‘Abba, help us along the way, to slow down and stop. Here, may we find home in You as we are reminded of our wandering there, home in You; a light-hearted rest. Home is with us, even in us; Home is along the way and Home is in our destination. In Jesus, Amen.’
Just in from another OD. Depleted yet, thankful. Taking a deep breath and focusing on trying to put some words together to describe what just happened and connect it, somehow to this week’s reading.
Every day, on my way in to serve, I wonder if there will be another OD that we will have to face. With every OD, I wonder if this will be the one that we will lose.
I shudder at the loud knock at the door and, then the words, ‘Pastor Chris, Naloxone…quick!’ There’s panic every time, ‘BANG! BANG! BANG!’, even if the knock is for a glass of water or granola bar. Trauma.
There’s no time for going slow, running for the kit and to the door as fast as I can. ‘Someone is dying outside (I may have to do CPR)’, is screaming between my ears. Then, being directed by voices on every side, all the way to where the person is lying. Sometimes, despite the crowd, the person is on their own, motionless and turning blue.
Often, very close to the community of the Mustard Seed, there’s an angel. His name is Sky. When he is with us, it feels like we are ok even, in the midst of an OD (which is a life or death situation); He brings us Home. Edwin Friedman would be proud.
In another ‘Not’ book, not Not Knowing, though a reference made of Not Knowingin their book Not Doing, D’Souza and Renner remind their readers that ‘when our context changes or becomes more unpredictable, stress levels rise, and we feel more at the mercy of our circumstances.’1A stressful moment, especially one that involves more than one other person or, a group of people, calls for a leader that is well-differentiated and ‘kept together’. In the context of an OD, I’m a very leaky leader. Albeit, there’s an expectation with the ‘call out’ and door banging, that I need to exude some kind of leading confidence.
In observation of Sky, a young homeless man in his early twenties, his approach is not controlling. His calm demeanour increases confidence in me and others around who find place to help, because we know that he knows. His level of control is natural, there’s ease to it; it does not appear ‘as a defence, an antidote to not knowing, a grasp for certainty,’2 therefore, his position in leadership is respected and felt as credible.
Walk Away Wondering
There’s an obsession with addiction, a need for fulfilment that teases the mind and body; a desire that must be satisfied. The addict is vulnerable in this state of obsession. In an interview with Psychotherapy Networker, revered speaker on topics related to addiction, Gabor Mate shares that ‘the person with OCD is compelled to perform some behavior but, finds it unpleasant to have to engage in it. It’s not egosyntotic.’3 A person is made vulnerable by the lack of control obsession causes. Seemingly, the anxious striving for control perpetuates a loss of control.
The quiet hero, Sky was standing patiently in the lunch line, a little while after the OD had occurred. Head bowed, only glancing up and around the odd time as a deer would be in an open field, I approached him. ‘Sky, you’re such a blessing,’ I told him, ‘can I get you anything, man?’ Whispering back sheepishly, as his voice goes, ‘No, I’m ok.’ Then, as if struck by a wonderful idea, his head perked up and, half smiling and eyes twinkling with hope, he asked if we had any yoghurt. ‘Of course. You got it!’ I answered. Edwin Friedman, in his book Failure of Nerve, notes that ‘in an atmosphere where everything is dire, a vicious cycle develops as a loss of playfulness destroys perspective.’4From serious focus to light-hearted playfulness is how we drift from pain to healing-life every day. Thankful, to follow the leader (his calm and twinkles of life) on this day.
I only wish that Sky’s obsession was yoghurt.
“Abba, I pray for Sky. That he would recognise Home with You along the way. Spirit-of-God, lead him Home to You. In Jesus, Amen.”
- Renner, Diana and Steven D’Souza. Not Doing: The Art of Effortless Action.(New York, New York: LID Publishing Limited, 2018), 71.
- Not Doing, 71.
- Dockett, Lauren and Rich Simon. The Addict in All of Us. Psychotherapy Networker, July/August 2017. https://www.psychotherapynetworker.org/magazine/article/1102/the-addict-in-all-of-us
- Friedman, Edwin H. A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix. (New York, New York: Seabury Books, 2007), 64.