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There came a point in my life in 1981 when I experienced absolutely soul shattering emotional trauma upon trauma. There are crisis any one of which can kill us. In one year I experienced them all.

It came after the year my partner of seven years not only left but did everything possible to turn everyone we knew against me (which most did). The well was poisoned to its bottom.

By chance I read a series of articles on divorce which was described as having the emotional impact of the sudden suicide of a close family member.

Then, at the end of May, 1981 my second youngest brother committed suicide.

To make a long story short my family placed me against my will in a psychiatric hospital where in the short space of time I was there I was given drugs I was informed would take up to seven years to purge from my body.

When I realized I could leave I placed my faith in God and walked out.

I had no friends, no money, no place to live.

That faith I placed was then and is now absolute.

I moved around in a drugged state like the creature played by Boris Karloff in FRANKENSTEIN (1931).

Realizing we are called to forgive I said in prayer, “LORD, it is impossible for me to forgive. Please give me the gift of forgiveness.”

I was then shown in a dream everything I had done small and great, conscious and unconscious which had brought harm to others.

I woke up with the gift of forgiveness.

For twenty years in Toronto I have experienced and continue to experience a personal attack that is extremely vicious. It has been and continues to be unrelenting.

Nothing I nor anyone else has experienced however compares to what happened to Jesus from the moment he was arrested in the garden up to the moment the last breath left his body on the cross.

His dying words were, “Papa, forgive them. They know not what they do.”

They did not know then. They do not know now.

If the man leading America now knew how far below the mark his deeds and words fall he’d defecate and urinate himself in the face of the awful judgment which awaits all who turn their back on the hungry, the thirsty, the homeless, the sick, the jailbirds, the strangers.

Jesus chose to be hung with those this world condemns.

He taught judge not lest you be judged, condemn not lest you be condemned.

Those words are lightly spoken, lightly ignored every instant of the day.

The slaves by whom the good news of Jesus was first accepted were people who had no control over their lives. They were as doomed as Jesus was once he was arrested. As slaves they had neither choice nor will. Many suffered abuse beyond anything you or I might imagine.

Yet they realized that in Christ not only were they free they were raised from the lowest of the low to very equality with the father of all creation for in Christ they had become the begotten children of God and their birth was not by flesh, blood nor the will now power of man but by God (John 1: 1–14).

I realized that had I not been beaten down so thoroughly and utterly it would not have been possible for me to be raised so high.

From that moment on up to this very second forgiveness has come easy.

From the age of six when my cousins I had grown up with hurled sticks, stones and names at me until this moment now at 74 I found myself the focus of derision.

No one who wants to build muscles left feathers.

We are called in Christ to pick up our cross. We are called to carry it joyfully.

If I can do that I deserve to be called not a Christian (the word was first used as an insult and has because so many who call themselves such fall so far below the mark we are set the word has become an insult) if I can do that, carry my cross joyfully then I deserve to be called a begotten child of God, brother to that dirt poor carpenter (stone mason if you will) from buttfuck Galilee who dropped his aitches when he spoke.

This makes me joyful for every wound I have received.

This pilgrimage began the moment my partner and everyone I knew gave me an ultimatum. If I bent to their will they would stay. If not they would leave.

As they left I opened the copy of THE NEW TESTAMENT which lay before me. I read, “If you walk with me your father, your mother, your brothers, your sisters, everyone you know will turn against you. If you continue with me you will possess yourself.”

Other translation put “YOU WILL POSSESS YOURSELF” as “You will be saved,” or “You will find salvation.” This is the problem with translations. Rarely does the translator have the fire of the original writer as anyone who has read Arthur Rimbaud in English knows.

In that instant I realized not only that everything Jesus taught is about self possession but that all I could ever possess is my self (the word “soul” at its best means “self,” “personality.”). I realized that until I possess my self I possess nothing.

I also realized that we can through trust in Jesus possess ourselves right down to the very dust of which we are made, that we can say with him, “You do not take my life. I, myself, lay it down. I, myself, will pick it up.”

There is a new day dawning.

In that day the trials we have endured will be seen by each of us as the wind that enabled our sails to reach this shore.

We will have the reason for everything made clear.

Once that is done (and for myself it has been done) forgiveness not only comes easy it also brings to their knees in a change of heart for the better al those who by their actions brought us to this immense revelation.

Like the Roman Soldier who gazed upon the dead body of Jesus as it hung from the cross they are forced by the power of the truth to say, “This truly was a child of God.”

In Heaven there is neither male nor female, black nor red nor brown nor yellow nor white, gay nor straight.

We are one blood.

Forgiveness becomes the skin a snake sheds, the shell a crayfish, a lobster or a crustacean sheds.

It is something we do automatically and naturally that we may be free of the old and move on with the new.

Not only that, we realize we need crucifixion to remove it.

We are told that if we are given any deadly thing it will not harm us.

Trust allows me to drink the cup dry.

Then I ask, “Please, may I have some more?”

–Reg Hartt

At my brother’s funeral my father said, “You have shamed this family.”

Luckily I knew that if I walked with Jesus father, mother, family, friends, ALL would turn against me.

40 years have passed since that moment: .

I put the loss of my brother into my retelling of GILGAMESH. I made it my own.

THE TURIN SHROUD is rightly called THE 5TH GOSPEL. It speaks more eloquently than the other four (an all the lost gospels) as one. I have gained much from studying it. It was the wisest investment I made.

No one who thinks on what Jesus endured can say they have suffered. We have not even come close.

Jane Jacobs is the author of THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GREAT AMERICAN CITIES. Her last book, DARK AGE AHEAD, foresaw the world in which we are now living. She was my friend, my mentor and my inspiration. Over a beer in her home she said, “The best part of what you have to offer is what you have to say.” Of course, not everyone agrees with her.

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