[I wrote this testimony of pain on my birthday, mid-July 2018. It was a raw expression of how I felt at that moment. Some historical references may not be fully accurate but were as I remembered them at that moment. I have not edited it except for correction of spelling and grammar and, where necessary, for censorship of filthy language and/or false witness.
This Testimony of Pain I share so that you, too, may know you are not alone in your deep suffering and that perhaps, one day, you may find that blesséd relief which only truly finding Jesus can bring.]
My Day of Mourning.
Today I am 45 years old. I turned 45 at around 2pm local time. It is a day everyone expects me to celebrate, to have joy and to find blessings in the fact I am a year older. I do not fear nor regret growing older. I have no fear of agedness and my fear of death is quickly diminishing. But I do not celebrate.
Why? Why, people, do you want me to be the centre of attention? Why? What have I done to you that you want me to revel in some pride in getting to be born in the first damn place? Maybe it was actually my choice to enter my Mum’s womb? Maybe I did choose to be born into that womb. Maybe the pain and heartache I caused my Mum all those years actually was my fault on every level? She wanted a normal child. But I wasn’t normal as a baby and I am far from normal now.
You send me messages of encouragement. My Nan tries to encourage me with hope in her love and the writing in the card. But all I do is mourn.
I try. I try to see you, to meet up. I try to thank you. I try to remember that you are showing me love. I try to meet for a meal or some other traditional way of rejoicing. But I mourn. Each and every card brings pain and the presents make me feel let down and then feel even more pain because I am so ungrateful. This is my day of mourning.
Curse the Day!
I could curse the day I was born. But hey! Wednesday’s Child is already the Child of Woe. Why curse the day any more? I could curse the womb that bore me. But I put my Mum through enough pain already.
Why is the greatest memory of my childhood my pride at taking a marrow to church and giving it to God? And all the while I sat there in judgement of the other kids who couldn’t be bothered and simply got their Mum to buy a tin of peas from Tesco’s? Why did everyone think I was aloof? These kids are weird, Mum! I can play. I can do that. But they don’t feel properly!
Why? Why didn’t the measles kill me? I’m told it could be fatal but all I did was have strange dreams in my sickbed for days. Why? When both my lungs had collapsed and without help I would have suffocated? Why? Why! Why did you put my lungs back up again?
Why have I hurt you so much? Why do I still do?
Why didn’t Nan’s heart pills work? Did I not take enough? Why? Why? Why did my belt break as I hung from that tree and all I ended up with was a cop car picking me up as I jumped in front of another car? Why when I took the paracetamol overdose did I go to A&E? Why?
Why? They told me that just follow Jesus and He will give you peace and joy. I am. I do not have peace and I do not have joy. Has Jesus let me down? Have I let Him down? Do I know Him at all?
Why? When I see something others do not my sister orchestrates a show down and the family falls apart? Why did my niece admire me so much that she thought mental illness might be a good way to deal with her pain?
Am I such a tramp that people really have to offer me £5 notes as I await my taxis? Do the taxi drivers really have to open their windows when I enter their car? I know. I need a bath. It’s a big thing, though, isn’t it?
This is my day of mourning.
People wonder why mental health freaks do not open up more? It is because we know the pain. We want you to experience it a bit. We will play with, manipulate you, strike fear in your hearts and load guilt trips upon you. But we will never let you know how we really feel. We can cope with this. You could not.
I am 45 years old today. I know many, and some very personally, like Lenny who I gave lip-kisses to because we thought it would be a fun thing to do in front of bigots – and, besides, I loved him. They are not here on earth now. And I have no guarantee they are in heaven. They are gone. I remain.
Thrive? B**locks. I cannot thrive. I survive. I will continue to survive. That’s my best. And if my best is not good enough for you then please, do not even +1 my posts or smile at me in the street. You can’t kid a kidder, they say in AA.
When you see the world as it is, even if only through a glass darkly, why do people think you are no longer close to Jesus? Why do they still insist that everything is better now than it was in the past? “You’ve never had it so good!” goes the advertising and propaganda slogans. Why can’t Jesus come back soon? It is my earnest prayer that He does because my pain is nothing compared to the child with his leg blown off and the bread he just bought is covered in blood. The homo who gets stabbed with a switch knife up the anus because the preacher was particularly fiery and “right on” that day? The raghead who has his apartment raided and all the writings of Mohammed and Ali are removed for future investigation? My niece’s boyfriend who is abused because he is not “British” and we have voted to leave the EU? The dead millions killed by the CIA and MI6 operations? The people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki who have extra bits in their bodies? The Jews who think the perfect response to the Holocaust is to abuse Palestinian kids and call Mary a whore in the graffiti on church walls? You know what my American and British friends? If you call this the least violent and least suffering age on earth I would suggest that you widen your reading material. Seriously.
This is my day of mourning. I mourn. For me. For others. For you. But I will survive. And as for me, I will serve the Lord.
(The shared song is important. As a Christian-influenced band the lyrics are perhaps best heard as a conversation between the protagonist and Jesus.)