When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping."
- Mr. Rogers
The ancients did not know addictions as we know them, as disorders of the brain. They did, however, deeply understand "attachments". We have a propensity as humans to "cling" to "earthly" things we hope will relieve us from discomfort and uncertainty. As children, we cling to our parents until we can become our own parents. Unfortunately, most people don't grow up and our world is largely populated (and led) by adults who have never fully grown up.
"Growing up" is akin spiritually to "waking up". This is the at the heart of the spiritual life: "waking up". And we cannot wake anyone else up but ourselves. What we CAN do is create environments where we and others can be awakened.
Our current environment nationally is waking many of us up (myself included) to the experience of numerous marginalized groups. Few of us look forward to being abruptly shaken awake, but the gift of sight is glorious to those who have lived in darkness.
The Department of Health and Human Services declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency one year ago this week. Over 42,000 people died from opioid overdoses in 2016 and 2017 was the worst year ever for drug overdoses in the US.
Thursday night has a specific topic and is focused on a specific issue, but make no mistake - this is a spiritual event which transcends our own personal connection opioids. It will be an evening of shared stories and shared hope. It will be a gathering of remarkable people, people Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers) would point to when the news gets scary.
Waking up with you,