About Me, Part I
Born in 1950 to Jewish parents, I became immediately steeped in the mainstream media of the 50’s: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald and The Ed Sullivan Show. Although my family attended a reform Jewish temple, we never read the Bible. Oh, we celebrated the “High Holy Days,” but based on the behavior of my family and the character of my father – an unpredictable rage-aholic – those holidays were bereft of meaning.
By the age of six, I remember being so afraid of my father that when he raised his hand to come across the room to spank me, I would squat and pee before he ever reached me. Thereafter, he dragged me into the bathroom to spank me over the toilet.
People at my temple saw my father angrily dragging me by the scruff of the neck out to the car when he had difficulty finding me among my playmates, or if I was late meeting my parents after “Sunday school” (which, of course, was held on Saturday). No one ever did or said anything.
My older cousin molested me when I was eight and he was 14. It was a continuing thing whenever the relatives got together. The kids – meaning him and me – were shuffled off to another room while the adults talked. My mother knew because I told her by writing her a note; my uncle knew because he walked in on it, and quietly walked out again. No one stopped it or said a word.
At the age of 10, I confided in my mother’s best friend that I wanted to kill myself. She laughed.
When we were 12 at confirmation, the rabbi yelled in frustration at one of my friends because he couldn’t articulate part of the confirmation script we practiced. My friend had a serious and pronounced stutter. It was at that moment I gave up organized religion.
By this time, I was in jr. high school, having been put ahead two years in school. I was an outcast to say the least, and some of the painful memories remain in my brain, though thankfully, I have forgotten most of it. I entered high school at 14 and partnered up with a few other outcasts to have a few other folks to sit with at lunch. By the time high school ended, I clearly was what others would call a hippie.
The rest of the 60’s were filled with questions and challenges – to my parents, to my teachers, to my friends’ behavior, and to my own world view. I was just beginning to seek, but didn’t know yet what I was seeking.
While I was definitely not abiding in God in my twenties, he was without question abiding in me. Sex, drugs, a suicide attempt, a disastrously failed marriage (that was entered into mainly to run away from my father) brought me closer to death in my body and soul than I ever want to be again. I survived that decade, but barely, and only with God’s grace and mercy. I didn’t know it then, but looking back, I can see His intervening hand all over me and my circumstances.
Want to know how I got here from there?
Come back next week for
Want to know more about my walk with Jesus?
Read Heart Condition.