How On Earth Did I Get Here?


James H. Willis, III

For 2020, we are doing a 12-month summary of my book. It is filled with unbelievable personal stories of conflict from family fights, divorces, and personal insecurities to living in a tree at 15, homeless. Later, the book recounts how the Lord’s guidance put me on the path of an overcomer! From being unloved, unwanted, and uncared for to healthy, happy, and whole.

She walked by me with a first piercing glance, and then she stopped and gave me that fatal second look. What she said next changed my life immediately and forever.

“She” was my mom, and for the past several years, I had done everything possible to stay away from home and out of her way. You see, she didn’t like me at all. I didn’t know why, at least not at that time. I know; I know; most of you, when you see your mom, go give her a hug—but not me. I had learned to run the other way and hide, anything to not be seen. It was never good for me to be in her presence — bad things always happened.

At that time, she hadn’t seen me in weeks. I was fifteen and hadn’t been home much since the awful divorce when I was thirteen. Life in our home was so violent—not just words, but actual hitting and fighting. It was a horrible place for me.

So when she gave me that first glance and walked by, I felt lucky. But that quickly changed. I was moving fast to get out of her view, but not fast enough. With that second look, she glared at me and said, “You look just like your father. I hate him, and so I can’t stand to look at you. You need to leave and never come back!” I was fifteen.

But where would I go? What would I do? How would I take care of myself? Those are all what I call “physical questions.”

But the questions that broke my heart, the questions that haunted my soul, and the questions that had no answers were the “relationship questions.” Why did she hate me? What was wrong with me? What had I done wrong? Why didn’t anybody love me? My dad had disappeared from my life, my older sister hated me, and we physically and verbally fought all the time. And now my mom. I couldn’t believe it was happening. Who does that to their own child? I was fifteen years old and homeless.

I had some major insecurities in my life. I had anger and even rage inside of me. I felt completely horrible in every way, even embarrassed. I kept this “family secret” close to my chest.

I felt completely unloved, unwanted, and uncared for. I found myself emotionally and physically hopeless, helpless, and now, homeless. You are probably wondering where I went. What did I take? You can’t even imagine all my thoughts. My brain just clogged up.

I grabbed my bike and peddled away, never looking back. I was riding hard, not really paying attention to where I was going. After a while, I noticed I was heading toward the woods. I grew up playing in the woods or on the water—my only happy times and places. At that moment, I knew at least one thing; I knew where I was going. I would gather my stuff and go way, way back in the woods and live up in the “Big Tree.”

These articles contain an abbreviated version of my stories. The stories will continue next month!!!

See page 11 of the Gazette for how you can get the book!


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