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D's Story
The first thing I KNEW as a child was that someday when I was grown up I would live “at the beach”. During the off-season months in New England, I longed for the smell of the sea air, the sound of the surf, the seagulls, the smells, sights. As an adult I, find great peace at the ocean - I meet with my God there.

The next significant reality for me was the love of music; 8 years of piano lessons introduced me to classical music and the symphonies. Now, music is my way of praising God, and He communicates with me often through music. I learned scripture (unwittingly) after discovering a Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir CD when my husband left me. I couldn’t listen to secular music with all its love songs, etc. I have listened to symphonies and Christian praise & worship music exclusively for 9 yrs. I cannot help but hear the Lord. My heart and brain are saturated with the Word of God daily. It is very intentional.

The next sure thing in my life began also as a child - the discovery of art. I believe I was made to “create art”. My Dad was an artist at heart, I get it from him. He gave up his dream of “art” for marriage/children/family/work/providing. He died without ever realizing his dream. I wanted to go to art school after high school, by my family discouraged it because it was just a “pipe dream, impractical, unrealistic”. There was absolutely nothing else in the world that interested me, so I did not go to college, but figured that someday I would get there. Someday has come and gone twice since then.

As a single mom after my first divorce, (that ex is a successful commercial artist in California) I enrolled in a 2-year Visual Arts program. I did just one semester before being diagnosed with my brain tumor. Derailed! I remarried and my family became my life. I began to write, the drive to express myself suppressed in one area, now tumbling out in another. I have “known” for about 20 years now, that there is a book in me trying to get out. I “knew” that after the boys got off to school, it would be my turn to do the things I had put off. John and I would move to a little coastal town in New England, settle in to age gracefully, and pursue our dreams. Instead, John walked out on us. After about 7 months of crying and slipping into depression, I decided to get up and “rebuild, move forward, start over, re-invent myself” (I read many self-help books then). I guess I just wasn’t ready because midway through the first semester of my Graphic Design program, I crashed and burned, hospitalized with major depression and on suicide watch. Derailed!!

I remember thinking on the one hand that I was dumb for trying to go back to school (obviously cannot handle it), and on the other hand thinking, maybe when I’m healed from this grief… I took care of my Mom until she died of breast cancer, the boys were young men off on their own. Ironically, Patrick pursued film studies and Eric is a musician. I found myself living in what felt like a ghost town where everyone I had known and loved was gone. I knew I really had to go this time, start over, again. I chose to move to Wilmington because it was coastal, my first love; it was warm, had a thriving arts community, a creative energy, a place where I could be anonymous and reinvent myself. A college town! Woo-Hoo!!!!

With an undiscovered deficit in my survival skills, my first year here was incredible. It all fit the picture in my head; the sea air, the perfect apartment, the creative spirit in me resuscitated and, oh what freedom to finally be able to be who I am!  My second year got rocky financially and stressful at work. My blood pressure shot through the roof as I began to lose my footing in all areas of my life. I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, but only barely before I was fired.  Additionally, I became aware that my brain just wasn’t working right. After extensive neurological testing, yup, I was right.  My head does not have the capacity to manage the tasks required for my survival.  I’ve ended up homeless when I should have been sitting on my nest egg about to retire.  

The last 3 years in Wilmington have been a nightmare as I see the future slipping away as I age. I’m afraid I will die without ever having expressed what God has placed within me to do. I am the foolish steward who has not used the talents given to him.  I do not need my brain to hear God in the music I love, to paint, sculpt, write and photograph. I need my brain to survive, pay the bills, manage my life, work! yet those skills are very compromised.

My dream life? (Modified version, of course). To live near the sea, in a 2 bed apartment or a little bungalow, where my senses are wide open, painting, sculpting, crafting, writing, maybe taking online classes. To not have to worry about the areas of my life that I cannot manage. Some one else can pay the bills, manage the money. To write my book. To learn to dance, play the violin! To work with people in some capacity (care planning, case managing? pastoral care?) To visit the sick and dying (the elderly?).  To feel safe again. To just be who I am supposed to be before it’s too late.

I watch the birds a lot, especially in the early morning. The sun begins to come up and they sing. Why? Because that is what they were made to do. They don’t think about it or analyze it. God created them to sing, they wake up, and they sing. I want to be like the bird.

First Fruit Ministries has given me the opportunity to rebuild, plant, grow.  To work through the obstacles until another way is found for me to do life using my talents.  I had nowhere to go and you took me in, you covered me, and you helped me find my way.  Thank you for being a light in the darkness.   
-- D.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2017