Finding Forgiveness through Writing
By Amanda Legault
When nothing short of a match with thousands of pounds of metal sufficed to wake me up, that’s exactly what my wakeup call was – an 80,000 pound potato truck.
The mess I made of my youth and young adult life left me in a self-built prison of selfishness and desperation, and a vicious cycle of fail, repent, repeat. As I “matured” out of teen hood, I learned to make my blunders less loud. They became dirty little—or huge—secrets that owned me. This led me right up to the day that it all came to a screeching halt with said 80,000 pound truck.
The ensuing months and years of rehab were as close to being birthed as an adult sized newborn as I can imagine. Not knowing a single thing, not having any one word floating around my mind to push past my lips, unable to even fathom putting one foot in front of the other let alone standing up, this was the oblivion had become me in the blink of an eye.
It was as I grew up from infancy for the second time in my existence that my once stagnant faith grabbed me by the horns and challenged my broken body, mind, and spirit to the duel of a lifetime. This sick battle really had only two possible outcomes for my mentality. I could choose to drown in misery and be the hopeless, nearly slain victim lying in a rehab bed, or I could choose to grab my faith (and my mind) by the horns right back and not go down without a fight.
I was tormented by a swinging pendulum—ne stroke told me God could restore my brokenness, the next told me I was too far gone and He’d leave me to my shattered self. Life itself, in every moment of every day, was the hardest choice I’d ever make. Something was relentlessly screaming at me to let go of the slippery grasp I had on myself. My entire teenage existence before I woke up in hell on earth was being replayed in a few hellish months of rehabilitation.
Insurgence—this was the decade of my life that walked me right up to the threshold of death’s door. Eating disorders, drugs, alcohol, broken relationships, running away… I was tangled in a web of woes that were taunting me with the impending doom I would find in rehab. Never once in my selfishness did it occur to me that at any given moment, my heart could stop. An overdose, a heart attack, a wrong relationship…
Putting words to the turning point of my life, even years after it happened, hammered me with just as much impact as the experience itself. As I got further into writing, recalling the things that my traumatized mind managed to hold on to came with more baggage than I had bargained for. This memoir couldn’t have been written so honestly without the forgiveness that had to intercede halfway through. I had to accept the forgiveness of the beautiful people who had already forgiven me, I had to forgive other people, and I had to forgive myself. Self-forgiveness was the thing that nearly put the kibosh on the whole thing. When that exquisitely freeing moment finally did transpire, only then was I able to voice the utmost understanding I took away from dying, and then living again.
When I breathe my last, I won’t know it’s my last until I wake up on the other side. I haven’t got the slightest clue when I’m going to go. My final moment was thisclose. The wrong side of eternity is what would have greeted me.
Life on this earth can be insane. God created this beautifully complex world to be the perfect circle that it once was, but we, in our selfish humanity, utterly destroyed that perfection. Every minute, every hour, every day, each of us has to choose between an infinite amount of rights and wrongs. We always have a choice, and there are countless different compromises to be made—except one. One absolute Truth that will direct the course of our millions of endless years after our passage down here is finished. That choice needs to be made now, before we draw our last breath.
Amanda Legault’s memoir, In My Wake, was shortlisted in the 2015 Women’s Journey of Faith publishing contest. Learn more about this year’s contest, and how to submit your own faith story, by clicking here.
About this Contributor:
Amanda Legault has dreamed of being an author for as long as she can remember, and has started writing countless unfinished stories. Finally, after a story of God’s redeeming love was written on her life that couldn’t be left untold, the words poured out. She continues to work in youth ministry and is a high school educational assistant. Amanda lives in Manitoba with her husband and two children.