by Tab Moura
“I decided to try cannabis” I whispered… my hands were sweating, the hair on my arms was raised, I was nervous to look her in the eye. “I am only here at church today, because of cannabis.”
I was speaking to one of the pastors’ wives at my church, she had prayed over me weekly, she checked in with me regularly. She knew that I was disabled and barely managing to care for my kids every day. She knew I was working random jobs to be able to pay a babysitter… which was a vicious cycle of exhaustion.
The guilt I felt every time someone asked me “why weren’t you there last week?” was so heavy. It wasn’t just church, but church was where I felt the most guilt. I was doing all of the things, but there was a serious deficit in my overall wellness. I was eating healthy, but couldn’t absorb it. I was taking medicines, but they were giving me ulcers and seizures. I tried sending my kids to school so I could afford a little recovery time during the day, but due to their special needs, I spent a lot of time meeting with teachers and guidance counselors. So when I said “I decided to try cannabis” I was truly wrecked with fear that I would be rejected, right then and there, as though this decision would be seen as weakness.
But my pastor’s wife knew my story. She hugged me, she asked me how it felt to be strong enough to bring my daughters to church. I just cried. I probably would have cried even if we were talking about the grocery store. I would not normally talk to you guys about a topic as sensitive as spirituality or religion, however, I am burdened with this awareness: how many people are out there right now, going without relief due to fear of being rejected?
I’m not calling on churches to make statements of support, or spiritual leaders to become cannabis advocates. I understand that many people out there have complicated, or even negative, experiences with cannabis. But the thing is, I was afraid to even try this medicine, out of fear that I would be rejected. The only thing worse than being disabled is being a disabled person with burned bridges. I was watching my social life slip through my fingers, and my faith was tired. I was willing to suffer so that I wouldn’t rock the boat… until I didn’t recognize my life anymore.
Besides spiritual beliefs, I want you to know that having consistent community support while trying to navigate serious health complications, improves outcomes. Even if you aren’t pro-cannabis; you can be pro-answered-prayers, or pro-miracles, maybe pro-people-getting-their-lives-back, or my personal favorite, pro-playing-with-my-kids-again.
As for me, I am a spiritual person who just so happens to use plant medicine. It’s not mutually exclusive. I pray that you will have unconditional support on your journey and that your encouragement will come from unexpected places. If you’re feeling lonely, you can count me as a friend. It’s not an easy journey, but thank God it isn’t lonely.