I am on anti-depressants.
The first time – 17 years ago – when I got them, I was asked why I was depressed…
…yet, I had no wife.
I felt guilty for getting depression rather than malaria, shingles or HIV or whatever conditions single people are meant to get.
As if there are better conditions…
Anyway, I was on the meds for another six or so years until I could no longer afford them…
…or until Gabriel prayed for me or both.
So, you can imagine my shyness at not sharing about the depression this time round especially because I am now married.
This is not about my marriage. It is especially because of my marriage that I am talking about it.
You know why I am depressed?
Yes, you heard me right. Jesus got me here.
The sense of shame and the sadness, oh, the sadness of it all.
All I wanted was to leave Jesus alone. And for him (with a small h, sue me) and for him to leave me alone.
I once did a guided meditation in therapy where I imagined myself lying on the beach. In a pair of black shorts. I woke up from a nap, the warm ocean breeze kissed my cheeks like only a crush would, with a fluttering heart, I stood up – in the meditation – flung my towel over my shoulder and walked back to my hotel.
Something told me to take the route via the cliff. I climbed the stairway etched into the cliff and some places the stones were placed to match the cliff texture. I got to the top and there was a gazebo to my right – still in my meditation- and in it, a solitary figure sat illuminating shimmering light.
How does he look? Alice asked me
Just like in the pictures and the movies. He’s white, filmstar brushed hair, blue eyes, thin lipsticked smile and a manicured beard with a flowing off-white linen robe!
Are you sure? Is Jesus really white?
Well, this is the Jesus I want to speak to. He is the famous One. He is the REAL Jesus, right?
Ok. Please go ahead! What is it that you would want to ask him? That burning question?
“Hey Jesus. What makes you such a big deal?
“I don’t know. You guys do! You’re the ones who said I was.”
She switched off the music and gently got me to come back to the room, opened my eyes and back to my reality.
I did not want to process what just happened, because I was going to leave the safest place on earth at that moment. I could not live with what I had just experienced because IT. FELT. SO. REAL.
That was in 2009.
In 2010. I found Jesus in Church.
A story for another day…
Then, especially in 2017 and 2018, I saw big deal makers of Jesus behaving really badly and you know what these deal makers are called?
Men of God.
And you know what…
These men of God are the most ungodly people and they are schizophrenic.
When a man of God is doing good works, he is anointed. I am sure you also know what you are not supposed to do to men of God… “Touch thee not blah blah blah”
And when they mess up, and boy did they mess up, then they are only human…
And people who were meant to be in Kamiti only later got to show us the finger like Maradona did during the World Cup as Nigeria was bundled out by the Argentinian team with minutes to spare. That was painful.
I got crazy when I was only supposed to take everything to God in prayer and forgive them…
My heart broke, my belief system shattered and I got depressed because I was so confused, frustrated by these hateful, exclusivist and abusive, self-righteous, heaven-bound Christians…
So, in my sadness and loneliness, I got more and more depressed, and when another therapist told me we couldn’t continue working together until I saw a shrink for a possible prescription, I was relieved.
It wasn’t me who was nuts. Yet. It was.
But I had my culprit and it wasn’t me. It certainly wasn’t my wife or my marriage.
It was Jesus. It is Jesus!
I got the meds. My mind quietened, the sadness lifted, COVID happened and I was confronted with a decision.
Not about Jesus, but his church, the institution. Not the ‘but who is the church? isn’t it you and me?’ kinda church. It doesn’t exist anyway.
I was at a crossroads in this disruption and I saw the institution sharing shallow messages designed not to provide hope, but to remain relevant.
Either I rejoin it with its flaws, warts and men of God.
I choose another path. Taken by many others, fewer others.
In a dream, I visited the same gazebo.
He was there.
“What should I do?”
He smiled, stood up, placed his hand over my shoulder, removed the white mask, and in a gentle, soft voice…
“Come, let’s take a walk.”