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I was raised in a rural community in Ohio during the '50s. My family attended a Lutheran congregation where we, every Sunday, spoke aloud the words of the unison prayer of confession, "Almighty God, I confess unto thee that I am by nature sinful and unclean..." I internalized the confession, and it became part of my self-image. When I later experienced sexual abuse, I told myself I must keep the shameful secret to myself. How could I tell anyone? Surely they would think I was sinful and unclean.
I don't recall 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 carried it in my heart. Heschel's words opened a
world of new possibilities, not only for viewing myself and but also everything around me. Through therapy, self-forgiveness and a more healthy relationship with God, I have healed. I am thankful for Heschel's wisdom and insight that served as a catalyst.