Tag: enough

I can count on one hand the number of times we saw grandma Durham. I remember visiting her and grandpa in California when I was 5 or 6. We drove from Louisiana or Arkansas, wherever we were living at the time, in a station wagon that I think we slept in at least one night.

My memory focuses on the cots spread out in the field behind their house, across the levee under nothing but the California sky. The cots were available to men. The times were different and so was the language. They weren’t homeless in those days even if they had no address to call home. Here in an open stretch of space they had a place to sleep and a bowl of beans served up by grandma. I think the only payment in return was chores around the property or grandpa’s used furniture store.

Years later they moved north to Washington state and this time it was a big house where they rented rooms to migrant workers. Rooms filled in the summer and empty come winter when the work moved south back to California. The men paid what they could, often bringing heaping bowls of cherries or other fruit they picked in the orchards.

 

This is who they were. People with little, but feeling they had enough and giving from their enough to others.

Mama told me about the man she bought stockings for. He came to church but didn’t quite fit in. A man’s body, women’s clothes and he needed stockings. Grandma bought them. He was in need. That’s all that ever mattered to her. If she could help, she would. She did.

Years after grandma had gone to be with Jesus, mama sat in our house in Memphis. She called home to check on things in her absence and I heard her voice tighten. I saw her eyes redden.

What happened mama? Someone died. Who? I don’t remember you mentioning that name. He was a drunkard. He was my friend.

A legacy, handed down from her mama, from grandma. The focus not on herself as God’s grace swept through her heart.

“Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage.” Matthew 6:6 the Message

Maybe this is why I’m comfortable sitting in a roomful of addicts and alcoholics. Maybe this is why I’m fit for this work of victory and defeat, of relapse and recovery. The focus on self is removed as God shows his grace to me through these men. He shows me how desperately I’m in need of his mercy.

This is in our blood, my DNA that at its core has a cross.

faith family grace

Enough is enough.

His words were heavy with conviction as he spoke to the room filled with 100+ people. Most were men, like him, addicts and alcoholics. It was a night of celebrating sobriety. One month, two, a year, 5 years and more. We’d celebrate program completions and we would share with cheers, encouragement and words of caution.

Mark was the resident manager. He lived upstairs in a private room among the others rooms that held six and ten. He reminded them to tuck their shirts in, be on time, shave….every day. He saw the literal good, bad and ugly of addiction. He lived it once himself.

Enough is enough.

Most of the time Mark is the full of smiles, everything is good kind of guy. His face is a bit too easy to read, however. This night, his heart was heavy for others struggling with this lethal disease and he spoke firm words of caution. He said it not as a plea but as a victory chant: Enough is Enough

Did you ever hear your mama say it? I’ve had enough of you. Or that’s enough!

Whatever it was we were doing, she wanted it to end. Now. No more. She’d had plenty, more than enough.

I remember well Mark’s earnest words of choice. A mantra, a note to self to stop the destruction, the lies, the flirting with death.

Mark knew, and we know, it isn’t so easy to change. We’re people who seem to crave more. And more. Stopping is hard because we can’t do it alone.

Sometimes, that’s the hardest part. Admitting we can’t do it and that we need help. It’s that way with life, not just addiction. We’re at our best when have others around us to share the burdens. Friends or professionals who we can be our true selves with. It’s the Jesus way of finding he is our enough.

 

faith Five-Minute Friday recovery

It seems to happen this time of year. I didn’t realize it at first, not in the midst of a week that was getting worse by the day. It’s not always the same pattern but after the holidays, when the days are good and full and people are joyful and we celebrate losing few men from the program, when we slow to catch our breath at the start of a new year and think “Whew! we made it”, it happens. The “bug” gets shared and one by one people are sick and coughing and you keep the hand sanitizer close. Then the unexpected loss comes and one is grieving and another numb and a relapse after two years of recovery and it’s a friend and the week just sucks.

Yeah, that happens every year ’round this time and it will happen again. Income tax returns will start to arrive and men will leave with that bit of money in their pockets, money that won’t pay child support or a good haircut but money that will turn into a serpent hissing to them that they can do it just once. Just one drink, one hit and then they can stop. This time.

As a young co-worker said to me “It’s recovery. We deal with that on a weekly basis.” I’m the one who should tell him that. I’m the one doing this for 10 years but he’s the one living with addiction. He’s the one who really knows.

So I railed against it. I whined to a friend and shook my head in despair but that’s not how God saw it. That’s not how he answered my tender heart.

You did it: you changed wild lament
    into whirling dance;
You ripped off my black mourning band
    and decked me with wildflowers.
I’m about to burst with song;
    I can’t keep quiet about you.
God, my God,
    I can’t thank you enough.” Psalm 30:11-12

near Ponte Vedra beach

My friend had these words on her blog and the despair started to lift. Another friend had them on her Facebook and God often has to repeat himself to get my attention.

I drove to Sunday morning service with expectancy in my heart but who can ever expect what God pours out?

It was a Sunday where men would be invited to share a testimony. We sang a verse of a familiar hymn and they were invited to share and twenty minutes later men were still testifying of God’s goodness. Of His provision, of a new life, new perspective, of a way through the hard times. Their words flew to my heart like arrows and struck that spot that only God can pierce and turned my lament into whirling dance and together a sermon was preached through them. God’s spirit living in us and spilling out – He is enough. Always and again, enough.

faith hope recovery