While I was homeless for a month, there were several thoughts that ran through my head on a daily basis. One theme kept popping up in unexpected places – Jonah and the Whale.
One day, Joel Osteen was talking about Jonah and the whale. I don’t watch Mr. Osteen very often. Okay, I had never watched his sermons before or since. However, that day I listened to his whole speech. Then I went on with the day.
At that time, my days were not filled with inspiration or any sort of happiness -not just because I was within days of sleeping on the streets. On top of the stress of being practically homeless and pregnant, I was still with my abuser.
Apparently, it’s very common for women and children to be homeless after leaving their abuser. I’m not sure how common it is for the abuser and victim to be homeless together.
My abuser and I moved from Ohio to Florida. It was my idea. It was part of a master plan to get my abuser away from my kids and I. I am not normally a liar but I lied in order to get him to go along with this idea of moving to Florida. Actually, I am a terrible liar because I can’t keep a straight face. I was Jonah and hooked this whale with my big fat lie.
Obviously, the plan was not going according to plan. It was not in the plan to end up homeless. I had two problems: no money and an abuser in my face 24/7. I was Jonah and could not get rid of this whale.
The second thing that happened that spoke to me was a woman from a church was giving her testimony. It was for me I had no doubt. Basically, she said, “Leave him. He is not for you.Go home.” I’m paraphrasing but that’s what I heard. It’s what I needed to hear again.
About a month into being homeless, a minister came to the homeless shelter to preach. Guess what his sermon was about that day? Jonah and the Whale. The point of his sermon was that some people have a whale. The whale could be drug addiction, insecurity or whatever is holding you back from really living a good life.
I knew it was time to leave for good. It was time to let go of my whale; otherwise, he was going to suck the last bit of life out of me and our unborn daughter.
I called the domestic violence shelters but they would not accept me because I was not officially a Florida resident yet. So it was time for me to put aside my few scraps of pride and call someone from back home.
My phone contact list consisted of all female names, in case my abuser looked through my phone. The only male on the list was my dad.
I made a phone call to Uncle Vicky the next day. Uncle Vicky was friends with my mom. My mom and I weren’t speaking. I didn’t call her because I was ashamed of being in this relationship. It was also important that I didn’t cry. My abuser was super suspicious of everything, even when it was nothing.
My mom, who is normally a kind, generous person, wanted to run over him with her car and rightly so. He brought nothing but destruction and toxicity to our lives. Also, I’m pretty sure he killed the cat when he threw a baseball at it.
Uncle Vicky and I made arrangements for me to come back to Ohio by the end of the week.
I left the whale at 3 a.m. in February 2008. He called every name in the phone that I left behind at 5 a.m.
I do not regret tricking him. I do not regret leaving him hundreds of miles from his family. The plan was a bit extreme but I would do it all again. It was something I felt truly led to do.
It was the beginning of a new life for me and youngest daughter. I had to rebuild every relationship that I had including my mom, my two older daughters and my dad. Nothing was easy when I returned but I’m glad I came home.