One thing I’ve learned over the last few days is that when you move to a new place all the demons and insecurities come out, in full.
As many of you know, I just moved (back) to Roanoke, Virginia to be with and help out my gravely ill brother Kevin and I’ve had to do what thousands of people do every day: become familiar with the Unknown. But what has happened over the last few days is that my eyes are seeing weirdly, seeing things like everyone is, well, pretty and happy, and buff, and in loving relationships, owning nice cars (that work), have no troubles, blah, blah, blah, blah.
I know that is not true. But I need to vomit that out, and I feel better.
Of course not EVERY one I see or meet is in that perfect state of bliss, but doing what I try to do with my life and turn inward to ask myself what is ill at ease within me rather than outwardly to blame and judge others, I am finding that all my insecurities are raging.
I feel lonely, and ugly, and old. I’m no longer hip, or cool. I have nothing to offer these people in Roanoke whether professionally or personally, spiritually or intelligently. At least, that is what my monkey mind is saying is the case. “You are worthless” says the voice of emptiness and ego. “You made a mistake moving to Roanoke.”
In truth, my brother is angry at me for putting his “story” out there to people to try and raise moving expenses; but I know he is not angry at me, but at the surplus powerlessness he feels with his ever diminishing health. No one likes to be powerless and needy, least of all my boot strapping big brother.
Change is everywhere I look; and in everything I feel. Much like my brother Kevin, I am riding this roller coaster called my Life and sometimes my hands are off the bar up in the air yelling, “wheeeeeee” and other times I am gripping the bar, white as a ghost, fearing for my very existence and as out of control as one can be.
But that is the nature of change. THAT is why it is called CHANGE…because everything does. In the rooms of recovery we are admonished with this truth, “change I must or die I will.” Sometimes I re-write that to say “change I must AND therefore die I will.” In this change of location – which is also rich in metaphor for the change that is occurring in the inner world – I am being afforded new opportunities to allow the darkness and demons, the weakness and frailty to be touched by the comforting and disturbing grace of God.
I shared briefly that literally just hours after arriving in Roanoke and unpacking the car and truck, my car overheated and went kaput. Now, I can do what I normally do in default mode: panic. Or I can pray. And trust God. And do this particular event differently. The car breaking down is a perfect gift to go from a breakdown to a spiritual breakthrough.
And the feelings of loneliness and isolation that are squeezing my heart shut are just openings for me to learn to practice the healing and recovery I have worked so hard to achieve, con-conspiring with God to get to where I am. I can go to AA meetings. I can find a faith community to start building community with. I can go out, to the dog park, and meet other dog crazy people. And ALL of these moments are the tender movement of God in my life and world, drawing me away from fear and instead leading me deeper into the courage (meaning “with Heart”) that God’s grace and love give.
When a person has lost everything (like I have) and been given numerous chances over and over again by God to begin again, how can I live in fear? How can I left the lesser parts of me rule where the better parts of me, the parts touched by God, have come into their own?
The answer is I can’t.
As I approach each new day in this place, I will relish the chance to change, to die, to be reborn and made new by this God Who gives grace and mercy richly and to all who ask. For in all this change, I hold true to one thing: I am never truly apart from the One Who is Love; and knowing that I will fear…less…