I was raised in a rural community in Ohio during the '50s. My family attended a large Lutheran congregation where, every Sunday, we spoke aloud the words of the hymnal's unison prayer of confession, "Almighty God, I confess unto thee that I am by nature sinful and unclean." I internalized these words, and they became part of my self-image. They later made the sexual abuse I experienced as a teen an even more shameful secreat. How could I tell anyone what happened? Surely they would think that I was sinful and unclean. I don't know when or where I first encountered Heschel's quote "Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy." I posted it on my bulletin board and carry it in my heart. Heschel's words created a new world for me, a world in which I could view myself through a different lens. It's taken time, therapy and self-forgiveness to grow into that vision, yet it wouldn't have been possible without Heschel's wisdom and insight as a catalyst.
More information about text formats