I feel like I am on the cusp of learning a monumental life changing God concept. It's like a little bird is nipping away at the edges of the shell surrounding this truth in my heart and soon it's going to burst open. Some days I fight it...I waffle back into my ideas of what enabling is and what I "deserve" in my middle years (if I live to be 104 lol) ... Peace, calm, financial stability. I think about the boundaries that I "must" set. And we must....of course. Life is filled with boundaries and limits, but those things don't need to be harsh, punitive, alienating, a negative.....a fortress. It is often such a fine line, but quite literally in my situation, lives are at stake. So how do we, or I, keep loving, keep connected, keep positive in the midst of active disease and dysfunction?
A friend shared this blog post on Facebook and while it is not about addiction....it could be. It is about a precious little one who is different. Who at the core of who she is is not part of what her parents planned on. Like us, they grieve the loss of the idea of the girl they would have and they celebrate the girl they have been given.
This post that I linked you to above, speaks of a village named Geel, in Belgium...where the families of Geel take into their homes mentally ill patients as boarders to live with them. They share family life with them. The town got the nickname, "Paradise for the Insane." You will need to read the post for the full story...this type of acceptance always strikes me as so beautiful. It shakes me up inside.
We spoke the other night in a meeting about the blessing of being able to "come as we are." Again, acceptance of us in our most broken places. We can come as we are. Not perfect. Not cleaned up, leaves in our hair, dirt under our nails, stinking of the night before, hearts broken, and find acceptance in these rooms of recovery.
What if those in our lives who suffer from addiction, never get well? Is my acceptance pending on the "getting well" factor? "Once you are off drugs and living a responsible life, THEN and only then will you receive my approval and my acceptance of who you are. Just typing that nauseates me. Is that how God feels about each of us? I believe that we are each God's child. I know that at that moment when I felt His acceptance of me, when I felt like I least deserved it, when I was at my lowest and felt that I had failed at everything and anything that had ever been important to me...it was that exact moment that changed the very core of who I was. Who I am. Feeling accepted, part of, loved, changed me. Acceptance didn't enable me to be perfect or whole....but it did give me the courage to venture out and try to do things differently.
I am in no way insinuating that if we accept our addicted kids enough then...Ta da...they will become healthy! What I am insinuating though is that their sobriety is their process. Can we accept them without judgement, as they walk it out? Or not? Can we set up a safe relationship with the actively addicted? If they refuse to participate, can we continue to extend a hand of love and care with no expectation for response? A text that says, "I think about you a lot. You are not forgotten." "You are in my heart today." Sometimes I tell my girl stories from her childhood...happy ones, when she was just my little sweet red haired girl, who was so kind to other children in her own quiet peaceful way. She listens quietly and smiles. I miss that child. So so much. I'm sure she does too.
I just know that acceptance is crucial to any of us finding peace. Acceptance of each other with the good and the bad and the ugly and the stinky, and acceptance of the imperfect lives we have been given.
I want to find ways to implement radical acceptance in my life and in my relationships with others. God show me how. Show me the way. Open the door in my heart so that I can love as you do.
Always praying for us all.....