Sunday, February 18, 2018

What I Like About You- An essay for the addictions of our times

The things I love about alcoholics and drug addicts, and all who fall into the category of substance-abusers is this; their honesty is humbling to me. They are at times laid bare in their pain and their purely beautiful naked souls are exposed for the world to see.

And there am I, a pathetic creature of habits and deeds, so tied to my fears and love of habitual societal norms, plus the comforts of home, that I begin to despise my own lack of innate trust and childlike innocence. It’s that loss of perception where you cocoon yourself and mask all your innermost thoughts and feelings that makes you feel smugly superior owing to your sense of control. It’s that control that covers all the elements of your life.

The irony? All those elements of your life are mostly out of your control. Nothing but manifest destiny lies before us, and we need to tell ourselves daily lies to subsist. It’s that daily lie that Horace Greeley made us believe. It says that if we work hard enough and play by the rules we shall overcome. It’s pure B.S. as are most of the other cynical lies we live and die by.

What I like about addicts is that they are stripped bare of the lies and the artifice at times. At times their lives are laid raw and open for all of us to see. They expose themselves for a time and the world may see them for what they are. They are childlike creatures.

I know they are many other things. They are selfish and shallow, unthinking and uncaring. They focus purely on the thrill of the moment, and not on the long-term consequences. But they are childlike and trusting liars all. They live by the Code of Addicts, which has no code. It’s all for one and one for one only.

We see ourselves as superior beings, but in the light of day, our judgments will be measured by the same jury of one. We are all stripped bare of the lies we tell ourselves and of the artifice of our lives. These things that are self-evident will hold true. We must forgive the addicts among us. For they are part of the society that bred and raised them. We must own up and accept their sins and failings. They are always with us and they walk among us now. We are them and they are us. They are our friends and lovers, our children and parents. Their failings are our own.

At the end of our lives, our souls are laid open with all our lies exposed. That is why we can never judge the addicted and tormented souls that walk amongst us. We can look in the mirror each day and decide to keep it in or to let it go. In the end, the decision will be out of our hands. We must let go of the rage and terror and frustration we feel and learn to simply hate the sin and love the sinner.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The roses on Valentine's Day

This year we find that Valentine’s Day, the Day of Love and for lovers, is intertwined with the beginning of the Christian holy day of Ash Wednesday. It should be a perfect opportunity to marry the two topics, as it seems they have at times been at odds with one another.

Jesus had spoken of the personal quest of each individual as we struggle with our own lives, our own sins and sorrows, and as we fall in love and marry, and then commit to our partners as we grow older, we see our lives change. We strive to become closer to our spouses and partners, and in doing so we want to be able to give of ourselves to the ones we love. That should not be a dilemma, and yet, at times, it seems to be a push and pull on our time, on our senses, and on our mental capacity to be a Christian and to be a loving partner.

The answer, as is the case for all our deepest and darkest fears, is to look to Christ to show us the way. He has told us that he will lift the yoke and carry the burden. And we shall be better for it, as we learn to breathe, take it all in, and to realize that we will never be a perfect yin to the yang of any human, no matter how much we love them. We must look to the scriptures that teach us to deal with the admittedly heavy burdens we often share in life.

God never calls on us to be perfect, but always to have faith and to believe in him. If we can learn to let go, and then to heal ourselves not simply one day at a time, but one hour to the next, and with communion through prayer and with steady faith, we see the path forward. Life has never been guaranteed to be a bed of roses, but the idea of stopping to smell the roses is a perfect metaphor for our enjoyment of life, of love and our commitment to each other on this Valentine’s Day.