Everything is Rubbish in Comparison

As I approach the 10-year anniversary of my suicide attempt and felony conviction I have been all the more introspective on the things I have learned through my journey. As I start blogging and talking with more people who can identify with the trauma of my past, I am reminded again how important that work is and how much all else pales in comparison.

I would certainly not compare myself to Paul in the Bible as I read his words in Philippians, but I can say that his words resonate with my heart, as he considers everything else a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ. Unlike Paul, I did not lose everything for the sake of the gospel, but it was in losing everything that I came to understand the love of the gospel.

Some people seem to need to be convinced of their badness in order to come to Christ. That was not my story. My badness had been drilled into my head every day of my 31 years of life to that point. It has been drilled into my head by myself, my family, but most impactfully by the evangelical church that was so focused on my sin nature. I had been taught that nothing good lived within me, and I believed it.

While the message was well meaning and perhaps even useful for others, it drove my suicidal depression. My discovery of the Jesus I know today came when I was alone in a jail cell, separated from the church, and disowned by almost everyone I had known from the church. It was here that I began to pray that God would help me see myself through THEIR eyes of love rather than my eyes of judgement.

It was in jail that my cellmate, there on a murder charge, taught me about meditation as we sat in our cell each night after dinner for evening count. It was in jail that I met so many amazing women who had been through unspeakable tragedies that drove their own addictions and issues with the law. It also made me aware of how much privilege I have and how important it is for me to share that privilege with others.

It was in jail that I learned what it meant to truly be degraded by guards and a jail system that strip you of the most basic of privacies. When I am honest with myself, I am not sure if I would rather be raped again or go through the jail search process again. It is degrading, dehumanizing and the arrest process leaves people with far more trauma than anyone wants to admit.

But through everything I also learned what I have the power to survive and endure. I have learned that I am adaptable and most importantly, I have learned what matters most to me. For me, people are the only thing that ultimately matter and helping people find health and healing, especially through the love of Christ, is my most important mission. Everything else feels like nothing more than a way to allow all of that to happen.

I know the passions of my heart do not make sense to some of the people closest to me. In fact, I am currently at odds with some of the people I most wish could understand my heart. But the fact remains that I must live my one life authentically and in accordance with my calling. I know what it is to lose everything, but I also know what it is to find my everything. My everything is Christ and everything else feels a bit like rubbish in the comparison.