From: Kathi Sharpe [Kathi] |
Sent: Wednesday, August 09, 2000 10:23 AM
Subject: what's happened to Kathi?
Something wonderful has happened in my life that I want to share with you, but I have to be honest, I absolutely fear your reaction … I remember how we (me included … me especially!) have reacted in the past to others who've had similar experiences, and I shudder. I value our friendship … but I fear. I fear your rejection, I fear that you'll call me crazy (crazier), I fear that you'll leave me, I fear that you'll try to convince me that I'm wrong, I fear …
:::very deep breath:::
Three weeks ago tomorrow, I had a dream.
The fact that I dreamt at all is a wonder, as due to exhaustion and stress I fell into bed at night, and out of it in the morning. My life had unraveled: we had no money, I was nearly deaf (70% … didn't hear much without the hearing aids), I was running from doctor to doctor and getting varied answers, work had stressed me to the point of considering a McDonald's career, Ken and I started having problems … you name it. I'd done all the juju I knew to change it, begged my gods for help, and nothing changed. I'd pretty much resolved to myself that I was going to be deaf, and I was just going to have to deal with it.
But that night, I had a dream. Jesus appeared to me as a face in the mists. That's all it was. I woke up rather confused and angry … of all possible deities who could show up, why him? I told him to go away and leave me alone.
Two nights later, I had another dream. In this one, Jesus appeared and spoke to me in sign language. I only knew about two dozen signs at this point … I had to look up most of it in the sign language dictionary … but his message was clear: "Deaf girl, come follow Me." It does not get much clearer than that (without the aid of a two-by-four) does it?
I struggled with this all weekend … thought I'd lost my mind … talked to some Christian folks that I know, like Ed (whom Saga's met, and I think Greg has too … gay guy in the wheelchair at work) and my friend Dave … and by Monday, I was more or less resolved to make God prove it (against Ed and Dave's advice, I must add).
There's a particular piece of software that I run at work, called Lyris … it's very much like the listserv that OPI is sent on, only it has more bells and whistles. Greg and Saga know about it, and will probably remember the FITS that it's been giving me. About 5 weeks ago, I sent mail to the Lyris owner's help list, asking for help with my specific problem. All I ever got was a message from Lyris that said, "Well, it SHOULD work … we're not sure why it's not." My job and sanity depend on making this software work. So I figured this would be a good test. "Lord, prove it … give me the answer I need and get this problem solved." was what I said.
The next afternoon, there was an answer in my mailbox … and it came from the person who runs Lyris for Christianity Online.
Blown away, blown up, blown over.
So I spent all day, the next day, talking to this guy in IM's. Told him my history, asked his advice. He told me to pray … and that's just what I did. I didn't make any assumptions of what I was "supposed" to do next … I just prayed, and waited for an answer to come.
We left for vacation on Friday, down to the beach camping for a week. While there, we attended church … Hearing aids are about worthless in any kind of large-room/stereo-speakered environment. I absolutely depend on lip-reading for such situations. To my surprise, the pastor spoke in such a way that I could read every word he said. After the service, I had to compliment him on this. After I told him about my hearing loss, he wanted to pray for me.
My initial response, which only lasted a second, was to refuse … which progressed to "Well if Jesus wanted me to hear, why did He speak in sign language to me?" and from there to "well, why not … what can it hurt?"
So we prayed for my ears to be opened … very simple, lasted less than a minute or so. But … there was this incredible, absolutely incredible! surge of power that went through me. We were all amazed by it. I tell you the truth, in all my years, I've never felt anything so sweet. But nothing happened … I couldn't hear … I wasn't changed in any way. So we went back to our tent, cooked supper, went to bed … and I started to feel strange. I don't know quite how to describe it … just … different.
I woke up the next morning sick as could be … I actually lay on the floor of the bath house crying, because that was all I could do. This lasted for a few hours, then it was like a switch was flipped … I felt fine. Weak, but fine. And I could hear.
If you've never lost something as basic as your hearing, I don't know if you can appreciate how precious it is to have it restored. I have not worn my hearing aids since. I still have a small hearing loss … I haven't yet had an audiogram, but I estimate I've got a 25-30db loss, which may actually be caused by the fact that my brain is not used to hearing and does not know how to process the information it's receiving. I was at a 70db loss before. "Normal" hearing is 0-20db on this scale.
And everything else is resolving itself too. Everything that was in chaos before has settled into place.
So yes … I am a Christian now. How could I not be? I'm incredibly happy about it, too … how could I not be? All I want to do is praise God for all He's done for me.
You're probably saying something like Gid said, when I told this story to him. "Is it really you?" [note from Gid, who's reading this now: I actually said a lot more, little of it very nice, though I tried not to be discouraging. I have, however, vowed to kill her should she turn right-wing extremist fundie on us, since that was a pact on which we agreed several years ago]
I've changed so much in the last week, I hardly recognize myself. I'm no longer the Great Cynic, I only experience pessimism on rare occasions, I'm always smiling, I can relate to people on a much more pleasant level, and a couple people have said that I actually glow. I don't know about the last part, but when I look in the mirror these days, it's like "the real me", and what was there before was a mask. And I can hear. That is so incredible … so amazing … I can hear.
I'd be pretty naive to think that this won't change our friendship … I'm sure it will. But I hope that you'll approach me with an open mind and an open heart, and be happy for me. I can't tell you that I won't witness to you, from time to time … to be honest with you, I just want to share this glory with everyone who'll listen. I will absolutely respect your boundaries, though … tell me to stop, and I will. I can't say that I condemn my past beliefs, nor anyone else's beliefs … I can't do that. But I do now feel that I was operating under some beliefs … about Witchcraft, about Christianity, and about life … that were untrue … If you're interested, I found a wonderful article yesterday: http://www.christianityonline.com/ct/current/9b18/9b18a1.html. I can't say that I agree with everything in the article, but a lot of it resonated.
Just so you know, I've sent Jerry my resignation … I was going to "anyways" before all this happened, due to time constraints. I've told him my story (his reaction was as expected … LOL) and I will tell y'all the same thing I told him. I don't care who knows, or who doesn't. I'm only telling a handful of people (my name's not John Gibson ;) ) who I feel are my friends, who NEED to know. If you think it's appropriate to talk to anyone else about it, go ahead … or if you feel that it's not, then don't. I'm going to post something in the staff area, and also in the public message boards, that briefly says "Life's carried me in other directions" … no need stirring things up in that fashion.
I need to stop myself, and get some work done today. I've still got lots to catch up on, from being gone all last week. I'd love to hear from you … it seems like it's hideously long since we've even talked, about anything … everyone got so busy, so wrapped up in their own lives … how are things with you? I miss you. Love,
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The Sharpe Logs: email and chat transcripts with Kathi Sharpe, ex-Wiccan
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