Friday, March 05, 2010
THE SUMMER OF LOVE
The summer of bible camp was "the summer of love" (1967). How ironic I thought, while others everywhere were tuning in, turning on and dropping out, I was trying to understand basic human nature and to find out if God really does exist. From a child's perspective, I grew up thinking if the people who claim they love me and want to protect me will hurt me, then what will the rest of the world do to me? The funny thing about it is that I've gone through life waiting and wanting someone to prove me wrong. My logic says since people are human and humans are flawed, anyone is bound to hurt/disappoint someone else, but on a deeper level (one still filled with idealism and good things that can't be destroyed by this cesspool called life) I choose to hold onto the belief that love is a good thing and in many situations is the only thing that keeps us afloat.
After that summer when I fell short of receiving God's grace, I turned to trying to understand evil instead. When the Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey was hot off the presses, I purchased one and read it from cover to cover hoping for a lightbulb moment. Needless to say, it was just another book filled with words written by man and it didn't explain the great mysteries of life any more than The Bible had. My spiritual journey I suppose some would say was corrupted by my inability to believe what I couldn't see. Instead of blindly believing I questioned instead. If God loved us so much then why does bad things happen to good people? Where are the miracles? Why are there wars, fathom and disease? No one seemed to be able to adequately answer these things through the verses they would throw my way. I needed more than words on a page to swallow anything I was told about God.
Eventually my salvation was found in my experimentation with drugs. As that experimentation deepened, I found certain drugs had a numbing effect. That feeling was one my whole body craved.... especially my emotions. Nothing bothered me as long as I stayed high, so by the age of 14 I stayed high all the time. I could easily sit back and blame my choices on my genetic background. I'm sure the long line of alcoholism that runs on both sides of my family would be enough of reason to say I didn't stand a chance not to be a substance abuser, yet somehow I know that's not why I changed the path I had walked as a small child. You see, I actively sought out finding something that would make me numb. It took me many years to realize that without drugs I would have been a much uglier statistic. I chose drugs. They didn't choose me.
Looking back on it, I call the next 16 years of my life "my leap of faith". They say God looks out for fools and drunks, but I think He/She has a special fondness for all addicts. Addictions, whatever they may be, cause an emotional bankruptcy in the person. No love is greater than that of a person and their drug of choice. When I say "drug", I include food, sex, gambling, shopping, work or whatever it is a person uses to escape. All other things in life come second regardless of what we tell ourselves or everyone else. That moment, at the climax when nothing else matters, I found freedom from pain and a facade that made me think nothing could hurt me again. Many years later, when the truth stared me in the face daring me to look elsewhere, I realized the truth would set me free.
Gratitude statement: I'm thankful for the fleeting moments of the truth I see.