I haven’t been a part of a Church community since I was about sixteen years old.
When I was about eleven or twelve I was sexually assaulted by my Priest, Father Alex at Saint James Church.
I told no one, not even then, I learned early that no one would believe me, but I did start acting out. I started stealing from my classmates and being a bully which just made other kids bully me back.
Being assaulted by the Priest known as Alex really messed with me, and my relationship with God. If anything it destroyed my relationship with God because the entire time he was assaulting me he kept saying that it was happening because I was born brown. Because God said he could.
Priests in the church who abuse other people use God as their excuse, these are not men of God, but it took me a really long time to understand that. My mom used to say all the time, “it’s not God you hate, it’s the men who represent him.”
Unfortunately she was wrong, I genuinely absolutely hated God, because I blamed God for the actions of the man who hurt me.
It took me almost twenty five years and the smoking of a lot of weed, and meditation to come to understand that no it is not God I hate anymore…it really is the men who abused me and others.
I am telling you this because I need you to understand that I come from a place of not needing a “Church Community”, to have God in my life.
Just now as I was walking outside for some fresh air, I asked myself if I was missing something, “like wouldn’t you rather have someone beside you?” for not the first time I thought, “Jesus is with me,” and I feel that to my core. I didn’t feel that when I was growing up, if anything I always felt completely alone, even and especially when I was surrounded by people.
I understand other people have very different relationships with their church community, they need the connection and the fellowship that comes with going to church. It’s part of their routine, and many people in the Church community rely on those connections to get through the day or the week.
I am sorry for you, because I know how hard being isolated is and I wish that I could make it better for you, but right now it is absolutely imperative that you follow the rules and stay home. God is with you, in your home, even when it feels like you are alone.
That thought used to creep me out so I learned to ignore it, that was a big part of the fracture that happened between me and God. I absolutely refused to let God into any area of my life and went out of my way to do all the things I wasn’t supposed to just so I could prove that I was happier without God.
Notice I am not giving God a gender identification, that’s for you to decide. God is a deeply personal creation. Every single one of us has a part in creating the idea of God, and so for each of you, you must decide what or who God is to you. You don’t need a Priest to tell you that, you already know this.
For some of us, believing in God gives us a sense of peace in a chaotic world, God makes everything make sense, the problem is when we try to act like God is black or white.
God is everything and nothing all at once, far superior and far more complicated than many of us want to believe.
You can sit outside in the sun and feel as if God is right beside you, it’s not about the building, it’s not about the people that are not you, God is about you. As an individual.
Everything else is absolutely secondary. Once you begin to realize that it doesn’t matter if people don’t believe in God it doesn’t matter what they think about you believing in God the more you can focus on you yourself and you alone.
That is where you find God, by doing the inside work that God gives us an excuse not to.
He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.”
The first time I saw this poem my first reaction was to tell God and Jesus that they could go fuck themselves. It’s only now that I realize it wasn’t God I was angry at, it was myself for not being strong enough to survive on my own.
It took me and a lot of people for the truth about what happened to me to really come out. It took me and several other people before I was able to really heal the damage of Father Alex and men like him.
That being said, just because those people are not in my life right now doesn’t mean that we are not still connected. We still communicate in our ways, we still reach out to each other, even though we are so separated.
There are programs you can use, that will help you connect to your church community, that will allow you to attend Church without actually going to Church.
God does not want you to sacrifice yourself or others by dying in the middle of a pandemic, if God did want that there wouldn’t be so many Nurses Doctors NHS Staff and Scientists trying to save our lives.
Please do the right thing and stay home, if you must go for a walk do so but keep six feet away from people.
I promise you it will be worth it when this is over.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall