So I came into my little home office space tonight. I’m sitting here staring at my notes and outline for the upcoming posts and a new series coming up on the blog here on Fitness. I’m supposed to be writing and catching up with posting on my Facebook Group called The Health Hub. (Feel free to join!) We’re covering Gut Health and Young Living’s Digize Essential Oil.
I can’t even begin to figure out my whirling thoughts concerning the events of this week, so I end up sitting and lounging on this bed. Don’t put a bed in your office. Actually, don’t stick a desk in your bedroom and expect to call it an office for social media’s sake. I love popping social media falsehood bubbles, so stick around if you like it too.
But for real, I have made an office downstairs, but I feel after all these years I’ve finally carved out a place where I feel safe to process and writing flows out of that. So the desk serves the purpose of holding my essential oils and diffuser while I lay on the bed or floor and make music.
I work at a library, actually a library with 7 branches… Okay, okay, I hate futile surface communication and there’s no good way to dive into something terrible. It’s like ripping a Band-Aid off. You don’t mentally prepare yourself for something terrible.
Well, technically you can mentally prepare yourself for something terrible. If you practice that it’s called anxiety, and that’s real, but not helpful. It does nothing but tax your mind and body and drain you for any real existing trial that may come your way. You’re less able to fight it because you’ve been in a hyper state of stress and your neurotransmitters and inflammation response has been going even though there’s no crisis, yet.
Simply a side point. That one was for free, as are the next 1,000 words.
I’m rambling to find something that doesn’t hurt to talk about again. But I’ve come to the conclusion that writing what hurts brings the most healing. You can’t hide a wound, cover it up roughly, and expect it to heal if you never deal with it and treat it.
I’ve lost about 2.5 days of working, writing, and rhythm this week due to an unforeseen family emergency. Life gets interrupted and it’s unpredictable. What is more unpredictable than winding up stranded in the middle of a street in a town with a name that doesn’t have a good reputation because you drive with your brother who decides he wants to go buy drugs as a last hoorah before he’s transported to an emergency center where there are no such devices are available. “I don’t want to feel,” he tells me.
Along the drive that was originally disclosed as simply going to get cigarettes, I begin to ask him where we are going as we pass the local Wawa. I already know. I already imagined that his intention in going anywhere other than packing his bags to go to the next treatment facility was being driven by his addiction. But he was under suicide watch, and he wasn’t going anywhere without someone, even if that someone was me. I questioned my decision to get in the truck more than once that night, let me tell you, but God assured me of his being with me, so I took heart and had peace.
“So what’s getting high going to do? It’s not going to heal you.”
Addiction and spirits can’t be reasoned with. But I was learning something here. Some of the best learning experiences and wisdom come through painful events. I was letting my heart break, though fully composed and concise in my further questions. I knew my brother was in there somewhere, and I know he will be resurrected to life one day.
He told me things of war that no human being should have to experience. He told me about the women and children killed in Iraq. He told me of the men that he laughed and cried with being shot to death right next to him. Guilt spilled through his reminiscing like the pools of blood I visualized as he spoke. I tried to shake my head as one would an Etch-A-Sketch to remove it.
It was as if I could hear his thoughts, “Why did I live?” So I asked them as I heard them. “Why did you live? Is this the end of the story for you? Is that why you want to kill yourself? Do you want it to stop? Does getting high make it stop? It seems to me it doesn’t. What would these men say to you right now in this moment?”
I won’t tell you his answers. I know he will share it himself one day and it’s not my authority to share yet.
Some people may wonder how I have hope. In proper blogger form, let me tell you 5 reasons I am so awesome and have hope in the face of the seemingly impossible.
- Just kidding.
The truth is I lost hope. Multiple times. In fact, I’ve lost count of how many times. I only tend to recount the victories now. I decided to back off from my family for my own well-being for the last couple years of this hell. At least that’s what I told myself. In fact, it wasn’t exclusively family that I drew back from, it was anyone and everyone.
“He who isolates himself seeks his own desire. He rages against all sound judgment.” ¹
Translation: Foolish, foolish, foolish.
I think I just had enough. I’d grown weary of crying out for the same thing and not seeing any improvement, and to my disgust, it grew worse. A disillusioned heart is a powerful thing. My heart couldn’t take it anymore. I shut down and shut off in self-preservation and protection. The very thing I thought would protect me injured me.
“I don’t want to feel,” my brother’s words resonated within me.
I was guilty of the very thing he was trying to do by getting high. I didn’t want to feel the pain, and in an attempt to do that I had shut off my ability to experience and taste the heights and depth of joy, the very thing that acted as medicine to its counterpart.
Listen, there are times to sever indefinitely or place stricter boundaries on relationships. There is a time and a place for that. If you are in a toxic, abusive or dangerous relationship cut it off or reach out for help.
Cynicism bloomed like flowers in my garden of death. Poison was dripping within from my fostering of anger, resentment, and unforgiveness. Pity was I was the only one drinking it–what a masochistic thing to do
I was growing such weeds on the inside and it was choking the life in me. It wasn’t the situation or the circumstances I could blame. Bad things happen and will continue to happen. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. We see it every day. Bad things happen to good people and good things don’t strictly happen to good people.
Who made this broken system? Is there some kind of algorithm? I object! This isn’t right! This isn’t fair!
“Life isn’t fair,” I can hear my mom’s informative retort to my childish objection when I didn’t get what I wanted or thought I deserved. But then I can hear my Father, whose heart burns for justice, “Vengeance is mine. I will repay,”² and I know my cry is not in vain. There’s an innate cry in our hearts for justice that reflects the image we were created in. I know my cry isn’t in vain, but placed there to yearn, call forth and birth justice. We are also called to be abolitionists of injustice.
Here’s the mandate:
Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. ³
Want to know something else? I knew that it was going to get worse before it got better. I was hoping this was as far as the “worse” would take us that night. The realization that we were really going somewhere to buy my brother’s next high was registering with me. I loved him too much to let him go on like this. I certainly wasn’t going to enable and condone such behaviors or be partner in it. I would rather die or him never speak to me than stand with a guilty conscience of neglecting to do what was right or worse, remaining silent. Doing right was proof of my love, evidenced in fighting the thing that was destroying him before my eyes.
So hours later I stood stranded in the dark street. The police had called my phone multiple times. I was lost, neither they nor I knew where I was. “I should have gone home, read my book, and gone to bed,” I said out loud to myself. “And what, miss out on all the adventure?” I hear sweet and lighthearted. I laugh and realize that it’s here that the pain and joy collide, the bittersweet experience of being most alive.
But love isn’t passive. It doesn’t bury its head in the sand when trouble hits. It doesn’t cut off relationship when trials try to burn everything you hold dear. It fights to the death. It sacrifices everything without question of repayment. You can’t repay love; a request for repayment would be considered an insult to love. It hopes. It sees something that is not yet and calls it into existence and interacts in the present as if it’s already there. I tell you, love is a flame burning inside that wind and waves only intensify.
To my brother, for teaching me more lessons in one night than one can count and helping me to choose life. For the man who doesn’t realize the blessing he has been even when he’s been at his lowest and felt in progress with no completion date in sight. You’re still a war hero, fighting battles every day. Thank you, Nick, for letting me feel and experience the heights and depths of joy and pain in one fell swoop.
¹ Proverb 18:1
² Deuteronomy 32:35 & Romans 12:19
³ Isaiah 1:17