Right now, there’s approximately 4 pounds of candy in my apartment that I don’t know what to do with, a giant 4 foot blow up baby zombie, and enough leftover hard seltzers to feed an army.
A very tipsy army…
Yep…I had…a Halloween party.
A Spooky shindig. A ghoulish gathering. A frightful function. A seasonal soirée.
My special gentleman, Steven and I threw it together, at my little 500 square foot studio apartment in the Village. And if you’re wondering why there and not his glorious – and spacious – apartment in the sky in midtown, the answer is that the Village is The Place To Be on Halloween in Manhattan. It’s the site of the annual — and notorious — “Halloween Parade,” and the brownstones go all out with decorations for the kiddos, big and small.
We dressed up — in a very last minute decision — as a Roman princess and a gladiator. And, I must say, we were quite the duo.
But it was such a fun night. (I mean, look at my face…can’t you tell!?)
There were around 20-21 people there — yes…it was literally standing room only — and everyone said it was a blast.
The party lasted until 1:30 am, when the final five brave souls and I headed out to a club where our friend was DJ-ing.
And wow. That was quite the sight. So many people, all dressed up in costumes, dancing to the best latin music in the city. And we closed the place down.
So, yeah…safe to say…I am exhausted today.
ANYWHO – that is not the point of this post.
As I was cleaning the apartment yesterday, and Lysol-ing every surface, down to the light switches in the bathroom, I found myself reflecting on my socially-full weekend, and the state of my overflowing-heart. (I mean, I hadn’t stopped smiling all day!) And what came to mind, was a verse that I have held close to my heart, ever since I battled anorexia in high school.
It was shared with me by the naturopath I was seeing, Dr. Bill – he is this incredible Christian man, who not only introduced the Specific Carbohydrate Diet to me when I was in my most recent Ulcerative Colitis flare back in 2010, but he also was with me every step of the way during my anorexia in 2006/2007.
And though I never admitted to having an eating disorder, (and was actually lying to all the doctors, saying that the weight loss was some mysterious complication from Ulcerative Colitis), looking back now, he could see that I was under severe spiritual attack. And I believe he could see all along that – not only did I have an eating disorder, but that the enemy was actually the culprit behind it. And I say that because he had my mom and I go to the spiritual healing service he held at his evangelical church. He would pray over me. He would invite me to pray with him. And he also shared this verse with me…
Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see.”
He had been planting seeds of healing in my heart, long before I knew I needed it.
But why did my Halloween party of all things, make me think about this verse in the Bible?
You see, one of the things that most people don’t realize or appreciate about eating disorders, is the devastating effect it takes on your social life.
I spent those two years in high school isolating myself — never returning a phone call or answering a text message from my friends. I just wanted to be alone with my disease, not accountable to anyone, able to just sink further and further into the depths of the anorexia that was slowly — and very publicly — killing me.
And that’s the other thing that is never talked about in regards to anorexia — primarily because no loved one would ever have the nerve to actually say this to the sufferer, for fear of retaliation or sending her further down the rabbit hole — but the way an anorexic body looks scares people.
There. I said it. And the only reason I can say it, is because I’ve been that girl that people would gawk at.
People feel acutely uncomfortable — disgusted even — around someone so deathly skeletal. The hollow cheeks. The sunken eyes with a dead, vacant look behind them. The gray, taught skin that reads “72” instead of “18.” The sinewy arms with veins protruding sharply from ice cold, bony hands. I could go on….
Bodies suffering from anorexia are terrifying to look at. They are highly disturbing. And so people stay.
I went from being on the homecoming court with more friends than I knew what to do with, to a mere shell of a person. I was empty in every sense of the word. And alone — and that’s how I wanted it.
And after adopting recovery, rebuilding those relationships was difficult. And most never recovered. The important ones did, and the gratitude I have in my heart for those people knows no bounds.
But to say that I had such a deep longing for friendships is a gross understatement.
Coming out of that terrible season of destruction and pain, I longed for friends. I desired so deeply to be back to that goofy, fun-loving, full-of-life girl I “used to be” before the anorexia.
And I prayed to become her once more. Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see.”
That’s what Dr. Bill explained that day, sitting in his office during one of my visits during my anorexia: That Jesus knows the longings of our hearts, and we can be absolutely certain that, even though we do not see it right now, Jesus is working in the background, and will make it come to be.
And so today, cleaning up after such an affirming weekend — filled with literally an apartment bursting at the seams with friends who I can be that goofy, spontaneous, fun-loving girl again with — I just smiled, knowing that Jesus keeps His promises. He is always giving His children good things, and answering our deepest longings.
We truly have an amazing Father.
One final thing to close on the weekend….which is right on theme for the night.
That Sunday after my party — i.e, yesterday…Steven and I went to Mass in person at this beautiful church in my neighborhood that, in the 10 years I’ve lived here, I have been to church there every Sunday, minus the “Covid years” where I went online.
But this was the first time that he and I had been together. It is a beautiful, historic church that has the most incredible choir, and amazing priests with such powerful homilies.
Anywho — every Sunday, not only would I always get “dolled up” hoping to, perhaps, “casually bump into” a nice Catholic gentleman, but I would sit in those pews and pray to one day, not be sitting there alone, but with a good man who loved me and loved God.
And sitting there yesterday, next to this great man, hearing those beautifully familiar songs echo in that majestic cathedral ceiling, I again, recalled Hebrews 11:1. And I told Steven exactly that: that today was an answer to prayer. He makes me feel safe to speak my heart to him, and I could not be more blessed.
But I wanted to share these things with you tonight – in lieu of, say: and article about Facebook’s new name, or any other “listicle” that is November-appropriate — just to remind anyone who needs to hear it, that no situation is ever a “dead end.” Not for God.
Even after throwing my life, nearly completely away, without hope, without hair, and without a plan – God still know the longings of our deepest hearts and loves us enough to always bring them to fruition. It may not look the way we may envision. But He brings together all things for good for His children. Even if it takes years, He is always working. And as it took with me, it took a willingness to surrender, and a willingness to let Him love me, in order for those things to come about.
But nothing — no person, no situation, no relationship — is irredeemable.
Because as it turns out, God is in the business of miracles. 🙂
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
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