It took me 10 years to write my first book, a memoir, Call of the Potter. As messy as my life was, I still felt compelled to put it all, every detail, on paper. I started on a legal-size yellow pad, writing as quickly as possible with a mechanical pencil, a “Pink Pearl” eraser close by. Ten years seems like a long time. But for me, the risks I took, the times I failed to think, the life-changing mistakes I made—followed by safe decisions, attention to my actions and fewer mistakes later on—required more than a trivial approach to the book. Better mental health and renewal occurred while drafting the book. A therapeutic experiment needs time, months, years, 10 years to be exact. Despite lengthy bouts of self-imposed misery and tear-jerking drama, watchful joy would eventually mix itself into the difficulties of a chaotic life. My life.
As a snotty, know-it-all, fearful, combative young child, wearing glasses from age six, comprehensive counseling seemed logical. However, in the early fifties, discussing your peculiar child with a myriad of weaknesses caused parents to tremble at the idea. Instead, my parents got me a dog to play with since asking a friend to play with had not happened. Oh my. No friends. Perpetual sadness. Bea, my liver-and-white-springer spaniel kept me company while the remainder of the family lived their own normal way.
When Bea ate the high tops of my dad’s work boots, he kicked her down the steps into the backyard. Soon after, he picked her up, threw her in the backseat of the car, and drove off, while I watched from the front window, crying. He came home without her. As we ate dinner, my food watered by torrents of tears tasted salty. My Dad looked at me and said, “Don’t be such a crybaby.” Nevertheless, my invitation to go out and look for Bea also brought tears. Happiness, I had learned, was fleeting. Still, when I brought Bea into our house, my tears subsided.
Moving forward into my pubescence, neither dad nor mom asked, “Why are you so sad? Why did you crouch in the corner of your bedroom screeching at the top of your lungs? What is wrong with you?” A spinet piano and piano lessons became the next best thing to figuring me out. Oh my. An inanimate object to console me. It sounds like self-pity. It was. Self-absorption, unhappiness over one’s troubles and wallowing in self-pity are not beneficial to a young woman/child with a visible wounded psyche.
Junior High School turned me around in an unimaginable way. Irrational, without merit. The outside of me seemed less sad and less fearful, but the inside of me—not so much. After going to four different schools as I grew up in North Denver—Los Alamos—Denver again—and finally Wheat Ridge; turmoil, terror, and trust issues plagued me. Feelings of unworthiness in a new social class aggravated the combativeness and fear in me.
From the age of fifteen, when I quit high school, my life unraveled quickly. A superficial marriage, three unplanned babies and a divorce took me from madness as I spiraled down into a perilous situation. A dangerous, derogatory, and degrading second marriage followed. And another unplanned baby. How did I get into this web of uncertainty and trauma? Looking back, it seems as though I was looking for a strong connection with another person outside of my parents. Someone to share my life with. Still no counseling to vent, reveal, and find something other than me. My four children helped me focus on caring for them, which in turn caused a responsible woman/child that did all the right things. Marriage was a foolish aspiration. I gave marriage up for the rest of my life.
When my next-door neighbor chided me continuously to go on a blind date with one of her husband’s co-workers, I said, “NO, NO, and NO.” Annoyed and worn down, I finally said, “Okay” reluctantly. My blind date, although I did not know it at the time, God had created a match made in heaven—a 35-year-old single man, never married, with no family and a 24-year-old woman/child with four children. We married six months later. A bit rocky at first, the marriage grew. My new husband gladly adopted each of my children and did not insist on having a child together. I knew this marriage to this gentle, loving man was a forever union when he said, “No I think if we have a child together. We might, without thinking, favor that child over the others, and the four of them were here first.”
After living in South Korea for three years, we came home to Colorado and began attending a Bible based church. The four of us attended faithfully. We became involved—my husband went to Saturday morning Bible study, and I went to the women’s Bible study on Thursday. Over time, God worked in each of our lives, Jesus saturated our marriage with his love, grace, and peace. We soon learned that our steps to the top of our newly found love triangle brought us to Jesus and that our place at each side would produce a true Christian union. We knew that with Jesus at the top and when we each moved closer to the top, we were growing each of us and both of us simultaneously into a three-person relationship.
The ultimate surrender of our marriage to Jesus took us through unthinkable hardships. With Jesus on our side, our suffering was manageable. We and our family came to new beginnings at separate times throughout our lives together.
It is impossible for this summary to inspire others, which is one of the main reasons I wrote Call of the Potter. I also wanted my children to have a comprehensive back story of their lives with me alone and then with a loving father. The 252 pages of my book go deeply into my struggle to become whole in spirit, mind, and body, through a relationship with God.
I hope you will enjoy reading it.