Friday, September 9, 2011

The Scarlet Letter...

I've saved this from my son's time in treatment.  It has haunted me since I first laid eyes on it.  These words are the antithesis of what I've ever wanted my children to learn or feel about themselves.  But, here it is in black and white. 

Over the year's time, I know that we've gained a lot of ground.  I am thankful for that.  But, last night I was reminded of how far we have to go.  I was telling my son about my girls at the jail.  He was asking why they were there.  I told him I didn't know and that it really didn't matter.  "What is important, is their need for hope and encouragement."  "I don't think that they have been told that they can do anything they set their mind to", I said.  Without missing a beat, my son says, " you shouldn't tell them that, it just sets them up for disappointment." 

Pow! Boom!Bang!  It felt like an old episode of "Batman" where those words popped across the screen and I couldn't see them coming.  "Where I work, they are more accepting of  people like me, but a lot of places aren't that way,"  he casually stated. 

The stigma of addiction. The word stigma is from the Greek and it is the singular form of the word meaning a mark of disgrace on one's reputation.  If you are Catholic, you've heard of a stigmata.  Go here for more info.    People (saints mostly) who bear the physical marks resembling the wounds of the crucified Christ are experiencing a stigmata.  Stigmata is the plural form of the word stigma, meaning many marks or tattoos of sins or suffering.  I find this "goosebump worthy". 

Raise your hand if you've  read The Scarlet Letter in high school.  What did you learn from that?  Have you heard the parable of the Good Samaritan?  What about how foolish the people of biblical times were about the lepers?  Huh, did we associate that lesson to the AIDS epidemic?  We're so evolved.  We can see each lesson in that one tunnel visioned story or lesson, but we can't GET the lesson that is to be applied to other things. 

There is this  wise blogger out there says that folks won't get it until they get their turn in their own barrel.  I guess she's right.  But, I still need to get this rant off my chest.  Are you perfect?  Have you done things you weren't proud of ?  Did you do it of your own free will?  Well, guess what, our addicted loved ones lost their free will.  They didn't want to keep doing these things.  But, the disease of addiction physically forced them to keep feeding the hungry beast. 

All I ask is this, the next time you see a homeless person, an inmate, a drunk or addict, look into their eyes.  Imagine those eyes as an infant in the arms of it's mother.  Remember that that person is someones child.  Imagine that it is your child in that place.  Now, treat them accordingly. 

"The  King will answer and say to them ' Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of the brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me."  Matthew 25:40

Today I pray a prayer of thanksgiving for the gift of knowledge.  I am thankful that God gave me the vision to see my son's "marks".  I am thankful for the gift experience from all those great bloggers out there.  I pray for the wisdom to continue this journey.  I pray for the continued healing of our addicted loved ones and, a prayer for Henry.



beachteacher said...

wow...what an absolutely spot on and beautiful post...thank you..

Hattie Heaton (Mom of an Addict) said...

Your welcome. It is a post I've wanted to write for a long time. I just needed the right segway...It was eye opening to hear my own son have such a bleak outlook. I am learning that I can't "fix" him but maybe encourage others that have no one to encourage them...I am constantly surprised the places God takes me.

beachteacher said...

me too Hattie....I feel the same

Lou said...

I think addicts tend to have an overly pessimistic view..I know my son always see the glass as half empty. In fact, you and I know many people rebuild their lives, often from square one. I also know a few who are in and out of prison. It seems that is what their life will be always.

I really don't know what empowers some to change. But I believe support from strangers (like you going into the jails with the Alanon message) and family make the key difference for many.

thanks for your kind mention, and for fixing the blog roll. I always take away a positive from your posts.

Sarah said...

Wow, that's exactly what I've always done with homeless people. I didn't know others did too, it breaks my heart to think of them as someone's baby... but I can't help it. They are. They were someone's toddler running around babbling and laughing without a care in the world some time ago. I wish there was more I could do for each one of them. But for now, I'll just pray :)