I used to get panic attacks quite frequently and thank God for better living through chemistry because there some that were so severe that the only way to deal with them was through medication.
I am disabled due to Major Depressive Disorder with Anxiety. The onset was when I was nine and being sexually molested for two years when I was twelve only increased the depression as did being raped by my husband when I was thirty. By forty-five, I was disabled and spent decades trying to get a grip on my symptoms.
One thing I have to mention.. pastoral care from the clergy surely can suck. I have encountered very few priests with any gifts in that area. I can’t begin to count the number of times I was tempted to give up my faith because of the way Christians treated me.
Then I realized to base my faith on the way other Christians behaved was a serious error. My faith needed to be based on Jesus and the Gospels.
Many years ago a friend told me something I have never forgotten. “Gloriamarie, we can’t expect Christians to act like Christians. We can only be thankful when they do.” These words have gotten me through some hairy moments and the awful treatment of abusive Christians.
We are all sinners. We are all imperfect. We all have a lot of crap to deal with in this life. Life sucks a lot of the time. My response to that is this: Jesus is.
When I was thirty-two, I had a Moment that I think has been the defining moment of my life that told me then and still tells me now who I really am. I think this is true for all of us.
When I was in my very early twenties and in the grip of the Insidious Dark, I used to cry myself to sleep, begging Jesus to hold my hand. It would be so easy for Him to do, but it never happened.
One Saturday morning in late March 1982 after being on anti-depressant meds for the about six weeks or so, the first time I ever took them, I was sitting in bed sipping coffee and praying the service of Morning Prayer in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church. I don’t remember which if the prayers or Psalms provoked me into screaming my anger at God that Jesus never held my hand when I begged so hard for it.
God said to me “My child, how could I hold your hand when I hold you in Mine always?” And I had a vision of me in the cupped hands of God standing on the fleshy pads at the base of God’s fingers, holding onto the tips of those fingers in a “Kilroy was here” manner, looking out at the world.
I believe with all my heart that all of us live there. All of us are held in the cupped hands of God and no matter what happens to us, whether we are raped, mugged, robbed, sick, beaten, abused, bullied, that we still live out lives in God’s cupped hands and nothing this world can do can ever dislodge us from that place.
God never promises to protect us from the various slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and all the varieties of hideousness that living in this world exposes us to, God never promises to interfere with the free will of others, but God does promise to hold us in those cupped hands and we can rely on that.
Some horrible shit has happened to me since that vision. I expect some horrible shit to happen to me as a result of living in this country at this moment with this administration. I am disabled, handicapped, impoverished, and the RepuliKKKans want me to die, but whatever the future may hold I live in the cupped hands of God and if I die, I do so in the upped hands of God. Nothing can ever remove me from that place.
Except for the exercise fo my own free will and my own choice to step out of God’s cupped hands. It’s a choice we all have: to live our lives in God’s cupped hands or not.