Tuesday, August 14, 2012

morning after the long night

"It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children. "
Oriah Mountain Dreamer 

We've had a long night. It's been a long for a few weeks actually. 

My son, while still abstaining from drug use still has the manifestations of an active addict. Lying, manipulating, self-centred thinking, and stealing, and then more lying. The only time he appears to be his old self is when he's purposely manipulating me because I have given up believing anything he says. 

So, last night grew from a frustrating afternoon, to a confrontational early evening, to what appeared to be some sanity - later this turned out to be manipulation - to more confrontation, to door slamming, swearing, and then storming out of the house with a promise to cool down and be back by midnight. 

Did you notice how beautiful the fog was at sunset last night?

My dog woke me at 330am - not impressed with this new behaviour - and on a whim I checked my son's room. No one there. There's a protocol to follow here. First call him, obviously - no answer, check the GPS on his phone - not working, likely phone is off, then come the decision to escalate or to go back to bed. 

I think about the devastated parents I know who got the 430am call from the police that their clean and sober son, but obviously still in the grip of addictive thinking, had decided to break into a gun shop. He had just turned 18. He is in prison with 3 felony charges. He is not going to have a high school senior year. He will not be home for a long while. I think about my friend's son, who after one beer dove head first back into active addiction, was lost for 5 days and eventually found nearly dead in a bad neighbourhood in Chicago full of heroin, with multiple organ and brain damage.
I decide to escalate. I call the emergency pager for his rehab group, I call the police, I text his sponsor, I text people that may have seen him. I open the call and text logs for his phone. 
The police officer is very polite - this IS Naperville after all - but not too concerned. I tell him what I know, give him a description, friends' names addresses and phone numbers. It's 4:45am and I have nothing more I can do. I sit on the bed and stare at my hands until 5:30, then start getting ready for work. At 6am I check the GPS on my phone and it says he's home. Out in front of our house is the same police car, same officer and he has my son in the backseat. He had been 'crashed' at the friend's house. He is unrepentant, sulky, and defensive. I can think of nothing to say to him. We stare awkwardly and I thank the police officer and go back inside to get ready for work.
At 6am the sun was about half up, there was a morning fog not yet burned away by the sun and the dew on the plants was particularly beautiful. It felt like we were in a poignant scene in a movie, there should have been music, or maybe complete silence, and just us, the police car, me in my pjs and a sweatshirt, my son, and the officer, just standing for an eternity in this beautiful foggy sunrise before we turn and walk to the house and the officer sits back in his car.

The difficult night and morning made this fog and dew somehow more important to me, if that makes any sense. So, I pulled out a time honoured coping mechanism of mine and started taking photos, some of which you see here.

It seems surreal that after such a difficult night that the world could look so beautiful. That the birds still sing, the fog mades everything seem dreamlike and precious. I'm reminded of Mary Oliver's "Wild Geese"  - how,' meanwhile, the world goes on', in spite of your despair, meanwhile it offers itself to you, all its beauty, harshness and excitement. Meanwhile....
 Wild Geese - Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Meanwhile, my world goes on, I go to work, I drink my coffee, meanwhile I do what needs to be done despite the previous night's grief and despair, because sometimes that's all you can do, is take a step, and then take another step. All you can do is look around and remember you are not alone, you are part of this beautiful and sometimes harsh world, and it is the world that is waiting for you to step forward, and announce your place; to take your place in the fire, to have your heart broken open so you can be really alive in your 'one wild and precious life.'  Or maybe that's one or three too many metaphors, I blame David Whyte  completely, him and sleep deprivation.

In the end that's all we could ever do. 

The Invitation - Oriah Mountain Dreamer 
It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to
be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can
disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, 'Yes.'

It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

No comments: