I had been drinking a lot of wine that night, but then I always drank a lot of wine. As soon as I got home from work I practically tore out of my uniform and went for a drink. Wine in Italy was as cheap as soda. I could get a bottle of fragolino for around 3 bucks. I liked to keep it classy. Then there was the occasional Boone's farm if I was feeling super trashy. I am not sure what or how much I had to drink that night alone in my room, but I wasn't passed out yet.
My mother had humiliated me yet again. Thousands of miles away she managed to insert herself into my daily life. I had made it plenty clear when I enlisted that I wanted away from her and my dad. They were both dysfunctional and drove me to the edge of my sanity. I had to get out, but here she was again. Sticking her nose in my business. She was relentless.
My first sergeant had come to see me at work that day. I was sure I was in trouble which I so eloquently blurted out followed by a few choice expletives to impress my all male coworkers. It wasn't easy being taken seriously by a group of guys who were sure that you were an idiot before you ever had a chance to open your mouth. All you had to do was be female to be completely useless in the maintenance field. I was constantly harassed and belittled and tried desperately to prove that I had the brains to do the job. It didn't matter though. Unless I was going to date one of them they didn't really care.
My first shirt was a tall Hispanic man. He was always cheerful and upbeat. He began asking my about my past. Where was I from? Did I go to church? All really weird questions from a man I had only spoken to in passing. He invited me to church and told me about his own struggles in the military. He told me how important this group of believers was to him and that I should consider going. My mom was very concerned about me.
My parents were pastors from the time I was five years old. They swept us off to Germany to pastor a church outside an army base for about 5 years. All I wanted was my grandma. I hated being there. My parents made many friends and I met a man named Bob Moore. I thought little of the whole experience once we returned stateside as our lives went down the toilet in almost every way conceivable. I had not thought much of it until that day talking to my first sergeant on the pic nic tables outside my shop.
"Your mom called up Bob Moore. Do you know him?" he asked. Of course I knew who he was. "She asked him to find out which servicemen's center was near your base. So Bob called our pastor and our pastor asked around and found out you were in my squadron. So here I am." I was dumbfounded. As soon as I got off work the drinking started. I had to get that day out of my head.
So in my state of heavy intoxication I decided to go for a walk. I walked under the concrete bridge toward the other end of the base. I walked past the chapel and heard music. I always stop and listen when I hear music. It sounded familiar and I was bored so I went to the chapel door. I peeked inside and saw that a service was going on. I slid onto the back row and listened. I don't remember anything he said that night, but when the pastor gave the altar call I went down. I cried my eyes out not knowing what would make this miserable life any better. I still had to go to work the next day. I still had to deal with all my problems. I was still pretty drunk. I looked up and saw my first sergeant. I had "stumbled" into his church.
The people I met there were warm and welcoming. They became my family and helped me weather the rest of my time in that god forsaken job. Things got much worse before they got better, but I don't know what I would have done if I hadn't had those wonderful people to lean on and a nosy mother that wouldn't be deterred. How different my life would look. I look back at that moment and know it was not coincidence. It never is. It never ceases to amaze me that I find God waiting where I least expect him. He was at the end of a drunken walk playing my song.