Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Letting Go

Well what do you do with your pain?

As for me, I put mine into words. I put mine into words and I pour them out. I pour them out like hot water over fresh loose tea, thinking maybe they will lend some comfort. Comfort to you and comfort to me. Maybe they will lend some of that late night, couch sitting, moon glistening in the window, steamy hot tea kind of soul comfort.

When I look back, I remember how God invaded my story with Himself. And so I hear myself tell myself, remember. Remember how you scattered like a cockroach running from the light, yet even so, He pursued you with love. Remember how even long after you had proven it to be a lie, you believed that everything would get better if you could just chase that high. Remember how even as you were pursuing death He would not let you go, even though you wished He would let you go, you wished He would leave your mind alone, you wished He would stop speaking love to you, but He never did. In the hidden places when sight revealed no signs of hope, faith was at work, like the tiniest of mustard seeds planted to save your life.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you. –Psalm 139:8-12

It was always Jesus calling – arise sweet daughter, and follow Me. Always Jesus. Mighty Warrior, Demon-Slayer, King of Kings, Silencer of Accusations, Killer of Condemnation, Healer and Deliverer, the One who Drives out Fear and Darkness. Jesus.

I am approaching 9 years of recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. Yet for as long as I live, I will never understand why some of us grab ahold of the lifeline, and others don’t. I will never understand why I got desperate enough when I did, but others never do. I will never understand why some people never take ahold of the God who seems so far away but is as close as the air we breathe. I will rage against it, I will hate it, I will grieve it and mourn it. I will refuse to pretend there are easy or simple answers to this broken condition, this disease, this nightmare of a living breathing walking hell.

I’m often walking this strange tightrope where I try to assess whether I am being too hard on people or just doing what is necessary. As I laid awake for some time last night, I realized that I am simply so used to having to let people go, that it is easier to ready myself for letting go than it is to ready myself to have hope for them.

Jesus is still in the miracle business. And recovery is still possible for anyone, I don’t care who you are or where you are. Freedom is Christ is real. This I believe and live and teach and have given my life to sharing with others. But when you bury people and lose people and they go missing and get sick and die slowly and lose their kids and ruin their lives and turn yellow and red-eyed and homeless and prostitute themselves and steal and thieve and lie for years and years and years, it becomes a tremendous risk to invest even an iota of emotional energy expecting them to get well.

It becomes something that makes me grind down hard on my teeth, makes me clench my fists, makes me have a foul taste in my mouth. And I just don’t know if I can.

As I thought about these things, something came to me.

There is a kind of letting go that is hard-heartedness. This one is more like a slammed door than a slow release.

But there is another kind of letting go that is soft and sad; full of love, but necessary. This one is more like holding hands with a precious friend, holding them up until you just can’t withstand the weight anymore, and their fingers slowly, painstakingly slip from yours.

I pray my heart remains in the latter.