women of a certain age are like sunflowers; they know how to turn their faces to the sun.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

To Lighten the Darkness

  • How do you write the unwritable?
  • How do you think the unthinkable?
  • How do you accept the unacceptable?
  • How do you love the unlovable?

How do you make sense of the senseless?

I have been absent these last few days due to a family situation. Someone I love fiercely, with my whole heart, engaged in some highly risky behavior - risking health, freedom, and perhaps life.

And he refuses to see the situation for what it truly was.

  • How do you help someone who doesn't believe he needs help?
  • How do you break through the wall?
  • How do you reach the unreachable star?
  • How do you bring the mountain to Muhammad, if Muhammad won't take a step in the mountain's direction?

I bore witness to things this weekend that I never thought I would. I watched helplessly as someone beyond anyone's control save God's veered sharply from the safely paved road onto the bumpy rutted path to nowhere. And I floundered.

All I could do in the end was to minimize the danger as much as I could and stand vigil. And give it up to God.

Never is it harder to admit that we do not have the answers for another than when the stakes are unacceptably high, when they lie close to home, when they strike fear.

When you want to throw up, because the grief inside is making you ill and maybe, just maybe, that would purge the anger and futility you feel.

  • How do you help someone find their way home?
  • What do you do when you can't do anything?
  • Why this person? Why this family?
  • How do you fix a broken soul?

When the immediate crisis had passed and panic shrank to deep uneasiness, with the worry settled into my bones like marrow, I lit a candle in the kitchen, bowed my head, and said a small prayer to fill a unfathomable need.


I learned two things this weekend:

  • God is the only one who answers our calls for help at 5:00 on a Saturday morning.
  • Figuring out the answers is not my job. My job is to light the candle.


teabird said...

Susan, you did exactly what you could do - light the candle and love. I'm glad your loved one got through, and I'm glad you got through - and thought it through -

La Cabeza Grande said...

It's an awful, helpless feeling dear one, but you took matters as far as you could then put them in hands that are far more powerful than your own.

You're right. After all is said and done, your job is to light the path. I wish you strength.

Margene said...


Jejune said...

You help within the limits of what is reasonable, responsible, and within your abilities, and keep yourself safe and well, and protect your family from harm.

The rest is up to the person who's gone off the rails - as harsh as it is, it's their life, and their responsibility in the end. They have to live by the choices they make. And yes, of course it impacts on those around them, often dreadfully so. These are the lessons I've learnt from my drug-addict brother.

Wishing you all the best at this difficult time.

Sheepish Annie said...

How horrid for you. It is the most helpless feeling in the world to watch someone self-destruct. To be powerless when you most want to effect change.

Do remember to take care of yourself. It's the hardest thing to do in this sort of situation, but it is so important.

Thinking good thoughts for you...

Carie said...

Oh I too can sympathise with that frustrating feeling of helplessness - it's human nature and a fair wack of maternal instinct to want to fix things and make everything right but sometimes the only thing you can do is give it up to someone with a lot more sellotape and wait for things to sort themselves out or accept that they haven't. I know it's scant comfort but as you can see from the comments we are all thinking of you and hoping for good news.

Opal said...

One of the hardest things to accept is that you can't help those who don't want to help themselves. I'm so sorry you had to go through all that. You and your loved ones will be in my thoughts.

TheBlackSheep said...

I wish you good luck and much strength. It sounds like you'll be needing both. You're right, all you can do is light the candle.

2begin2 said...

I fell upon your blog through a series of blogs and had to comment - this post is so beautifully written. Sending warmth your way...

Kat said...

Susan, What a beautiful post. I will be lifting you and your loved ones in prayer as well. Sending loving thoughts your way - draw comfort in knowing you are not alone. You are in my thoughts! Sending them and hugs your way.

tiennie said...

I'm so sorry. Wishing the best for you and your loved one.

Lark said...

This post resonates so, it is as if we have had mirror experiences. God hears all prayers, even the wordless ones.