Saturday, November 07, 2009

A Change of Heart

She held her head in her hands as the tears poured freely. He left again in a drunken fit of anger, tires squealing on the asphalt, flinging dirt and rocks from here to kingdom come. This had become an almost nightly event. Tyler Clark usually came home late, long after supper had been served, just looking for any excuse to start a fight so he could leave again to drink with his buddies.

Eliza was heart-broken and weary from the constant upheaval and drama. This was not the life she had envisioned for herself when she said yes to Tyler's proposal many moons ago. Through the years things had progressively grown worse, though she had tried everything under the sun to make things better so Tyler would want to come home instead of drinking with the guys. Nothing had worked.

Eliza could feel her heart harden like stone a little more after each disappointment. Her hope was fading fast. She wiped her face, drying her eyes. Something was welling up inside of her, a determination to create a new life for herself and the new life she was carrying in her womb, with or without Tyler Clark.

Tyler was a good man deep down, but alcohol controlled his life. He was so out of touch with reality that he had no idea yet that Eliza was expecting their first child! Eliza knew she could not go on with the way things were and she certainly didn't want to raise a baby in the midst of such turmoil. What was she to do? Who could she turn to?

For the first time in a long time she began to pray. "Dear Lord, I know I haven't spoken to you in quite a while, but I need you now more than ever. I pray that you will remove this mountain of alcoholism from my life one way or another by whatever means necssary. I can not live this way - nor do I want my baby to. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen."

She walked over to the bookshelf and reached for her Bible. It hadn't been taken down from the shelf for quite some time judging by the dust on the cover. She dusted it off as she walked to her desk. Once seated she opened the cover and turned to 1 Corinthians 7 where her eyes fell upon a passage about divorce:

"And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy."

Well, she thought, that means divorce is out of the question. In all honesty, she did not want a divorce. She wanted a happy family and to know her husband truly loved her. He told her daily that he loved her, but how could he when he made promises he couldn't keep and left her broken and hurting?

She began to pray again, asking the Lord to forgive her sins and to come into her heart. She asked Him to change her from the inside out, to make her a virtuous woman and to give her wisdom. After praying she felt a little lighter, as if her heavy burden had been lifted from her shoulders.

Eliza decided she would not spend the day fretting over the things she could not change or control. Oh, how she had tried to control Tyler, to make him stop drinking! She chased, nagged, and cajoled him mercilessly all to no avail. She realized now that the only person she could control was herself. She gave the rest of her troubles and cares to the Lord to handle. She was washing her hands of it all.

She set about her daily tasks with a renewed sense of diligence and peace while listening to uplifting music. She dusted and scrubbed her little home until it sparkled like a gem in the sunshine. When the housework was complete, she baked chocolate chocolate chip cookies and put a roast in the crockpot to have for dinner. She would add potatoes and carrots later in the day.

With her inside work now complete, she decided to go sit outside for a while and soak in the sun's juicy warmth. She must enjoy these days while she could for it would turn cold before long. She brought with her her journal, Bible and a glass of ice cold lemonade.

Eliza had kept a journal for many years now. Being able to write out her feelings and thoughts helped keep her halfway sane. If she had been unable to journal for some reason she felt she would surely be sucked down into a dark abyss. She kept her old journals locked away in her hope chest in the attic. She did not want them to be read as they contained very personal thoughts and feelings, and yet she felt she must continue. She must write or die.

When she first met Tyler she was taken aback by his good looks. He had long dark hair, hazel eyes that twinkled and long, dark eyelashes, a strong nose, and full lips, a mustache, and skin that was bronzed by the sun. He had Cherokee and Creek Indian blood coarsing through his veins. He was beautiful, plain and simple, but he was also kind, charming, and good-humored.

Despite all of these good qualities, she knew he was a party boy and was a little afraid of him. Eliza had grown up very sheltered and was not accustomed to being involved in the party scene, so she was very uncomfortable around such things and people.

But several months later Tyler had found out her number and called. They talked for hours on the phone that first night. He told her he no longer drank or partied, and she being young and naive believed him. He asked her out on a date and she said yes.

Things moved very quickly after that. It was a whirlwind coutship, to say the least. After three weeks Tyler asked Eliza to marry him and she agreed. And they married a few months later. Looking back now, she could see the warning signs. He had never really stopped drinking, but by then it was too late. Though she was now married, she felt more alone than ever.

One good thing she could say for Tyler was that he worked hard to provide for her and never asked her to go out to work. When they first met and married, neither of them had two pennies to rub together. Though they weren't rich by any means now, they always had enough. The bills always got paid and they had a roof over their heads, clothes to wear and food to eat.

Now they had a little one on the way. It hardly felt like the right time, but Eliza believed that everything happens for a reason. God makes no mistakes, so there must be a reason for her to be with child now. All she could do now is pray, trust, and believe that God would work all things out for her good. Feeling tired and slightly nauseous, she decided to go lay down and rest for awhile.

Tyler came home expecting Eliza to be upset with him. She always was these days. But when he opened the front door the smell of dinner was wafting through the air and, man, it smelled good! Eliza heard the door close and turned around with a smile on her face.

"Hey Honey! Dinner is almost ready. I'm just waiting on the rolls to come out of the oven." She sounded happy for once. "It smells wonderful. What are we having?" Tyler asked.

"Oh, a roast with potatoes, carrots and gravy served with hot buttered rolls and there is your favorite cookies freshly baked for dessert." she said. "Do you want a glass of tea?"

"Not right now. I think I'll go get a shower and get cleaned up." Tyler said. "Do I got enough time before dinner?"

"Yep. I have a fresh towel and washcloth laid out for you in the bathroom. Also, clean clothes to change into." she replied. "Thanks." was all Tyler could say before he left the room.

Eliza was really a good woman. She put up with a lot of crap from him, the late nights and drinking. He knew she didn't like it, and though he had told her a million times that he would stop, he never could bring himself to do it. The alcohol whispered his name and he couldn't resist the temptation. Like a bird caught in snare, Tyler was bound by the cords of sin.

He hated himself for not being stronger and for hurting Eliza needlessly. But he was in so much pain from his past, he sought escape in booze. It helped to relax him and made him forget his troubles for awhile. In reality, it only made things worse.

He wanted to make Eliza happy. He hated to see her upset and sad all of the time. Oh, she tried to hide it from him, but her blue eyes told him the real story. The light in them had faded long ago. He had disappointed her too many times. Could he ever make it up to her? Could he find the power to quit drinking? He didn't know the answers to those questions.

To be continued.....

Copyright owned by Tracy Hathcock


Emily said...

Wonderful!!! I can't wait to read the rest! :)

sarah said...

I love to see you writing. Ever thought of putting it into a novel?

Anonymous said...

Very good! I can't wait to read the rest of it! Kathy in Illinois

Blessedmom's Simple Home said...

Hi Tracy,
I can't wait to read the rest. This part of the story could've been written about me and my husband during our first few years of marriage. God is so good though, He does more than we ever expect. During that time, I think my prayer was just to get my husband to know Christ (you know, get him in by the skin of his teeth)but God had far bigger plans.
Thank you for your wonderful story.

Jennifer Perkins said...

I love this, Tracy.... please, when will you write more?

love, Jen

A Stitch In Thyme said...

NOT COOL... I want the rest of the story.....

Bwaaaaaaa.... I want it now......

Great writing my friend.

Penelope said...

Tracy, this is beautiful! Omg, I can't wait to read through these.

susanawee said...

Tracy, this is a beautiful story, I am going to continue reading each instalment as I find them.
Hugs Susanawee