Thursday, March 28, 2013

There but for the grace of God go I....

I think if we are able to be brutally honest with ourselves, I think for most of us, the truth is that we are all capable of pretty much anything. Look at the book The Lord of The Flies. The premise is that young boys left to their own devices become brutal, animal like, they lose their intrinsic moral compass given the right (or wrong, depending on how you look at it) circumstances.

I am thinking about the "disease," or the spiritual malady as I like to call it, of addiction. If left untreated it progress to levels beyond what most of us can comprehend. Some of us have lived through some pretty awful things with our addicted loved ones. Our addicts have survived some pretty awful circumstances. Things we couldn't have begun to fathom. Things that have been no where near the realm of our usual everyday living experiences. Lots of pain, anger, fear, confusion, swirl around the acts of an addict. Through a miracle not of our own making, our addicts are often given another chance, a reprieve, to hopefully find new life. To heal, to repair the damage done, to receive forgiveness, to be set free.

When I look at my girl, at my mom, at myself, and the other addicts in my life....I am always so aware of how parallel our life's journey's are. Addiction takes people to some pretty low and scary places. I think of my eating....I in all truth, hold the potential to become a 700lb woman who has become bedridden, not able to walk due to her big belly hanging down between her legs. Given the right circumstances, I am not beyond that. I am not better than that. Given the right recipe of depression, neglect, sorrow, and self loathing, that could most certainly be me. It is only by God's grace that I have been able to not give up and turn myself over to the comfort of food on a daily basis, that I have found a different way to live. Thankfully I have been given resources, new ways of thinking, and a faith that sustains me when I think I can't go on....and when that damned Ben and Jerry's coffee heath bar crunch is calling to me.

My mom used to look at the dirty, quite literally raving mad, homeless people in the city she worked in and would say, "There but for the grace of God go I." She was so in touch with her potential for awfulness, for sinking to the depths of a darkness most of us can't fathom....and she was humbly filled with gratitude that God had grabbed a hold of her and that she had been deep enough in her sorrow and regret that she grabbed back and hung on for dear life.

Let us not forget who we are. Where we have come from. The perfect storm can hit for any of us. At any moment. I knew a lady from my childhood....she became a grave and very disabled alcoholic in her 40's. Her kids were grown....she almost lost everything due to the damage she did over a 15 year period. Until she found her way, broken and crushed in spirit, to an AA meeting. She lived out her days in that program, able to love her family and accept other broken people due to her own time of destruction. She learned compassion from her failures. She learned humility from being forgiven. Its a cunning and baffling disease....it snuck up on her and before she knew it, she was lost in a very different world than she was accustomed to. 

None of us are above or better than our addicts. We are co-travelers. We are both on a journey to wholeness. We have made our choices and they have made theirs. Some have grabbed onto the tow line and some haven't...yet. But, where there is breath there is hope.

After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. John 13: 12-16

Annette


11 comments:

Mary said...

So true, and yet so easy to forget! I loved seeing the new pope wash the feet of criminals. It truly speaks to what we SHOULD be as Christians.

Summer said...

I can so relate to your struggles with food. I've made it no secret that I am a total foodie to the point of obsessing about what my next meal will be. I have to guard myself so carefully or I, too, would be that 700lb woman you mention.

I love what you say about us being "co-travelers" with our addicts. So very, very true!

Your post reminds me how much hope there really is...for all of us! It's been a really good day, reading this just made it better. Thanks for that!

Syd said...

Such a true and beautiful post, Annette. I would have the tendency to be a vagabond and cast everything aside, but I don't do that because I have responsibilities and people I love. Great post. I so understand.

notmyboy said...

I am studying John, so I loved your verses. You are right. We could all find ourselves in a negative space with the right (wrong?) combinations of trauma.

Isabetta said...

Thank you for your post.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post to read on Good Friday. What this addiction has taught me is to be nonjudgmental. We do not know people's stories. When I used to see a homeless person on the street, I would have pity but would also have some judgement about how they got there. Now I see them as someone's son or daughter, who may or may not have a loving family. And like your mom said, it could be me if circumstances were different in my life. The thing that frightens me most is that it could be my son if he chooses not to embrace his recovery. Happy Easter or Pass Over to all.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post! I've newly discovered your blog and it is now a must read destination each day. A recurring theme in my thoughts and readings this week has been compassion. Compassion for ourselves and for others. Thank you for this and Happy Easter.

Tori said...

I have often compared my love and addiction for food to my son's addiction. I have struggled with my weight for years and often wondered if my unhealthy obsession with food wondering what my next snack or meal was going to be was like him wanting his next fix.

It sucks and I still struggle to lose the 50 pounds I have managed to put on through the years because I can't quite resist chunky monkey (what an appropriate name).

What a beautiful post and just another reminder that there is hope for all of us.

Grace-WorkinProgress said...

I heard recently that if you walk into a room and feel like you are better than someone else or not as good as someone else you have left the spiritual path.

We are all equal.

Compassion is the name of the game because you never know what life might bring you.

bill said...

nice post... very true

Signe said...

You are so right. I don't know why I equate addiction with youth. When you wrote about the woman in her 40's, that really opened my eyes. This can happen anytime in any life...without any warning.