The following article is from the April 2002 issue of the Journal
From ‘bad trip’ to healing
Only God could have brought about such a change.
by: Ginny Luedeman
As a hard-rock singer back in the late ’60s, I didn’t want to live what I considered a dead end, “conventional” kind of life. I played at the Fillmore, Avalon, Circle Star Theater, with many of the greats—Jimi Hendrix, The Grateful Dead, Big Brother and The Holding Company were our stage companions. But inner turmoil—maybe stemming from unanswered childhood problems and an undisciplined artistic nature—led me to view life as a meaningless few years of simply trying to survive. I didn’t want to pray to a creator who would make such a foolish creation. I tried to figure life out for myself, but I felt like a ship without a rudder. And there’s not much direction or progress possible without a rudder, no matter how flashy or well-built the ship.
I started singing with rock bands when I was about 15. In a few years I had my own group and was well into the wilder part of the hard-rock scene. Drugs, alcohol, smoking, and promiscuous sex were the norm. My actions were not formed by any moral values except the attitude of the day, which was, If it feels good, do it. Janis Joplin and I sat backstage and drank Southern Comfort together—finding no comfort at all.
Many of the musicians I was friends with were wonderful, talented people. But more often than not, they were looking for original thinking with the aid of chemicals. Anyone wanting to succeed in today’s highly competitive music industry needs fresh new concepts. But there’s nothing fresh or original to be found in a mind that requires drugs or alcohol to inspire it, and the downward-spiraling belief that there is, landed many of my friends in jail—or in the morgue.
My life began to change when I found myself on the floor in the middle of my apartment, completely out of control on an LSD trip. I felt as if I were dying. Alone and in desperation, I grabbed an old Bible—I have no idea where it came from. I opened it at random three times to the very same page, and my eyes fell on the same line each time. It wasn’t clear to me how the commandment “Thou shalt not commit adultery” pertained to me until the third time I opened the book. This time the words appeared to be in bold print. That got my attention.
“OK, what’s adultery?” I asked out loud.
The ideas that came to me were so clear, it seemed as if a voice were speaking. I’d never had an experience like this before. Amazed that there seemed to be someone there in that room with me who knew what I was doing, I really listened. I heard this answer to my question: “Adultery is living with one man while married to another.”
This was indeed what I had been doing. Since I was reading the Bible, I assumed that it was God’s voice I was hearing. I promised to do whatever He told me to do. And right there, listening again to the voice, I was instantly healed. It felt as though something just pulled all of the confusion and fear out of my thought. I was suddenly and completely peaceful. Usually, an LSD trip took many hours to run its course with me, and an overdose could take longer. As I sat there in awe, I felt more love than I ever had before.
The man I was living with had been raised in Christian Science and had a wonderful sense of peace about him, which I yearned for. I called his mother and asked her what he knew that I didn’t. She told me that he had learned about God in the Christian Science Sunday School. She also told me that there was a book she wanted to give me that would help me understand the Bible better. After the experience I’d had opening the Bible at random, I was ready to read anything that would help me understand what had happened.
When the book came, which was Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, I couldn’t stop reading it. I often opened it at random to wonderful passages that were exactly what I needed at the moment. It was especially exciting to discover that another name for God is Mind and that God is not only the source of all good and creative ideas, but that I had that same Mind, because we are all made in God’s likeness. So my intelligence wasn’t dependent on a brain, which could be damaged by drug abuse. I danced through the house at this revelation.
Understanding my relationship to God, I came to realize, was the most worthwhile thing on earth I could do. Step by step, thought by thought, my life continued to change for the better. My own changes came as I was receptive—willing to listen, and to be lifted up. I quit living immorally, and the drugs, smoking, and drinking all fell away.
Then, after producing a record album and at the peak of success, I was clearly led to quit the music business and finish my schooling. I found new employment, a better home for my young son and myself, and within a couple of years I was married to an army chaplain. Later, I, too, was able to help others through prayer. The military and organized religion had not been on the top of my “preferred lifestyle” list, so only an all-powerful God could have brought about such a change.
I’ve made plenty of mistakes in the days since. Over and over again I need to listen, and to be lifted up. In fact, the need to understand God’s closeness, to humbly listen and to act on what He’s telling me, seems to grow with each passing year. But I feel forgiven for mistakes I’ve made out of ignorance or sin. There is nothing so awful or unforgivable that the powerful, tender, warm, and healing presence of God cannot lead us to surrender.
I’ve come to believe that many of the “sins” or “mistakes” that people get caught up in are really their prayers, or desires—expressed in misguided actions. So many people are searching for answers to deep longings and painful hurts they have experienced. Drugs, promiscuous sexual activity, alcohol, running away, excessive behavior, and so on may look like ropes to grab on to in a stormy sea, but they aren’t attached to anything substantial, so they can’t save anybody. In my own case, all those things seemed to give me a temporary feeling of security, but holding on to them kept me from finding the divine source of comfort that would provide a permanent solution that would actually heal the hurts.
Suffering can be a friend if it helps us discover a better way of living. It doesn’t always mean that we have done something wrong. I like to think that it’s an opportunity to see more of what God can do. A passage in a poem written by Mary Baker Eddy says, “I kiss the cross, and wake to know / A world more bright.” 1 It’s the waking part that’s wonderful. God loves us and is with us, and because we are truly His loved children, we can wake up to the brighter view of a world in which divine Love rules.
1 Poems, p. 12.
Copyright (c) 2002 The Christian Science Publishing Society. All rights reserved. Reproduced with permission.
Copyright ï¿½ 2004 ginnyl.com. All rights reserved.