The Things We Never Carry…

We sat there, three years ago, she and I.

The things he had done to others read like a terrible movie script.

It started off with a few drinks, then grew to more. Then, it morphed into pain pills. Pain pills became an escape from everything. Eventually he stopped remembering to pick up their three kids up from school. Until one day he lied about driving home with the kids in the back – completely wasted.

They’ve been divorced for about two years now. She just started dating and is rebuilding a life that she saw disintegrate. No, she wasn’t a perfect wife. She didn’t give him enough attention. She held a grudge and never seemed engaged in what he loved to do.

As for him? As of today the life I was saw him lead has totally crumbled. The guy that once prayed for Del and I is no longer exists. Maybe he never did anyway? As far as we know he has few friends, few hobbies (other than drinking and pills), and continues to be okay slipping further away from the light. We thought he’d hit rock bottom a while ago, but we learned our definition of rock bottom is not shared by him.

I’m not here to pass judgement on him. On the contrary, me heart hurts for the pain he must carry. Sure, maybe he’s just an asshole, narcissistic, addict. But I don’t think so.

I wish he was my only old friend who chose to fall away. But as time passes the list of people that choose darkness seems to grow. And as that list grows I found myself wondering: are they carrying everything, or are they refusing to carry anything?

Like any sane person I’ve dreamed of what wise and blunt things I could say. The words go something like, “You dumb shit head. EVERYONE HAS PROBLEMS. The earth stops for no one. The biggest thing in your way is yourself. Get off your bitch ass, stop hurting everyone, and find a way to fix your problems. God loves you, and He forgives you. Always. ”

But those are words I think, but never speak.

I’m aware of the reality that few of us want advice, but yearn merely for affirmation. I’m not alone in that. I rarely want feedback, and instead want to hear how great I’m doing. Sure, I’m not doing drugs. But drugs aren’t the only habits that split us from people. What does my own pride cause me to fail to see? What grief or anger am I refusing to forgive and confront?

I’m aware the we cannot make people see what they do not want to see. In the book the Wizard of Oz, Oz was never green. The Wizard gave the whole town green glasses. As a result they believed their beautiful city was shiny and bright and green. But one day they were told to take the glasses off. When they took them off, they realized a man behind a wall had been lying to them about their entire reality.

We all have our own set of glasses. There’s a man behind a wall constantly limiting our view. For some of us, we gradually get to see more and more and our view becomes wider. Others never even know they have glasses.

There’s only been one way out of any mess we create. That way is out and through. Whatever shit we create, if we want it to end we have to endure the pain we cause. For me, confronting my own failures and the pain they have caused others is hard. Knowing I fell short and knowing I caused someone pain just sucks ass. Thank God for grace.

I believe in grace. I know it’s there for me as it is for everyone, and all I ever have to do is accept it. The grace of God is always here for us, and it’s easy and free. But first, we have to see what we are carrying. Some of us will be fortunate enough to see what we carry and how it causes us to fall. I pray I continue to accept grace every day, and I hope to gradually see the things I didn’t even know I was carrying.

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