I was sitting underneath a willow tree on the day I finally decided to listen. It was a clear, crisp, and cloudless California afternoon. There was hardly any wind, and the sun was perfectly placed in the sky. It was gorgeous. I had just meandered off and into the park, because I couldn't keep my mask from falling at the party; I was beginning to feel for the first time in years and it was hard to contain.

The previous few months had been horrendous. The abuse was rampant, insidious, and malicious. Worse than it had been in some time. I kept trying to understand what had spurred it on, why the pain was demanding me to feel it by increasing in size with such rapid fervor. I was deeply entranced in thought when I was struck with a gust of wind that nearly tipped me over.

It hit the soles of my feet, ran up my body, and into my hair; caressing the tree like an old friend and dancing in the leaves overhead. All my senses were focused and aligned to the experience, all my thoughts silenced. The tree leaves whistling, the chill causing goosebumps to rise on my arms, the odd feeling of safety. The silence that followed. The stillness. 

Then, I heard it. I heard the words I had been dreading, but didn't know why. I heard "Go." I heard God. 

"Go, go, go," the words crisp, clear, and unmistakable. "I told you once before, and you chose not to listen, but now there isn't a choice. Daughter, you will die here if you do not heed these words. You must go...you must go now." 

Tears ran down my face as I tried to comprehend what had just happened. My mind was spinning, my heart papitating, my emotions...alive. For the first time in over a decade I heard God on the only safe ground I knew; barefoot and in the dirt. I heard God give me the words I had always wanted to hear, but simultaneously thought would never come. "Go, go, go"

And, so I did.