“It was depressing staring at my half-painted bedroom wall- another project still unfinished.
Deep, dark blue and throw-up yellow, just like me: Half the time I was dark and blue and the other half I felt like throwing-up with nausea and stomach pain.
How did I even get in this situation?
I was scarcely 19 with a tiny baby and a husband who regularly used my body as a punching bag to release his pent up tension. How did I blunder into this life of violence with no phone and no car, cut off from my friends? I couldn’t eat without pills to calm my stomach. I couldn’t sleep without pills to induce sleep. Roy Orbison’s haunting song voiced my feelings : “Only The Lonely”.
I lay in bed mindlessly, trying to put myself to sleep with the drone of the T.V. Nuts! The shows were preempted by some crusade… this Billy Graham thing was even on the billboards. I left it on, too lazy to get up and change the channel. Man, there sure were a lot of people packed into that stadium. The men, looking well pressed in their suits and “Christian clean, ” paraded up to the microphone: one by one talking about God while the choir sang about God. Yeah, yeah God.
I had declared myself an agnostic. I would have liked to believe in God, but I wasn’t sure He even existed. It all sounded good on TV and in songs, but I figured talk was cheap and it was all a bunch of hype. All of these thoughts swarmed in my head, yet I was compelled to keep watching and listening.
After awhile the big guy himself, Billy Graham, came to the microphone. His eyes looked clear and direct, rather intense in a “what you see is what you get” kind of way. I liked his strong chin that belied his soft southern drawl lilting into my bedroom. Something about him drew me in and I listened as he asked people to come forward and accept Jesus. I really didn’t get that part for myself because I wasn’t too sure about what I believed. The song “Just as I Am” blended into the background like wallpaper, setting the stage as Billy’s soothing words kept flowing like honey about how God loves me and accepts me just as I am. Billy even spoke to those of us watching TV and said we could accept Jesus and God in our hearts right then.
I had begun to ponder how that could possibly happen when tears began streaming down my face. I didn’t hear Billy Graham or the TV anymore. All of it was muted by the strong sense of presence right in my bedroom, a presence so all-pervasive I felt nothing but smoothness and peace where a moment ago there had been nothing but roughness and pain.
My whole body seemed to melt as if thawing from an ice age. I felt alive and-can it be-actually hopeful for the first time since I could remember. A misty fog wafted into my bedroom, absorbing the dark blue and vomit yellow that was my bedroom that was coloring my world. In its place shone gold and violet. I felt love in every part of my being, and my tears kept pouring. So powerful was this feeling of gold and violet, of all that is sweet and calm, that I felt totally wrapped in peace.
I sobbed from the depths of my being with relief and, surprisingly acceptance that God really does exist.
I was not lost and was definitely not alone.
The Presence, which I knew without a doubt to be God, was with me and in me. I felt this.. this loving mist, this color and smoothness in every part of me. Truly, nothing existed but me and the Presence, soft and strong and gentle all at once. Time stopped as I experienced a profound communication that penetrated far beyond words or anything known to me. I received a deep understanding that I was loved and accepted no matter what I had done or what had been done to me.
From that instant I was changed….”
- David Paul Doyle interview of Adriane Romano in “When God Spoke To Me”