A Long Road Ahead
Jake’s mother came over and left her colorful, trendy jewelry on his coffee table. When I saw it the next day I wanted an explanation from Jacob. I realized later that she left it purposefully. It was a childish ploy to make me think that something was going on between Jacob and another woman.
A few nights later I stood upstairs in the loft of Jacob’s home. I was in complete awe as I watched Jacob slowly pace back and forth downstairs.
“Get my rent check Jacob and hurry up! I’ve been calling you all day! Why haven’t you answered the phone?” yelled his mother.
It was 10:30 at night and I was at Jacob’s house following our dinner date that evening. His mother had showed up at his home unexpectedly and she forcefully made her way inside the house. I watched in amazement as she literally pushed through Jacob to enter the dining room of his home.
“Ouch!” Jake yelled as the door violently rammed into his forearm.
“Let me in! I’m really mad at you!” she replied.
I carefully studied her silhouette from upstairs. She was massive, heavy-set, and scary. She had intense, dark eyes. She maintained an angry scowl upon her face at most times that communicated that she was mad at the entire world. His mother paced back and forth across the floor. She knew I was there. I watched as Jacob held his head down, walked upstairs to get his personal checkbook and wrote the check.
“Give me two hundred more than normal! I need to get my hair and my nails done!” she demanded.
“OK,” he replied mildly.
Jacob never questioned her demand of wanting the extra money. He just did as he was told. He quickly wrote the check. I knew that once his mother was inside the house the challenge would be getting her to leave. This was a challenge that Jake was never willing to face. I wouldn’t walk downstairs to greet her. I stood upstairs and watched. His face read that he was humiliated. I wondered why he wouldn’t stand up for himself and tell his mother that she was inappropriate and rude. I clenched my fists in anger.
From the corner of my eye I saw his mother quickly place something from her purse onto the couch. What was she doing? This two-minute interaction seemed like eternity. Why wouldn’t he tell her to leave? Why would a mother embarrass her son this way? Why was Jake so weak and timid? He was afraid of his mother and that was evident. I had never witnessed a thirty-year old man in complete fear of his mother. She lingered downstairs for the next twenty minutes complaining about Jacob and the fact that he hadn’t called her back after two hours. I listened from upstairs.
“When I call you, you need to answer the phone. I could be dead, you don’t know! You could care less about what I need! You’re over here just playing! I needed MY money two days ago and I told you that. You just play, play, and play! You’re so immature!” she yelled.
I watched. He flinched when she yelled at him and then he would drop his head down on his chest like an ashamed child. His mother had no regard or respect for the fact that I was there. She had no regard or respect for Jake. Jacob never defended himself throughout her loud, painful lecture. He just listened. When she finally decided to leave his home, Jake said nothing to me. His mother had a sharp grin as she walked out of the home. She had accomplished what she came over to do. She had humiliated Jake and sent a message to me. The message was that she was in control. I walked downstairs to sit down on Jake’s red microfiber couch. Something caught my eye immediately. A chunk of white cat hair was carefully and strategically placed down on the middle of the cushion. It was no secret to Jake and everyone who knew me that I was extremely allergic to cats. A small plastic bag was on the ground next to the couch. I didn’t say anything to Jacob; he wouldn’t believe this was an intentional act.
It seemed almost unreal to witness a grown adult being physically pushed by his mother. Jacob had a broken spirit. One might wonder why an adult would allow his mother to get away with such an act or why I would date a man that would allow it. The answer is complex and rooted in fate. We always want to believe the best about those whom we love in this world. I wanted to believe I could save Jacob and help him to see how abused he was in the relationship with his mother. He wanted to believe that his mother wanted the best for him and that this was a normal interaction on a normal Friday night. We were both wrong. I told him how uncomfortable and disrespectful the incident was after she left. He said nothing.
God had seen me through many challenges in my life. This relationship would continue to test my faith. I wasn’t ready to walk away from Jacob at the time even though it would have saved a lot of heartache. I was already in love and in my heart I wasn’t completely ready to say goodbye.
Not all love stories or relationships are as they appear. I believe that our purpose in going through trials and tribulations is to share our stories with others. We need to share so that others may find hope, peace and a connection to how God works in our lives. A wise friend once told me that no matter how many trips we have to make around a mountain, God will get his best out of us. I’m still learning what that means. I do know that we have to learn many of our lessons from other people. Life is too short to learn from all of our own mistakes. As I reflect upon my story, I’m reminded that life is not all about me. My story has a purpose. I want to share, encourage and inspire. In doing so, perhaps someone will learn from my mistakes.
Five years to the date after this particular incident at Jacob’s house I was sitting in my kitchen. God spoke to me in a still and quiet way. What is this all for? I thought about that question for several days and over time I discovered the reason I had experienced what I had in my relationship with Jacob. Would my story give strength, hope, promise, or peace to someone struggling with the same issues? I knew it might. I prayed and asked God to show me my purpose. I chose to minister through written word to share my experience of how God had worked in my life. I decided that day that I would no longer remain embarrassed by the heartaches, trials, and experiences I had with Jake. I hid behind what I had experienced for so long. The experiences were a beautiful part of my life because they allowed me the opportunity to learn, grow, mature and deepen my relationship with God. My relationship with God was stronger because of Jacob’s presence in my life. I am one who loves beautiful love stories. I wish fairy tales were true. Unfortunately, I have yet to witness one. I’m living proof that every aspect of love is not always beautiful. I think that some stories should be told. This is mine.
Excerpted from "Faith... Hope... Love. What If Love Could Really Conquer All?" by Cassondra Anderson Maerklen. Copyright © 2014 by Cassondra Anderson Maerklen. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.