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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Friendship: A little Christ

Name withheld upon request

I'm an incest survivor. From the beginning I was steeped in a bitter brew of verbal, emotional, severe physical and sexual abuse. Clinical depression has been my demon companion since my late teens. Once I spent a couple of days in a coma from a suicide attempt. I became an addict just to survive.

Three years ago, Nathan came along, and said: "I want you for a friend." We spent hours together walking and talking, and I began to trust him. I quit the addiction, cold turkey.

But every day I thought about suicide — some evenings the urge to harm myself overwhelmed me. When I'd call Nathan for help, he stuck with me, even driving hours with me for evaluation at the state's best-known hospital for mental illness.

Through the depression and the terror of trusting and being loved, he stood by me. I doubted and accused him, but he remained steadfast, becoming a little Christ to me. Instead of trying to destroy myself, I found myself more frequently "sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in [my] right mind."

This past January was the brightest I can remember. In the past year, I've been able to form new friendships. Now I'm deeply committed to passing on that love in Christian caregiving.


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