I first met writer Linda Bello Ruiz at a Northern California Publishers and Authors meeting when she was giving an elevator speech for her memoir From Tears to Triumph. Part of her book tells of her rescue work in South America with teenage prostitutes. Because I worked with homeless teens for eight years I was immediately interested in her story. I was not disappointed.
I’m thrilled and proud to have Linda as a guest blogger on my site. I’m prouder still to be able to say that this incredible woman has become my friend.
I asked God for a sign; and then I resisted it.
We all have a story. Here is mine.
At the age of twenty, I sat on a San Francisco beach and looked honestly at my young tumultuous life. As the waves broke on the beach, a vision rose before me. I felt as if my identity, dignity and dreams had been plunked into a blender and now lay at my feet, shredded beyond recognition. And although I couldn’t articulate the depth of my despair, I knew the consequences of my life choices were staring me straight in the face.
In a two-year period, I had left home in a rush to be free and independent, been kicked out of a boarding house for breaking rules, hooked up with a man I hardly knew, listened to no one’s advice, allowed the man to humiliate me time and time again, stood on a street corner to prostitute, been beaten up and run for my life, and, had even aborted an innocent child. Where could I put all of this hurt and shame?
I saw myself running around the rim of an empty jar, wanting so much good from life, but never jumping in, never totally committing myself to good. My hope for a life as I’d once imagined it collapsed under the weight of my bad choices.
My eyes followed a young man as he walked into the waves and my thoughts turned to death. Wouldn’t it be easier just to walk out into the ocean and keep walking until I drowned? Wouldn’t it feel better to die and silence the accusing voices in my head—those voices that called me a no-good loser, a nobody, a baby-killer?
At that moment, I cried out inside, God, if you’re real . . . show me.
Over the years, I periodically thought about God, but shut the thought down—too scared to even think that God might be real and not just a childhood fairy tale. For years, I had walked alone trying to find my own way, only to end up battered and shattered on that San Francisco beach.
I stared out into the vast ocean, feeling small and insignificant. “Please, God, show me you’re real. I want to know,” I cried. Having hit bottom, with no place to go, I dared Him to show me His existence.
Within moments, I heard guitar music and young people singing. I opened my eyes and looked around. A group of eight hippie-looking kids were walking down the beach in our direction. They drew near and in groups of two or three talked with people on the beach. A dark-haired man in shorts and tee-shirt, along with a smiling young woman wearing a granny skirt and a colorful peasant blouse, sat down on the sand next to me.
She took off her sandals, scrunched her toes into the sand and smiled. “Hi,” she said. “My name is Joy.”
Linda’s award-winning memoir can be purchased at Amazon or from her website at www.lindabelloruiz.com. Trust me, this is a story that will touch your life and inspire you to believe in miracles. I speak from personal experience.