As a new pastor in my 20s, I sat up one night with a 30-something mom of two young daughters whose husband had just died in a car accident. These were the first words out of her mouth after the horrible news sunk in: “I wish it was a year from now.”
This struck me at the time as a hopeful comment. She trusted that time would bring healing eventually. But then again, maybe she just wanted to numb out for a year and wake up when it was over.
As a victim of the latest upper respiratory bug floating around Chicagoland, I just wanted to sleep over the past four days, believing that when I woke up – poof – the sore throat and achy bones would be gone.
If only healing our other bugs were so easy.
Sometimes we crawl into bed in hopes of waking up better, after the pain of profound disappointment or shame or confusion or sadness or mental chaos. And if we can’t sleep, we can always numb out via other means.
This article was published in The Washington Post yesterday in response to Philip Seymour Hoffman’s overdose in particular and the global drug problem in general. It explains some of the basics about this latest tragedy.
Many of us deal with various levels of mental illness. Some of our brokenness is situational, involving layers of personal grief. And some of us were born with chemically quirky brains, and worse.
All of us would like to go to sleep and wake up happier or more content or less anxious or totally healed. I wish we who are addicted could stop eating and drinking our feelings. I wish we didn’t turn so quickly to pills or needles when we are emotionally hurt.
But we like fast and easy fixes. And we don’t want to trouble others with our pain. And some people consider it more fun to deal with our pathologies pharmeceutically. It feels like “recreation” instead of hard work.
But our souls cannot be healed with sugar or alcohol or narcotics or hallucinogens. The world cries out to be loved in spite of our brokenness.
It kills me that the church has the reputation of being so judgmental and lame and irrelevant. Because the world could really use a worldwide community of people who unconditionally love each other and teach others how to love unconditionally. If only.