Monday, March 11, 2013

A Peek Into Rehab

Someone I know and love is in Rehab.  My family went to visit her yesterday for the first time since she checked in 22 days ago. 

Second only to every Walmart experience I've ever had, I have never been around so many people who were visibly struggling with their flesh for their soul.

I am reminded how important family and people are to one fully engaged in this very real battle - That we "belong to each other", as Mother Teresa says.  I am reminded that we are all engaged in this same battle, only some are winning and some are losing.  I am reminded of the need for our intercession in prayer.  These people cannot get themselves out, by prayer, or any other means.  They need the "body of Christ" in a very real, and tangible way. 

Yesterday, I experienced the lack of hope that the world gives.  My "person" was telling me about the people who have been discharged, only to come back in two day's time.  They are putting their hope in themselves, and "themselves" are not capable of coming through.  She was telling me about a boy who was sitting close by, who had to have "skin checks" every day, because he makes continued attempts on his life by cutting himself.  I would never have known by looking.  All I saw was a boy with hair in his eyes, surrounded by people who clearly loved him.  I was reminded that you cannot presume anything about anyone, especially by looking. 

As I learned yesterday, the first step in a 12-step program is admitting that your life is out of control and that you are powerless over it.  Secondly, that there is a higher power - something bigger, greater, and more powerful than you.   

It is scary for me, even for a few moments, to think as if I were the biggest, greatest, and most powerful force in my life.  I can see how the daily pressure would be too great, and can imagine the temptation to succumb to the unremitting appeal for an essential, life-preserving escape.  This is exactly what God is telling us when He says that we are strong in our weakness.

"'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.'  I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me."  2 Corinthians 12:9

If we know we need God above all, and are subject to Him above all, all will be well.  Only then, can our relationships be properly ordered, and we can take our proper place, in humility.

When I used to work with the poor with the St. Vincent de Paul Society, I heard a great analogy:  Imagine you have a garage full of boxes and stuff that has accumulated for years.  You want to clean it out, but there is no obvious starting point.  You feel so overwhelmed by the big, seamless mess, that the best (most peaceful) course of action seems to leave it, as is.

When one lives a life of poverty, or addiction, their whole life feels like that.  It is not just one room in a house.  These people need us. 

Dear Heavenly Father,  Thank you for a car that works to bring us to those in need.  Thank you for the beauty of your Creation.  Thank you for the privilege to participate in another person's life.  Thank you for family, and for those people who give us glimpses of your unconditional love.  Lord, thank you for being a God of order, and for putting us directly under Yourself in that order.

Lord, I beg you to draw near to those who live on the edge of despair, the sin against hope.  Lord, please comfort them, and grant them the grace of wisdom - to know where to begin to sort through the years of accumulated mess.  Please grant them the grace to forgive those by whom they have felt betrayed or abandoned, and to look only to You for fulfillment.  

Please grant those of us You have sustained with your grace, an extra dose of compassion for those who need our intercession.  Help us to take seriously our responsibility to pray and ask graces for those in need, especially because they are incapable themselves.  Help us to extend the mercy we have been granted.  Amen.   

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