Monday, 2 September 2013

Knowing Is My Addiction

Sitting in a small fold up chair I’m watching some of the boys play pool, the song Lean On Me comes billowing out of the stereo setting the mood.  It was atop an old cabinet in the corner behind the pool table, the center piece of the room.  The cabinet shares a wall with two glass double doors wide open where four more boys are out on the patio smoking and sharing stories when Mark starts to sing, no doubt excited as it is three verses too early.  As the rest of the boys in the room follow suit I can’t help but look on curiously, I can see why they like this area of the manor.  Beyond its restricted comforts are a sea of freedoms that blanket them as if it were a club house.  It’s the He-Man-Woman-Haters-Club, or what I would imagine the little rascals looking like if they had grown up.  As my mind lingers on the idea of who in the house would be Spanky and Alfalfa I am brought back to the doctors office I sat in months ago.  The little rascals was playing as I waited for my doctor to see me, for the very physical exam needed for me to be in the place I was. Funny how things can stay collected in your brain waiting for the right moment to saunter out for you to find and pick up as if they were newly discovered.  It then dawns on me that the very book I was attempting to read was a gift from that doctor, a book on a doctor’s perspective with addiction.  I can only give a chuckle.  This was not mere coincidence or random act assigned to me but instead it was through my faith that all of these strings tied together so nice and cleanly.

I shake myself from this inward enlightenment to hear that the song has changed, Take My Breath Away is now filling the boys with joy as their game of pool has come to a halt so that they can remember like they did when they were young.  Perhaps of the girl that hadn’t yet left, or the daughter they hadn’t yet hurt.  For some of these chaps are in fact fathers and some yet even more are grandfathers still.  But never the less boys they are.  The lost boys.  My lost boys.  They gather around the pool table in the room coated with intricate wood beams and high ceilings, enough couches and sofas to seat twenty.  From all walks of life these boys come and go, hardly any staying though in this home that gives so freely.  This place is their limbo state, a scale waiting to be tipped in a direction to aide them in making their decisions, no more than a bump in the road just before an intersection.  It is then that Neil turns his pool stick into a guitar completely enveloped in his memories.  And the boys laugh and continue to sing.  I am now invisible to them, nothing more than a space occupier like the broken lounge chair opposite them.  

For a long time leading up to this moment I wrestled with the questions, what am I going to do here? How am I going to help?  and perhaps the biggest one of all why me?  My analytical nature would not let me stop thinking about these questions.  Like a fish to water or perhaps even an addict to addiction, I poked and prodded.  Scratching away.  Deep jagged blows ravaged my brain as I fought to find the answers I am so accustomed to finding.  For in a life of endless answers hardly ever are we satisfied with just a question as being enough.  Knowing is my addiction.  It is the tonic I use to quell my sense of personal inadequacies.    like a drunk drinks to fall into their infant glassy eyed state to produce their opiate for emotional disdain.  I intern fall back inside my bottle of the mind and think my memories to life reliving them as I scrutinizingly inspect each one like a dream. This is my pain-killer, once already lived pain is far easier to consume than pain still yet to come.  The greatest fear of all is knowing that you can’t stop anymore.  That you must continue in order to remain. To put one’s life into harms way, to completely throw away our instinct to live in order to make the moment tolerable is insanity at its best. The emotional anesthetic that addiction holds over us is without question the most difficult mountain to climb.  But however impossible it might seem or foreign a thought it is.  Our souls search for cleansing even amongst the haze of the warp.  

I can’t help but feel that this is the place I need to be.  Right here in this chair.  Right here with these boys.  The lost boys.  But These lost boys are no more lost than I am.  It is then I am sent back into my memories to my week of training in Chicago.  In that terribly boring room, wasting away what might be my last few days in the sunshine and the warmth of its rays.  There I sat trying to learn about the work I was going to be doing the next year as a missionary for the ELCA.  But I remembered something from one of the many sessions of many hours spent in that ultimately forgettable plain room, “walking together in solidarity practices interdependence and mutuality.”  like the doctor’s office just mere minutes before, this memory is served up right on queue.  Like a perfectly timed catalyst all the questions I had been wrestling with were now gone.  It finally sank into the folds forever to stay in the cognizant.  

Divinity comes in the most uncommon ways to us.  In the most unsuspecting ways It is our responsibility to be open to accepting the connections when they come and seeing a glimpse into the architecture of the maze God has laid out in front of us.