dollar bill I saw lying on the ground and as I slowly bent down to pick it up, I took notice of a white garbage bag and wondered how I could've missed it earlier since I was backtracking along the same path.
After giving in to temptation, like so many previous times in my life, I hesitantly stopped to take a quick peek inside the garbage bag, which contained a bunch of horror dvds, before I shamelessly picked it up with my left hand while carefully cradling the puppy in my right arm.
Approximately thirty minutes or so later and as God as my witness, just as my new found puppy and I were approaching my disabled vehicle after failing to land a ride by hitchhiking or even knowing if we would find somebody to help us ... It appeared as if someone had already changed my flat tire for me as well as leaving me with a spare (tire) and a jack.
Upon further and even closer inspection of my resurrected vehicle and the surrounding area encompassing it, followed by a frantic few minutes of aimlessly looking around for someone to thank ... I can honestly say from my lips to God's ears ... It was beginning to look like I was the recipient of a miracle ... even though I had never believed in such silly things beforehand.
So after myself, the puppy, and the garbage bag were safely inside my vehicle and on our way back home, (As I continually pondered who could have done such a overwhelmingly kind thing for me) I idiotically ran out of gas ... In the middle of nowhere ... And had no money or cell phone to make matters even worse.
"Luckily", only five short minutes had passed, after running out of gas, when a complete stranger pulled up behind my vehicle and offered to put gasoline in my car ... Which he amazingly had in the trunk of his car.
After repeatedly thanking the kind stranger for all of his help and generosity, especially when it was towards someone he didn't even know, he gently leaned towards me and soothingly said in a tone of voice I had never heard before,
"Jesus is the answer my son...
Jesus is the answer...
When you learn to love...
You'll start to live."
Some three days later, after Lily and I safely arrived back at "home", I was just about to throw away the white garbage bag I had found until a waterfall of dvds mostly involving Jesus and a children's bible came splashing onto the ground after the bottom of the bag had ripped open just seconds after I lazily began to toss it into a garbage can. The "Jesus movies", if you can believe it, were hidden inside the horror flick covers.
As the following days, weeks, months, and years passed by ... And as I continued to steadily and sometimes tearfully watch all of the "Jesus" movies from beginning to end, as well as carefully reading the children's bible from front to back, my life and my life's purpose (Amazingly enough) has never been the same ... Nor will it ever I dare assume.
And even though it's taken me almost two and half years to finally share my story with others, as I've always been afraid of being laughed at, scorned, ridiculed, or even worse yet, being called a liar, I've finally come to accept the truth despite having spent the last two plus years trying to logically and rationally explain what happened to me ...
And as far fetched as this may seem to a lot people, including myself for awhile, I'm now starting to wonder if I was saved by the "Hand" of God ... As no other explanation makes sense to me.
Bonus P.S. - Call me crazy, but if you look closely at Lily's shadow in the above picture, it reminds me of a hooded Jesus with his arms wide open, right next to a cross ...