I’m A Fan Fridays — “I had reached my life-long limit of lies.”

AA Room

I’m back; not with a loud bang but with a bit of a whimper.  The year 2014 was the worst year of my life.  There are so many reasons why; we’ll get to some in time.

Today is a good day.  Part of the reason it’s a good day is that I’m determined to live in this day and only this day.  I’ll leave tomorrow to itself.  I can only handle this one.  I’ve come to realize, kicking and screaming and not all at once, that I’m an alcoholic and an abuser of prescription drugs.  It’s a nasty combination which almost, on a couple of occasions, landed me in a real-life version of an opening scene from the HBO series Six Feet Under.

I’ll write more about my journey as days go by, but that’s not all I’ll write about.  I’m determined to keep at this blog; I think I really need it.  And if I write something out of my own experiences that moves you or someone you know to live a better, more joyous life, then it will be worth it.  I know that, for me, cathartic experiences can truly come from anywhere, carried by anyone, at any time and in any place.

Here’s a monologue from a movie that was “made for me to see.”  I truly think God knew that I would not truly get what I was doing to myself, my family and my friends until I saw this film.  The thing is, none of that truly hit me until the THIRD TIME I watched it.

Yeah.  I sat through this film three times before I understood how much like Denzel Washington’s character I actually was.  I’m not black and I’m not a pilot.  That’s about the extent of our differences.  But, like him, I couldn’t see it until I saw it.

This monologue, so beautifully done by the great Denzel, is where I got to on February 3, 2015.  The day before my 46th birthday this past week, it was as if I had reached my life-long limit of lies.  I thought I had gotten there before, but I was wrong.  My rock bottom, as it turned out, had a trap door.  I have a long, long way to go and a lot of amends to make, but I’m ok.  I’m scared as hell, but I’m ok.

I didn’t drink today, and I took only the medicine prescribed to me as directed.  I’m alive now, and if I’m blessed with the opportunity to wake tomorrow morning, I’ll pray to God to continue to do for me what I cannot do for myself.

Love yourselves, my friends!

—-

Follow Scott on Twitter — @scotylang

If this world is not your home, then where do you live?

notmyhomeWe’re clearly in the midst of some difficult times here in America.  Our government is shut down, and no matter where you turn, one side is blaming the other.

Then, you hear many of us who are affected by this process lashing out at the men and women who can’t seem to get their jobs done (and let’s face it, who would abide this kind of incompetence in the workplace anywhere else?).

This is obviously very troubling to me.  But what’s troubling me even more is something else I’ve been seeing which seems to be a response to this governmental ineptitude by some people of faith.

I’ve seen several Facebook statuses lately that say some kind of version of the following:

This world is not my home.  I’m just passing through.

worldnotmyhome

Don’t get me wrong.  I understand this sentiment, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with it; it’s not even that bad a hymn, though not a favorite of mine.  What troubles me about using this phrase is that it’s fraught with the potential for us to use it as an excuse to not get involved politically, to turn the other way when we are confronted with enormous injustice and inequality.  When we are afraid to ruffle feathers and decide to simply throw up our hands instead.

Things get rough politically.  We find, sometimes, that our opinions differ greatly from some of our closest and dearest friends and it doesn’t feel good. We want to avoid confrontation.  So, we end up essentially saying, Hey, everything is out of control right now.  I have this desperate need for certainty and I can’t find any right now! 

Out of our need for this certainty and security, we say to ourselves, and others who will listen, (hopefully agreeing with us and validating our position, helping us feel that much more secure) God is in control!

It’s a statement of faith, and I understand where it comes from.  Keep saying it; I’m with you!

My problem is not with a statement of faith.  My problem is that I’ve seen it used as a cop out.

There is evil in this world.   People do terrible things to one another and act in ways opposite of the ways of love.  That happens, yes.

But, there are also people who act in loving ways all over the place.  Nice words are said, helping hands are being lent, generous deeds are being done, and people are being clothed and fed.  That’s also happening.

All of us have likely seen those WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) bracelets the kids used to wear.  When I first saw them, several years ago, I wasn’t sure how I felt about them.  At first I thought, That’s ridiculous!  It’s just another way to try to keep young people “in line”!  How presumptuous to assume we would know what Jesus would do in this case!

After some reflection, though, I thought to myself, You know, that’s not a bad question to ask.  What would Jesus do?  What would someone filled with the spirit of love, the spirit of God, do in this time of turmoil?

If you believe in a place we go after we die, that’s completely fine with me.  I have no problem with you. I know that, for many people, the idea that another place beyond this one can offer an enormous amount of comfort.  When my grandmother was in the very difficult last year of her life, she expressed to me quite often her longing for God to “take her home.”

When a loved one is suffering with cancer or Lou Gehrig’s or any other terrible thing that is out of our control, we want desperately to know that something beyond ourselves has it all figured out, that someone has a plan in place.

I’m not here to argue against that.  That notion can bring a great deal of comfort, and comfort during times of suffering is something I pray for on a daily basis.  What worries me is that, during times of crisis politically and socially, the notion that “God is in control” is played out by saying to ourselves and the world, I’m just going to throw up my hands because I just don’t know what to do.  God will handle it all in the end.

I just don’t think that’s a very good answer to the bracelet question.

Our government is letting us down right now.  No matter on which side of the political fence you’ve planted your lawn chair, I’m pretty sure we can agree on that.  And, while we may not agree on the best way for our elected officials to bring this crisis to a resolution, I think we can ultimately unite on some WWJD principles.

Are you prepared to act if there actually is no “plan”?  Are you prepared to stand up in defense of the poor and the sick and the desperate and the downtrodden? Would Jesus do that?  I think Jesus would do that, yes.

But how?  What would he do?  What would he do right now?

That’s a good question…