30 May 2012

When the Ice Melts

© Chema Madoz
THE LAST TIME I ever thought about touching that deadly rock happened while sitting in an apartment without furniture, watching a group of addicts huddled in the center of the "dying" room, like scavengers hovering over a carcass, snarling at each other to pass the pipe, to not take so big a hit the next time.

That memory haunts me still.

Nothing smells or tastes like crack cocaine. I don't type this lightly. In fact, it's a horrific and embarrassing thing to admit. I don't do so merely to bring attention to myself. I do so because at times I smell it and taste it—not as if I'm tempted to partake in that particular activity, but because it still trips me out. Like a shadowy ghoul perched on my shoulder, I'm reminded of sensory experiences that I cannot shake.

When the ice melts (perhaps over a bowl of ash), what will you leave behind? What will you have left?


I posted this about a year ago and then took it down. It seemed a bit too self-absorbed, even for me. I know not many, if any, former crackheads (I was not one, being more of a "generalist") read this blog. So what purpose would this post serve? On the other hand, I'm sure lots of folks out there often feel like they have little control over the events in their lives. And it keeps piling on, forcing you to fix your gaze only on the temporal, which causes fear, anxiety, depression—basically all the stuff that gets you screaming for some quiet.

I'm still shaken and mesmerized by how a piece of rock melts beneath its flame. Its alchemy. And that thirty-second high. There's little competition out there for how high it actually is.

Unfortunately, I've learned time and again that the troubles I walked away from in that scene described above have followed me in different forms these past (almost) twenty years. Starting to take the Christian faith seriously (i.e., practicing it), which is how I'm describing conversion (or perhaps a return of sorts), as anyone knows who has been at it for any length of time, means many years of painful refining, often commensurate with how deeply the evil one's way has become one's own. Sanctification, too, is by grace through faith.

One the reasons my spiritual journey is comprised of a series of rejections of modern evangelicalism (how's that for a non sequitur?) is its obsession with salvation through change—the personal amending of one's life. "Clean up your life and become a Christian!" If we can just stop doing this or that, acting this way or that way, then God will pay it all off with his grace.

On the contrary, the cart of reformation indeed comes. But it's pulled by the workhorse of a restoration wrought by an irruptive grace.


Jamey Clayberg said...

In your case when the ice melted you were left with change, God, family, your future, and making a difference with your life. I tip my hat to you bro.

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