On Sunday, Bill got a text from his brother Dan, youngest among three younger brothers, who shared that he prayed every night that he wouldn’t wake up the next morning. Danny is now divorced, has a 15 year old daughter and three years ago, was in and out of a treatment facility for drugs and alcohol addiction as well as some pretty “serious” psychological challenges necessitating a long stint in the psych ward of a hospital. He and another brother of Bill’s, Mark, who is mentally and emotionally handicapped live with their 93 year old Mom in her home.
Long story short, Dan appears to be a “train wreck”, my label for him. He is taking Prozac and Valium, psychiatrist-prescribed, drinking heavily and just got a DUI two weeks ago. He has a checkered work history because of his addictions for the last maybe 10 years even though he has a five year Engineering degree and a Master’s in Education so he could teach. Bill and he talked for an hour and Dan just refused to get out of victim mode, blaming everyone and everything for his descent into hell and wouldn’t hear or accept anything his older brother, having lived through my own addiction, had to say. Bill suggested AA, talking to a priest, going to church, anything that wouldn’t keep him stuck in self-pity and inertia. After their conversation, Dan texted their other brother, Chuck, to share he didn’t have an older brother and felt abandoned.
As I was sharing all of this with a dear friend as we walked our dogs yesterday afternoon, I went into a lengthy litany of “Ain’t it awful?” and confided that Bill had become the “bad guy” by not joining with Dan in his abject misery and, really, what I was sharing was that it felt so unfair (although I didn’t actually say that).
Oh my goodness, after I got home, it hit me that I had fabricated my version, my story of Dan’s life and all the intricacies of the Bartlett family, their Dad being tyrannical, Mom, complicit and enabling, etc. How many times have I continued to weave this tapestry of illusions? So much so, oh my goodness again, I was convinced I WAS RIGHT in my assessment. I still cannot believe this although it was a rather HUGE epiphany for me!
Today’s lesson is “I am sustained by the Love of God.”
Ken Wapnick contends that Jesus is speaking to specialness in all its forms, relationships, addictions, attachments, “idols”, “children’s toys”, etc., in short, anything that keeps us mired, me mired, in the ego thought system. Oh, and I forgot to add, my story and my version of anyone else’s story, saga, drama, melodrama, journey.
It, the ego, is so insidious, so pervasive, so relentless, so focused on achieving its goal of survival and dominance that it is too easy for me to fall victim to its vicious predatory shrieks as it commands/demands obedience, adherence to its dictates of “Seek and do not find.” And, for “my” sake, says the ego, don’t listen to the Voice for God, He cannot be trusted, but, oh I sure can.
The happy news, the happy dream is I recognized it after I had regurgitated it, yet again, either within my own mind or by sharing with someone else.
I need not give this any meaning, Dan’s saga, Dan’s story, Dan’s tale of woe. I need not define it.
All I need to do is practice and practice I will and I will be vigilant. Yes, I will. Oh, and I will pray for his and his entire family’s highest good, I will ask for help in seeing the light of Christ in all of them and in myself. If I do anything else or think anything else, MY MIND IS SICK and needs to be healed. Amen and Amen!
Have a lovely day.