The Broken Me
My dearest reader, thank you so very much for reading Perpetually Healing over the past few years. I hope you have found as much comfort and support by reading these stories as I have found by writing them. With your permission, I would like to start a new series and tell some stories about the “Broken Me.” The time before I began to recover the memories of childhood sexual abuse.
The morning started and I took my first breath; my eyes opened to a day with hopeful promise. The early morning sun shone brightly through the blind slats in my bedroom. My mind whirled as the same strange recurring dream of a cheap no-tell-motel on the westside of town drenched with the stink of stale whiskey and cheap cigarettes filled the my waking senses. Cockroaches didn't even bother with waiting until the lights were off to scuttle along the floorboards. Cold rain outside the motel room was splashing in mud filled puddles in the dirt parking lot. In my dream, I was selling myself as a gay prostitute, and I was allowing men to do perverted things to me. From oral and anal sex, to letting them beat me to near death. Some nights they would cut out my tongue so I couldn't tell anyone what they were doing to me. This night was especially gruesome as the recurring dream ended with my dead body lying in a pool of crimson blood. My penis had been severed and the man had taken it as a souvenir. I physically shook the horror out of my head. I was a Bible college student now . . . a young man full of faith and anointing.
“It was just the devil trying to steal my joy,” I told myself.
I arose from my bed and I could still feel the cold terror as the man came at me with a knife. “No, no, no,” I pleaded with the man, “I’ll do whatever you want! I’ll even let you put it inside me! Just don't cut it off! How will I live without it? I have other men who pay me! I’ll be destitute! Please let me keep it!” I watched him exit the motel room into the dark rainy night. My penis in his hand, I was bleeding out and dying.
I opened my Bible, with a bowl of Life cereal by my side, and began to read the book of Romans. “Now faith is the evidence of things hoped for…..” I took a long drink of the milk at the bottom of the bowl. Then, I put my winter coat on and climbed into my blue Toyota pickup and started the engine. Strangely, I could still feel the warmness of my own life pouring out of my body and down my legs into a crimson pool on the floor. My first class, “Old Testament Survey” with Kevin Marr was in thirty minutes and I wanted to get there early for coffee and to hang out with my friends.
Murray was there already, “Joel, how are you today?”
“It's a great day to be alive in central Ohio,” I replied. “Do you think OJ Simpson is going to be found not guilty?”
“Aw, I don't know, I really don't watch the news.”
We continued talking and laughing while the choir rehearsed the songs that were to be introduced at chapel that afternoon. Soon it was time for class, we said our goodbyes and parted ways.
The next night was the same dream; the same routine. I was pleading for the man to leave me be while was blood pouring out of the hole where my penis once was.
“It’s another wonderful day in Central Ohio,” I said to Murray, secretly wondering if I was going insane. I desperately wanted to go to the bathroom and make sure everything was still in its place.
In my amnesia, there were plenty of strange things that make sense now that I have recovered the memories of my youth and what “Asshole Fucking Bastard” had done to me.
One afternoon, just before it was time to leave to go to work, I was sitting at my mother's kitchen table studying the communion sacrament in First Corinthians, and the verses I was reading caused me to feel such a heightened sexual energy that I couldn't focus on anything but the vibrations between my legs. Shame and confusion enveloped me as I walked down the hallway to my bedroom to take care of the need. My heart was still racing as I exited my bedroom and went back to my studies.
“What happened to me?” I thought to myself. “There is nothing in the least bit sexual about this scripture.” The shame I felt was overwhelming, It was crippling, torturous. I began to think that I was so deeply perverted that God could never love me or promote me in my job or at church because of what I was doing. “Nah, it’s just the devil trying to steal my joy.”
The next several days I spent in prayer pleading with God to heal me from this shame. No answer came. Each day the same dream. Some nights my penis would miraculously grow back just so that the man could cut it off again.
“It's just another wonderful day in Central Ohio,” I lied to my friends. I wondered if God was going to strike me down because I was lying to my friends while we were studying the Bible. If only I could find the source of my sin, then God would answer my prayer to heal me of this sexual addiction.
It was Wednesday, the day of the week for chapel and a guest speaker. He was talking about holiness toward God and that is was easier for God to meet our needs if we would live a holy lifestyle.
“Come on down here to the front if there was something in your life that is not holy, so that God will open the windows of the storehouse and pour out a blessing for your life.” The man pleaded.
I wanted that. I wanted to be blessed be God. I wanted to be free of this burden, the dreams, the overwhelming and uncontrollable desires. I was frozen in my place. If they knew what I was struggling with I would be ostracized from my friends, and God would hate me. I bowed my head and prayed for the strength to resist and the ability to be holy in front of others and in front of God.
The prayers did not work. Perhaps if I had the courage to go up front, perhaps that is where God was, I would be healed. He certainly was not three rows back where I was sitting.
I needed to be free from the daily onslaught of shame, embarrassment, and fear.
If I prayed more, God would answer.
If I gave more in the offering, God would answer.
If I fasted more, God would answer.
If I volunteered more, God would answer.
If I acted more Christian, God would answer.
If I listened to Christian music, God would answer.
If I moved to Las Vegas and became a successful pastor, God would answer.
If I gritted my teeth and had more discipline, God would answer.
God didn't answer.
It always confused me how deeply distrustful I found all Christians, yet, the pastors, the elders, and the other lay ministers were held in such high reverence. They were almost as God himself. I was just a lowly insect in comparison. Even when I had attained the role of “Pastor” my own bewildered self loathing was indescribable.
I felt that it was my calling or destiny to become a pastor, to become the very person I detested and worshiped. After graduation from seminary, my wife and I packed our things into a small UHaul trailer and traveled the two thousand miles from Columbus, Ohio to Las Vegas, Nevada. I would start a church and pastor a group of Christians whom I distrusted and hated merely because they held the same beliefs that I did.
The first Sunday, we met at the clubhouse of the apartment community my wife managed. I considered it was a success because four people were in attendance. They all sat on couches arranged in a semi-circle. I was happy to be fulfilling my destiny. Two weeks later attendance had dwindled down to only me. I was devastated. If I was called to be a pastor, why could I not even get my own wife to attend?
I ended the hopes of a church in Las Vegas. I couldn't line up the idea that I was destined to be a pastor, yet I had such an unnatural love/hate war within me. I coped with this devastation by renewing my love for anything and all things erotic. This became my drug of choice. I had to convince my wife to watch pornography with me just so I could have sex with her. Even during the “dawn of the internet age” I found my drugs on websites full of women in various states of undress. Looking at these women was the only thing that could make me feel whole. I couldn’t see the vacant look of despair in my wife’s eyes when we were being “educational.” I didn’t care.
Soon, I lost control, sex was all I could think about.