And the Darkness Did Not Overcome It
Come he said
They say that recovered alcoholics are people who would not normally meet. It’s meant to be a statement of the real depth that unites us; the escape from darkness. Some of the finest people I have ever met are alcoholics, and they’ve appeared in my life, like apparitions of grace, moving me somehow and reflecting light.
Last night I sat with one of those grace filled people during a performance by a brilliant french cellist, and we were both transported by her music. It was like the rapture, and we never left the room. I thank God that people and experiences move me like that, because they didn’t used to; not when the darkness inhabited me.
During my last decline, when anxiety had rendered me sleepless for months, I sought refuge in the arms of my dear friend Militza, because I was losing my mind. She is a beautiful, spirit filled woman, and she tried every way she knew to comfort me. I was living in the lower level of her lovely home since my divorce, and my mind and my life had spun hopelessly out of control. That night, she opened her arms,her heart and her everything to me as she tried to rock me to sleep. When it didn’t work, I turned the last dark corner of my disease because I realized that my torment was now tangible to others. It’s one thing to suffer, but watching others watching me suffer was simply too much. I stopped asking for help because the darkness convinced me that it wouldn’t work.
This morning I attend the memorial of a man who died because of alcoholism, and was able to share my perspective with his grieving family. Their hearts cried out to know why he had remained so distant from them, when they only wanted to help. I told him about another man who had committed suicide last year, at this very same time, by laying in a dumpster and lighting himself on fire. It was as unthinkable then as it is now, but a lovely Monsignor helped us all understand that searing pain as he said simply,
“Robert was overcome by darkness.”
He had weakened to such an extent, that he couldn’t fight it or bear the pain of hurting the ones closest to him any more. Something tender flowed from those words, and his gesture of kissing the urn containing Robert’s ashes, and I felt peace and a gratitude so expansive I wanted to kiss the sky. By the grace of God, the darkness did not overcome me.
Experiencing the light of God didn’t happen overnight for me. There was a marked beginning though, and it had everything to do with admitting that I was powerless. To admit simply means to let something in. I cannot tell you how that mystery happened but I do know that the person that needs the help must ask for it themselves. That is why I try not to preach, or go where I am not asked. It only makes people mad or feel inadequate, because they aren’t ready for the light. The light changes you.
My friend said something priceless to Hellen Gillet last night, after the performance, and I chimed in and told her that listening to her music had healed her. I know that it is true, because she lost her friend and lover in that dumpster last year, and I believe that was just about the most awful thing she had ever experienced. She survived the loss in her own way, and so very gracefully. Last night, I loved her even more than I like her, and that is a lot. The rapture we experienced is a testament to remaining open in the face of staggering loss and pain, and being transformed by it.
The word of God is much more than letters on a page. It is the life and light and love of God as it moves through us. Sometimes it is music that raises the vibration in us sufficiently that we can look at each other and say, as my friend did last night, ” Allah, Allah..that is God. ‘ ‘ <iframe width=”420″ height=”315″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/kldahkWDkv4″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>