I tried to walk in his shoes today, the hour we sat together. He told me of his drug use, his life in chaos, and, finally, at 48, wanting to get a career, a real job. His past is a dark story, lonely and filled with monsters. Today, he was willing to name his monsters and throw them out of his closet, and lighten his load in life.
He took me into his world, and we went deeper than purgatory, farther than Dante was willing to go. He brought his whip out, and lashed out at himself for all the things in his life that he thought he’d done wrong at, and how he was living up to so many people’s expectations that he was a loser. Being homeless, having his family leave him, going to prison, and nearly dying from heroin a few weeks ago. It was an impressive list.
I took the whip out of his hands, and asked him to stop bleeding all over my floor. He was here, working on getting his life together, working his plan to get on his feet, and being clean and sober. He didn’t need to punch himself in the face or bring out the Japanese ritual suicide daggers to convince me he was sincere. There was enough pain in his eyes to last a lifetime, and then some.
Finally, he cried, and the blood flow eased off. He actually laughed, and slowly started listing some of his strengths, some of his good relationships, and his dreams for a better life.
We lit the candle of spirituality and of inherent goodness, and, finally, the concept of loving one’s self for the amazing talents and abilities that every person has. Some of the many years of accumulated self hatred lifted off his shoulders, and he mentioned some of the things he loves in life: his kids, his grandkids, his favorite place in the woods, where there is peace and tranquility, and where his soul can breathe in the fresh air.
The fragile flame of spiritual healing flickered, and then melted enough of the hard wax in his heart so that it could burn brighter, and start warming his soul a bit.
He knew his toolbox was pretty sparse, yet just in knowing that, I knew he’d soon find some more tools, and become the good carpenter in his life that he needed to be. He was ready to pour the foundation and get on with building a better life.
He left in a better mood, with purpose and determination. He left some of the poisons in his life on the floor, mixed with the blood of self doubt and shame and guilt. Some of the puss in his wounds had oozed out, and a little bit of healing was going on. Time was on his side, and I think he’ll be all right.
My new brother knows now what he is hungry for, and he knows where the nourishment and the healing salve and the ways of clean living are in his world. He knows there is a team of support for him, and energy he can draw from as he moves into the world of the clean and the sober and the healing. And, the heroin needle is retired now, and the meth pipe a thing of the past. And, the whip of self abuse and self hatred is about ready to be tossed in the trash.
For me, in the silence of the room where we sat, and where he had cried, I celebrated his transition and his moving forward. I celebrated his courage to change, and his willingness now, to ask for help, and to change his life. I think now that he does not believe he is alone in his walk, and that he needs to walk with others and find his way.