Monday, July 16, 2012

On the Mend

In my life I have had numerous traumas to my body. In adolescence there were two broken legs, a broken arm, two broken fingers, a broken nose and two occasions of forceful removal of teeth (think encountering someone else's football helmet). In adulthood there have been more than a half-dozen surgeries and numerous other procedures that "proceeded" like a bodily assault. Following each occasion, there would be pain that was numbed by medicinal assistance, the gradual regaining of strength, freedom from the medicine, and then continuance of daily routine. In various ways my doctor would say, "I believe you are on the mend."

Trauma can also come to one's psyche and, most specifically, to one's soul. Our family has just experienced that kind of soulful damage. That's the reason I have been away from these pages for several weeks. In mid-June, one of our sons relapsed and begin to use opiates. He had been clean for almost two years. Previously he had used, came to himself (his real self) and made the decision to enter treatment. Then in June he used again. Numerous "triggers" seemed to precipitate his choice. I will not go into all those details. Also, and most painfully, his actions, while under the influence, struck against our very own community of faith. Many know that story in detail and, because it has been sounded for some time now, I choose also not to go into it here. Suffice it to say that he once again, "came to himself" and requested to go back into treatment. He has just completed his time at the treatment center and is now in a half-way house, seeking to rebuild his life day by day.

Because his actions struck most directly against our community of faith, we knew there would need to be some kind of reckoning and accountability. When he began to come to his senses, he was shattered with shame. Our family tried to prepare ourselves for the worst case scenario. Instead our community responded with actions that speak more clearly than can ever be imagined of the reality of their name - "Grace." They reached out to him, forgave him, promised to love and support him as he seeks to rebuild. The drama continues to unfold and we long to see that this response of forgiving love will call forth from him what is needed much more than punishment could ever do.

In the meantime, we have tried to work with our woundedness. We support him and will continue to do so. But we know that this is a time for us to heal also. Our faith community has graciously given us time away to do this necessary work. They have surrounded us with love and encouragement. They have worked this process in such a way as to focus on who they are to be, given these circumstances. In short, we have seen them BE church. And nothing will ever be able to take that away from us.

We have sought some immediate help on our own. Led by our precious daughter-in-law, we have started attending both Alanon and Naranon meetings. We have found gratifyfing support there. Our daughter-in-law summed it up by saying, "I found myself a part of something I never knew I had missed."

And so, we are on the mend. I will return to the pulpit in late August. I will return to these pages more frequently in coming days.

I have been told that after a severe wound, the scar will always be there but that the area will be stronger when it heals. I trust that such will be true.

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