“A mind, once stretched by a new idea (or experience) never returns to its original dimensions” American Poet Ralph Emerson once said, and that is just how it felt at age 16.
I was living in Seaview Gardens, an inner-city community in Kingston, Jamaica.
I had just been returned to my Mother’s house by my older sister after living with her for two years.
It was a hard adjustment to make because while living with her I had grown accustomed to a new way of life.
There were so many things that were coming at my mind. I felt as if I could not think straight and I sunk into depression.
There was a spark in me however that made me feel as if things could get better, that I could rise above the living conditions and negative circumstances.
I decided to actively seek ways to make that happen.
“Maybe if I get into a children’s home I can leave” I thought.
One day I walked to the Police Station in the community.
I stepped in and saw a Police Officer standing at the counter with a huge book before him.
I walked up, said hello and asked, “what would I have to do to get into a children’s home?”
He didn’t seem disturbed by my question. Instead, he explained that I would have to be a bad child and my mother would have to report that she could not manage me anymore.
I realised that I didn’t qualify because I wasn’t bad enough. The biggest issue my mother had with me was perhaps that I was too opinionated.
I went back home wondering what else to do.
It was summer and my best friend’s Aunt had gotten a job for me at her company.
The following day while leaving for work I took my school bag with some clothes.
I was not going to return home.
My plan that day was to call a children’s home directly and ask them to take me.
When I got to work I grabbed the telephone directory, skipped to the section with all the numbers for the homes and hid in an empty office to make the calls.
The first call I made sent my plan up in flames.
“Why yu waa leave yu madda likkle gyal…!? (why do you want to leave your Mother little girl…?)” screamed the woman on the other line.
I hung up and didn’t bother to call the other numbers.
I felt so very defeated that day because everything that I was trying was failing.
I wanted a way out, I wanted things to get better but it just seemed as if there were so many road blocks before me.
I wasn’t aware at that time that the hand of God was on my life. I didn’t know that God saw me and that He knew of the struggles and everything that I was going through.
I didn’t know that He was making a way when my plans seemed to be failing. I didn’t know that my future was before Him and that the promises that He had for my life were alive and well.
I didn’t know of plans that He had to prosper me and not to harm me, to give me hope and a good future.
That’s just what He did.
I started school after my summer break and one day while standing with a group of girls after school I tossed out the most random question.
“Who me can come live with? (who can I come and live with?)”
Surprisingly, a girl offered to ask her mother and within weeks I left to live with them.
It wasn’t to a Children’s Home and it wasn’t to a man’s house which could have caused more problems for me.
Though there were challenges in the new home which made me cry many times, I was positioned for things to shift for better in my life and it did.
I thought of all of these things recently, about how God sees us, that He knows us and that even before we know it He is making a way.
Where you are right now you may be going through some challenges. You may be trying to find a way out but everywhere you turn there seems to be a roadblock and you do not understand why.
I am using this aspect of my story to say to you that you never know what could happen. You never know what could happen in just a few hours, months or years. God has the power to turn things around.
As we go through our respective journeys we must keep believing. No matter how things may look we must continue to trust God, and while doing so boldly seek a better life for ourselves.
Good things can and will happen. Just believe.
[About the Author: Sandie Heron is a Radio Presenter/Producer on Roots 96.1FM, a community radio station founded by the Mustard Seed Communities. The programme which airs every Friday at 12:45pm tells the stories of citizens in Kingston and other communities in Jamaica and overseas who remain positive and who beat the odds despite desperate circumstances.]
See interview with Author Paul Blake on overcoming negative labels below: