This Holy Week marks the 25th anniversary of one of the most profound healings in my life. 25 years ago I was in the fourth year of clinical major depression. There were times during this depression, that I was very suicidal. At one point I literally had the gun in my hand and only by a sheer act of will returned it to the good priest who had give it to me to protect myself from an anal orifice that was at that time breaking into women’s apartments and raping them . These were the most painful and difficult years of my life – nothing since has been as bad.
During those years I was in counseling, trying to figure why I was depressed, trying to get healed. My sexual orientation was coming to consciousness but I didn’t connect it with the depression. I had lots of reasons for being depressed. However, an amazing thing happened Holy Week 1981.
Holy Wednesday I was listening carefully to the Old Testament lesson:
The Lord God has given me
a well-trained tongue,
That I might know how to speak to the weary
a word that will rouse themt.
Morning after morning
he opens my ear that I may hear;
And I have not rebelled,
have not turned back.
I gave my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who plucked my beard
My face I did not shield
from buffets and spitting
the Lord God is my help,
therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame.
He is near who upholds my right;
if anyone wishes to oppose me,
let us appear together.
Who disputes my right?
Let him confront me.
See, the Lord god is my help.
Isaiah 50:4 – 9a
What I heard say to me was, "you can look at your sexuality and it will be OK." Well, I knew what my sexuality was. At that moment I felt such joy and peace. On Easter Sunday morning I felt the depression lift completely. It has never returned.
One may wonder how I got that out of the passage. A big part was I knew that if I accepted my sexuality I would face opposition. God though, would be my help. In this confidence and trust I could except my sexuality, and be healed
So I rejoice in remembering that time. Now I face a different healing challenge. I don't know if God will zap me on Easter like God did 25 years ago. Healing comes at many levels and in many different ways. In today's Old Testament lesson God says, "See, the former things have come to pass and new things I now declare; before they spring forth, I tell you of them." Isaiah 42: 9.
I am still weaker than I was before chemo, but at a greater level of strength and endurance than last month. I have a reasonable hope that I will continue to build strength and endurance as I continue with my treatments and great hope for putting this disease in remission. I greatly look forward for this Lent to be over with and an Easter to come, which to me as a sign I did Lent well.
Wishing you all a blessed and holy Holy Week.