I've written before about my time with mental illness. I have also talked about the importance of my faith in allowing me to manage this illness and stay healthy and happy. What I haven't spoken about in this blog is the basis of my faith is and how this faith turned my life around.
It all began on a cold and cloudy Easter morning of 1974. I was depressed, felt worthless, and wanted more than anything to be dead. Although I had never thought much about God, Jesus, or any aspects of Christianity my parents had taught me to ignore, in my illness that morning God's presence was unmistakable. The constant drone of my schizophrenic voices began to tell me I needed to do something really bad - worse than the drugs, sex and rock and roll I had been exposed to during the 60s in San Francisco. For by defying God, God, my voices said, would punish me and end my life. And that sounded terrific.
So with a burst of manic energy, I found an old Bible in my apartment, placed it in the Japanese iron cooking pot I used to stir-fry my dinners, and, as the fog horns called out across the city, I lit a match to the pages. First there was mostly smoke but as the smoked cleared, bright gold flames lapped at the edges of the cover and soon the ceiling above grew black and scorched. I was now to be punished I thought. But, like a bolt of lighting, all there was was a most stunning realization: the voices were gone. Really gone. And a new peacefulness had arrived. Without understanding what had happened and what was to begin anew in my life, I left my apartment and went for a walk along the Bay.
To be continued ...