Friday, October 22, 2010
Yes I know I've been terribly religious lately. Get over it or go else where. If you haven't noticed I tend to work on a theme until I chew my way through it and get bored. Then I move on. This is where we are right now.
I keep trying to figure out what angle to come at this topic by. I feel I need to go into it for reasons I don't know yet exactly but I feel strongly its what I need to write about, tho this post is liable to take a few drafts to get right.
I believe in God because I know He is there.
I know it as surely as I know the sun will rise in the east tomorrow and that my Momma loves me. And I know that no matter what happens I cannot deny my sure knowledge. I'd be lying if I did.
You can say that I was socialized to some sort of group hysteria by my religious upbringing. Please go right ahead and feel what you want. The point of this post isn't to convince anybody or start an argument. I just feel the need to share what I know to be true.
I was 14 and I was suicidal. I didn't want to die, but I couldn't live like that anymore. The pain, the despair, the total isolation. The body that seemed to have its own mind and I was locked in a cage in the back of my mind watching myself do things and screaming and beating against the bars and I couldn't get out and I couldn't stop and I couldn't be me.
I had a plan. I was going to write a note and take a whole bottle of pills (probably Tylenol cuz Mom had those giant bottles of them from the discount store) and time it for just about an hour before dinner. So that hopefully I'd be passed out but they could find me before it was too late and .... somehow this would save me.
They'd taken me to "therapy" with some nut job that saw me like a half dozen times but declared me "well" and that just made me even more hopeless because now therapy hadn't worked. So I had no idea what the solution was, but I couldn't live like this anymore.
The two things keeping me from enacting the plan were as follows: I was scared to death I would actually die (what if they forgot to get me for dinner, that had never happened but it might!). And if I actually died that would cause 2 problems: 1. It would hurt my parents. I knew it would break their hearts and I couldn't bear that thought. 2. I believed that God would punish me if I took my own life and I couldn't quite justify being miserable for all eternity vs being miserable now. (My opinions on that subject have evolved some since then but that's neither here nor there and probably a really good thing I thought that way at the time...).
And so there I was, in so much pain I couldn't see straight. I felt powerless and hopeless, and completely and totally alone.
And I remember one night, one horribly bad night, I was alone in my room and this poster I had on my wall just captivated me. It was a picture of Christ and it was captioned "You are never alone. I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you."
And I sobbed and I stared at the picture when I could and I started praying. I explained to my Heavenly Father that I had never in my life felt more alone and I just couldn't do this anymore. I had to know if I was alone or not because if I was I couldn't do this anymore and this was going to have to be it.
And it was then, in truly my darkest hour ever that I suddenly felt peace. I felt love. I felt like I was being wrapped up in a big warm hug and my tears changed from the wracked sobs of grief and pain to tears of joy and happiness. I could keep breathing. I could exist. It was all going to be okay because I was not alone and God loved me.
It was probably the single most glorious experience of my entire life.
I could not have felt His presence any more clearly than if a friend walked up and gave me a bear hug right now. From that day on I have never, ever had any doubt that there is a God. That He is a real, personal, living Father in Heaven, who knows, loves and cares about me.
I was humbled to the core of my soul. Grateful and honored and shocked that somebody like me merited such love. He was REAL and He loved ME. And it was going to be okay.
And it was... I think it was shortly after that that my gym teacher caught me smashing my head into a locker (if you hit your head hard enough you don't have to feel for a while, that and the other kids thought it was a great party trick) and for some strange reason she was concerned and sent me to the school counselor who listened for a bit and then called the district psychologist who listened for a few hours, who then called my Mom and explained very carefully that if she didn't get me help right now things were going to be bad. And she referred us to some amazing non-quack people - a psychiatrist who got the brain working right (so that THIS neuron fires into THAT receptor likes its supposed when I tell it to and only when I tell it to) and a psychologist who gave me the tools to heal once the brain could even work right.
I think before that night I was mostly a social conversion. I'd been raised and taught these things by my parents. But since that night, my faith is mine. I believe because I know.
There are times I wish I could touch a person and make them feel what I feel, because if I could share that feeling it would knock you flat on your butt and you too could know. But thats not how it works and I don't think it would be right even if I could do it.... with knowledge comes accountability....
I can list a few dozen other reasons "why I believe" but as I think on them I think what they really are is reasons why I'm grateful I believe. This is the real reason. Its been reinforced, powerfully, many times since that night. But this is the start, the flame that still burns.
For the record I'm not sure I've shared this with more than one or two people my whole life until now. And yet I feel strongly that now is the right time to share it with the whole internet. This is a little piece of my heart. One of the core pieces that makes me who I am and altered the whole course of my existence.
Please be kind. This is sacred to me.
ps - who knew? This is the first draft....