One of Jesus’ last words as he was dying on the cross was “I thirst” (John 20:28). Today – Good Friday – marks a year when I shared my story at my church back home that reflects on these specific words of Jesus, and how I ultimately found redemption; how my thirst – through Him – was ultimately quenched.
“I Thirst” – A Reflection:
When I was 14, I thirsted for a father. To my joy, my church’s music director – who I shall call Erik – at that time filled that role for me. Among so much he’d done – pick me up from school, give a listening ear – my most treasured was the passion he ignited in me for music. With three jobs, my mom still couldn’t afford lessons so I was overjoyed when he offered and began to teach me piano. And then my young life took a sharp turn: everything I’d entrusted to him – my hopes, my youth broken when he raped me. He just turned 42. After he’d done it several times, I was silenced. He said if I told, no one would love me. He often compared me to beautiful, slim, and intelligent girls, implying I was not. He said I should be like that. I’d never felt so meaningless. I wanted to die, evaporate. Instead, I started teaching myself piano. When I left for college, Erik stopped but little did I know that I’d been severely scarred: I never felt good enough. I deeply thirsted to feel worthy but I felt like I could never measure up to the world’s definition of success – someone who had a fancy career with social grace and intelligence, physical beauty; admired by all and had many friends who affirmed their success. Maybe deep down, I wanted this to prove Erik wrong, to validate what he’d invalidated countless times before. After turning 26 in 2012, I decided to report Erik to the police, which led to his arrest. I thought this would heal me but it didn’t until last year: after several grueling testimonies in court I felt would break me, I dreamt of an angel whose shiny, bald head and copper skin glistened in a patch of sunlight (he kinda looked like Cee Lo Green for those who know who he is). This angel confirmed that despite the world seeing me as falling short and broken, God saw me as being enough. Most importantly, though I had no earthly father, I have THE Father, that I am a daughter of a King who doesn’t call the qualified, but qualifies the called. After my dream, I truly felt called: not to continue succumbing to a haunting past and society’s idea of worth, but to start following Jesus. Now, all I thirst for is to know Him more and to make his healing message known, to use music that once tied me to Erik but now sanctifies my suffering. I’ve known or felt no greater comfort, no greater reward, no greater love and purpose than when I stopped turning to the world and started turning to Jesus. Ultimately, through God’s angel in my dream, I’ve realized that love of self is important…it is acceptance of self. Loving yourself does not mean to boast or be pompous, it’s quietly knowing that you are worthy beyond measure. After all, God gave his only son; Jesus died for me… Finally, I was enough. My thirst had been quenched.
Inside the Holy Sepulchre Basilica in Jerusalem (this was at the site of Jesus’ crucifixion)