Cooking With the Fallen One’s–Dwight

Cooking With the Fallen One’s

Luke 4:31-37

Simon is over 40, he has used drugs-H, Speed-for twenty five years. He was in treatment ten years ago, and was clean for four months, and relapsed. Simon felt like a failure, and we talked of his feelings as he was shooting up. Simon told me, “My addiction is like your religion, it keeps me  safe.” 

As I laughed, in the deepest corner of my heart I knew that  he had laid his hand on what the use of drugs means: it is the providing of comfort in the lives of people in the moment–from loneliness, feelings of failure, and all of the psych things we go through.” I smoke pot at times to simply let the pain go, to simply live in the moment.

For the moment is all we have.  Simon was placed in a hotel, with nothing to do–and his demons overwhelmed him. We think treatment is the answer–but it is love, a place to be, to feel useful, and wanted.    

I place no judgment on drug use, for it is like my addiction “religion”–used in excess it destroys.  It is like the extremes on both sides of the political spectrum–going to the extreme it destroys. People have used drugs since the beginning of time.  One size does not fit all. The War on Drugs continues to be a political storm that has demonized and destroyed millions, mostly people of color. It is racist in its very nature.

 

Last night as I sat in a coffee house, wearing a stole and  celebrating the Eucharist with a person, whom I suspect feels uncomfortable in the institution of the church,  I suddenly felt a nearness of Jesus, he was there, the bread and wine became the body and blood of Christ. There was a peace over me, a peace that said, fuck the artificial boundaries and limitations of society for they limit our ability to see Christ in each person. I know that each person whom I meet is Christ. Simon is the  Christ. 

Whether they believe or not–they are the face of Jesus. For spirituality is not about belief, it is not about affirming a creed, it is about the action of loving one’s neighbor. In that action God becomes present–whether or not you believe, God is there, God is near, in that act of love. My best friends are not believers in  Christ–but they are the closest people who are like  Christ that I have ever known, they have loved me, they have loved others, at their worst, without judgment.

I have found the fastest way to make enemies is simply to feed people, to treat them as equals, and to walk with them.

The source of happiness is found in the world of our creation. For me that source is caring–simply caring-being with people where they are; it is caring without expectation and meeting them where they are.  

For me there are two aspects of caring: First of all care for yourself, love yourself. David Burns writes: “Self-esteem is the commitment to treat yourself in a kindly, loving manner when you’re alone. This is an active process that requires effort and energy.” Learning to be alone opens one up to the presence of God, to struggle with one’s demons, and find rest in God. From that center one can move out in love.

Secondly, David Vryhof tells us: “True Christian hospitality requires a giving of ourselves, an opening up of who we are, a willingness to stretch our sometimes narrow lives, to step outside of our comfort zones.  If we truly try to follow Jesus, our outlook on the world–especially its strangers, its poor, its homeless, its helpless, its needy, even its enemies–will be forever changed.”

These words sound sweet, maybe even beautiful–but “love” in a paraphrase of Dorothy Days is “harsh, and extreme”, not gushy or pretty, but  to truly love you put yourself on the line. For loving means giving of yourself to the other, even when you really do not like the person. It means accepting them where they are, without judgment. Loving means accepting them at their worst and seeing through the harshness to their cry for being cared for. Sometimes when I feel myself getting angry I walk away for hours, because I know I will throw a fit, a temper tantrum. What I have learned is that a tantrum is an expression of a need to be loved simply for who you are, and so I walk away, calm down, and come back. Took me along time to figure that out, but I am learning. Our acts of violence, our acts of anger are all an expression of our need for love.  Down deep we are crave to be loved for ourselves.

When we love ourselves, we find meaning, hope, and courage in taking care of our neighbors, even to the point of going without.  I have reached the point where I can not look myself in the mirror if I eat in a restaurant and do not take a part of the meal out to someone outside the door.  It has become a matter of conscience. 

Each day Simon beckons my love, and the rest–it falls aside. All that matters is that we care, and when we care–even when it hurts we see the face of God.  Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!

+Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min.,D.S.T.

P.O.Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164

415-305-2124

http://www.temenos.org

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