It didn’t take me too long to find the chains that You just freed me from.
This line from a song I love plays on repeat in my head every time I see my friend Sally. Sally has been an alcoholic for a very, very long time. The alcohol serves to numb the pain of knowing her former husband molested their children. Sally wants to discover a different way. Most days the way she knows comes easiest. And I get it. It breaks my heart and I long for her to find freedom from it, but I get it.
I get it because I too find my own chains over and over again.
So what should Sally do? What should I do?
I believe we need to acknowledge how heavy the burden is, fall on our knees and ask the One who created us to do a new work in our hearts. I think we need to find a community where we can come as we are; where we can acknowledge the things that we do wrong; where we can be challenged and held accountable for our actions; where we can be gently held when we mess up AGAIN. Because we all will.
I have held Sally’s hair back as she vomited on the floor. I have noticed the empty bottles of rubbing alcohol stashed in her bag and sometimes confiscated the full ones. I have helped guide her staggering body to the waiting ambulance because maybe this time the help will be accepted.
Sally has sat with me, holding my hand as I wept, overwhelmed and exhausted. She has cautioned me to not “work so hard”. When I am feeling particularly unloveable, Sally always seems to be the one who shows up to tell me I am loved.
One day Sally arrived at PNC, wasted and wired, saying she had been prepared all day to take her own life. I sat in stunned silence as she handed me the pile of pills she had stored up, saying, “I’ve decided this isn’t the answer. I’m giving you my pills. I know I am loved”.
It is in those moments that the chains are loosened. I have kept the pills as a reminder.
I got so used to having them on I didn’t know how to live in freedom. This can’t be, no it can’t be what You intended for me. Glory come down.