A True Story

Let me tell you a story. A true story. This story is about a man who has been about as low as a man can go and survive. He's an alcoholic, a crack addict, has spent multiple times in prison, has two failed marriages and two children he doesn't support and never sees. All a direct result of drug addiction.

This man, at his lowest times, would often go to the dump and look for things to sell to make money to support his drug habit. Right now he claims to be clean. We've all heard that story before, yet we want to believe, that this time, it's the truth and will remain so.

Yesterday he was staying with his friend, a disabled elderly lady. He met her when he was in one of his rehab programs. The relationship is fuzzy but she helps him a lot. He helps her. She can't get around much so he takes her places. She knows he's a junkie but she's ok with that.

An unlikely friendship however how they became friends is the interesting part. She's poor and lame and a couple of years back she broke her walker. She couldn't afford another and there was no program to help her get one. This greatly limited her freedom. She was housebound and depended upon others to help her. She was already friends with the man and he would go by and visit her sometimes. Often he was strung out or looking for money. She never had any but he still visited.

One day the man was in the dump looking for something to sell for drugs and found a discarded walker. He took it home and cleaned it up, and of course gave it to the lady. This act of kindness was typical of the man. He had a heart like this although most people couldn't see it underneath the pathetic picture he made walking the streets looking for a fix.

The man is also my ex-husband and the father of my two older daughters. This story was revealed to my older daughters yesterday and they told me. They have not had their father in their lives yet somehow knowing that this man that they love, is not a complete write-off as a human being restored a certain faith in him and in themselves, for no matter how hard we try, our identity and value is often tied up in what our parents tell us with their actions.

It also restored my faith as well, for underneath the mask of pills and booze and crack, the human being with compassion and hope still exists.

Secondary to that it reminded me, because I'm often asked, why I married him in the first place. Back then, before he was buried in the mire of self-destruction, that abundance of generosity was there, always ready to blossom. It's what made the eventual path he took so very sad.

I'm glad my daughters got to see that in him again. I'm equally glad that it's still there for him, for where there is loving kindness there is a chance for a new beginning. I hope that happens for him. He does have a new girlfriend who seems to be a positive force. And then there is the friend with the walker, who remains loyal to him no matter what his weakness, for the gift of freedom he gave her, while still locked in the chemical chains that bound him.

It's been a difficult task for me to find compassion in my heart for the man who injured the hearts of my children as he did, who left us for a chemical high, who does not truly know the wonderful people they are. But I've grown to do so. I've let go of the anger and taken the lessons I need to learn from the experience. I've tried to encourage my girls to do the same.

It is said that you greatest enemy is often your greatest teacher. Now we have learned this lesson and this time it is that humanity cannot forever mask divinity, it bursts through eventually to shine bright like a super nova and the darker the sky, the more brilliant the light when it comes.

Love thy neighbour
easy to do
love thy enemy
do you?

Find compassion for the innocent
you can of course
But compassion for the prisoner
who shows no remorse?

Easy love
earns an approving nod
difficult love
is a reflection of God.


Daria said…
What a story ... I often wonder why life has to be such a struggle.

I pray for healing for all involved.
Anonymous said…
WOW! Breeze, I am at a loss for words! That was beautifu/tragic. It was happy/sad. It was inspriring/depressing. But I am so glad that you told it. It reaffirms that you should never give up on a person - there is always a chance that they may change. And if they don't, it is because they chose not to.

It seems to me if you can avoid the booze and drugs and barrel through on your own you get tougher and learn to deal with the rocks thrown at you along life's path but if instead of going through you learn to avoid the pain with artificial relief it weakens you and it's that much harder to break free.

drugs/alcohol are the reason for a lot of destroyed lives, both of the addicts' and the collateral damage they leave..my children for example.

But if you can find that person underneath and remove the stress that decreases the chance of success then maybe there is a chance.

Deepanjan Ghosh said…
Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun.

Now there's a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky.

Shine on you crazy diamond.
Karen said…
Wow, that's a powerful post!
'hard to believe that the story is yours, you've become a great inspiration through your writing and has kept positive, I'm sure your daughters will find in their hearts the forgiveness and understanding, much as you have done.
Now I know the reason for your ability to shower so much of compassion, love, respect and affection on others!

What sets you apart is the fact that you have shed the baggage. Most of our problems occur as we love carrying the baggage all through our lives to eventually die under its weight.

It is a priviledge to come in touch with you.
Molly said…
I'm so sorry that you and your girls have had to deal with such hardships. I think it's really important to focus on the good in a person - even if it's hard to find. I'm very inspired by the fact that you seem to have no bitterness in your heart towards your ex. Good for you!
Often times we learn about our own reflection when we see how what we choose to share with others inspires them or helps them in some small way.
I hope you see the beauty that your reflection possesses in our eyes.
Anonymous said…
A great, and very hard, story.
Colette said…
Wow! I am very happy to see that his children see hope in him, unfortunately I watched him go through his addiction in the beginning and I know first hand how hard it is to get off that path....he does have a big heart and its nice to hear about that again.
Leslie said…
This is so true of life; so many things are disguised, knotted, and waiting for the opportunity to blossom, as you said. I also love what you said about circumstances no longer being able to mask divinity through human weakness. It is so true; it is there always. And this, as many others have said or felt, is beautifully, unflinchingly written. Good for you! Thank you for adding something beautiful to my life.