I Said a Prayer and My Life Became a Living Hell
Six years ago I was driving to work in Chicago morning traffic, watching my car wipers monotonously and methodically push the sky’s tears off the wind shield – left and right, left and right, left and right…. It was one of those late fall gray, wet, windy and cold days, when all you want to do is climb under a warm and cozy blanket, get a cup of hot tea and alternate between reading a good book, listening to the rain’s lullaby and napping.
The weather outside was a perfect match for the weather inside me…
After earning my second Master’s degree, I spent three years working multiple part-time jobs, looking for a full-time position. Life was not easy with my exhausting schedule and lots of work for little pay, and I was convinced that a full-time job was my ticket to happiness, the doorway to heaven on Earth.
Now finishing my third month at a long-sought full-time job, I was gradually beginning to realize that paradise was not going to happen. I was working very long hours through the week and was also told to come out on the weekends. I did not feel inspired, supported or intellectually challenged at work, and it felt that there was absolutely no return on any of my creative, mental or emotional investments. I began feeling more and more drained and discouraged.
Every night I came home to my husband of five years and our rescued dog. We were living in the suburbs and my commute was anywhere between one and three hours, depending on the weather and traffic. My husband had inherited some money and decided that he didn’t want to work anymore. He spent his days watching TV, playing golf, exercising, walking the dog, doing crossword puzzles and playing computer card games. Even when I was off work, we were not doing anything or going anywhere because he preferred to stay home.
That dark, cold and rainy morning, I was overwhelmed with the feelings of being stuck, caged and buried alive. After years of searching, I had reached the goal of finding a full-time job, but there was no happiness on the other side. Life seemed to be pointless, extremely tiring and no fun at all.
I was feeling depressed and hopeless, but didn’t know who to ask for help, support or advice. I didn’t want to upset my husband by bringing this up – he didn’t like any problems and just wanted everything to be “normal.” All my family and friends were still living in Russia, and I didn’t want to bother them with my problems, which they could do nothing about anyway. The connection with my Russian friends had been lost over all the years apart and I didn’t have any close friends in the USA with whom I could discuss my life challenges.
The sky was the only place I could think of to seek help from…
Even though I hadn’t prayed for more than ten years, I still knew several Russian Orthodox prayers. Driving to work that dark and rainy morning with tears running down my cheeks, out of complete and total desperation, I began reciting a prayer to the Holly Spirit:
“O, Heavenly King – the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth,
Who art everywhere present and fillest all things,
The Treasury of blessings and the Giver of Life,
Come and abide in us, and cleanse us from every impurity,
and save, O, Gracious One, our souls.”
I said it over and over again in my mind, filling the words with whatever was left of my belief in my happy future, of my hope for a fun life, of my faith that there was still something or someone left in this world – even if in an invisible form – who could make the intolerable pain go away…
In A Return to Love, Marianne Williamson describes her own moment of surrender and what followed after that:
So I went through this grandiose, dramatic moment where I invited God into my life. It was terrifying at first, but then I kind of got off on the idea.
After that, nothing really felt the way I expected it to. I had thought that things would improve. It’s as though my life was a house, and I thought God would give it a wonderful paint job – new shutters perhaps, a pretty portico, new roof. Instead, it felt as though, as soon as I gave the house to God, He hit it with a giant wrecking ball. “Sorry, honey,” He seemed to say, “There were cracks in the foundation, not to mention all the rats in the bedroom. I thought we better just start all over.”
Unfortunately, I didn’t know about Marianne Williamson or her books while I was living in Chicago, so when six months later after my desperate plea for help, I found another full-time job, I too expected things to improve. I was convinced at the time that I had hit my rock bottom and that there was no way in which things could get worse – my life just HAD to get better. I was wrong. Things got worse… Much worse…
The new job was in a neighboring state and required a move. My husband agreed to sell our condo and move with me.
After packing the whole house, scheduling movers, driving to the new place, finding an apartment to rent and signing a lease, I went to my job orientation. The moment my supervisor began speaking, a wave of shock and terror washed over my whole body: “WHAT HAVE I DONE?!?”
I knew right away that the job would be MUCH worse than the last one, but on top of that, we had lost the condo we owned, the people we knew in Chicago, the proximity of a big city with its rich culture, and the convenience and beauty of our little town, which had been voted the best town to raise a family in the Midwest several years in a row.
We were now in a tiny apartment with moving boxes stacked up all the way to the ceiling in one of the two tiny bedrooms, with noisy student neighbors, in an ugly, dirty and muddy neighborhood, in an unfamiliar small farm town, where no one even bothered to clean the roads in winter and whose biggest grocery store was Walmart. My husband continued watching TV, walking the dog, exercising and playing computer card games, and I was working even more now, with just a few hours of sleep a day, feeling like I had found hell on earth…
One day I was on the phone with my sister in Russia. She said, “You sound depressed. Are you OK?” Indifferently, I listened to the words that came out of me in response: “You know, when I wake up in the morning, open my eyes, and see where I am, I close my eyes again and mentally scream, “NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!…,” hoping that I would fall asleep again and never wake up.” My sister told me, “Why won’t you read this book? It’s called The Power of Now and the author’s name is Eckhart Tolle. I’ve read it in Russian, but I am sure you can find it in the States in English…”
Over the years, I’ve learned not to take my sister’s advice seriously, as she always has millions of suggestions, which change every day. This time I didn’t argue. After getting off the phone, I went straight to my laptop to see where I could get the book in that town. The answer was, “Nowhere,” but I could order it online to be delivered to our “super store” – Walmart.
In several days, I began reading the book that saved my life and brought true miracles into it: Just a few months later I was living in the place of limitless sunshine and working the job of my dreams. A year after that, I got out of the marriage that constricted my whole being, fell madly in love, began traveling and discovered what a precious gift this life really is…
I’ve heard many people say that their prayers don’t get answered. I now believe that all prayers are answered, but the answer often doesn’t look the way we picture it. When we ask for a change in our lives, the change comes, but it comes in divine timing and under divine circumstances, i.e. the best time, place and situation for our Soul growth, and not for our egos.
Also, when we surrender to the Power that is beyond ours and ask the Universe for happiness, we do receive it, but sometimes our lives need to be completely rebuilt first, and the number and depth of life changes that we experience is directly proportional to how far we have strayed away from our True Selves: the further we’ve gone on the wrong path, the more letting go will have to take place…
I don’t know who said it, but this is really true: “When it seems like things are falling apart, they’re just falling into place,” so the best thing we can do under the circumstances is just follow Dr. Wayne Dyer’s advice: “Enjoy the mystery! Let the world unfold without always attempting to figure it all out.” It’s going to be OK!