My young friend is drowning. He can’t keep his head above water. Now he’s under. Now he’s up.
I would toss him a lifeline. But he doesn’t want it.
He’s not afraid of dying. Been there. Done that, he tells me. Totally flatlined once. No big deal.
He’s a bloghead like me. I read his posts. He reads mine. His are sometimes somewhat dark. He tells me not to worry. I worry. I can’t help it. I’m afraid death will be a letdown for him.
It’s not either-or, he tells me. It’s both-and. Dying and living. The same thing.
I’m not smart enough to agree or disagree. I just know that I like it here. Besides, I don’t know if there’s a there anywhere else. I sure wish he could like it here more. But I don’t know if he can.
I once held him when he was just a newborn. He was a bundle of light. He could have been a star at most anything. But at age three his world was blown up.
Eventually, he hopped on the candy train. It’s a train that never stops. Still he manages to get on and off. He’s a hopeless dope addict, he tells me. And a hopeless hope addict. Both-and.
He’s cursed and blessed. And knows it.
He doesn’t believe in original sin. He believes in original suffering. To be human is to suffer, he tells me. Life is hard. It just is.
I think he’s drowning. He tells me he’s swimming with the sharks.
He knows the story of creation. He knows it begins in darkness and chaos. He knows it’s not history. He knows it’s a myth—that it never was but always is.
He knows darkness is pregnant with light. He knows life arises out of death time and time again. And he knows knowing is not enough.
I can’t tell if my young friend is swimming or sinking. I do know he’s sunk to the bottom enough to know darkness as an old friend. He knows the sound of silence.
I don’t throw him a lifeline. He already has one.
If I’m reading this right it is a story repeated time and time again with our youth today. Perhaps in the past it was alcohol and probably still is with many of the untold stories. Three of our fairly close friends have had kids swimming with the sharks and are gone. Usually, we see these kids make it at least into adolescence before the curtain comes down. I have been sharing these posts with a few friends who are dealing with aging parents and adult kids navigating their own restless seas.
Impossible to know what to do for your friend but to continue to be his friend. There’s a moment in the Kieslowski movie, “Red,” in which a young woman asks what she can do to help her dope addict brother. The older man of whom she asks this question says, “Be.”
The darkness is forever pregnant with light… Someone, “somewhere out there” carries the light for which is he is searching… Hope springs eternal.
Everyone knows someone enchanted by addiction. All that matters to an addict is feeding the beast. All that the beast wants is the death of the addict. Hope is nice, but it’s no match for addiction. Addicts remind me of the story of the little girl who goes out into a snow storm in a city to sell matches. She cold and miserable, and not selling anything. In desperation, she strikes a match to warm herself and sees her loving but deceased grandmother. To keep the vision of a happier time with someone she dearly loved, she keeps striking matches until they’re all gone. She freezes to death and is found the next morning surrounded by shards of burned matches. “The train has its brakes on and the whistle is screaming!” from Terrapin Station by Garcia and Hunter.
Great blog. Feel like I might know this guy. I’ve been going in/out of treatment centers, dealing with crack/heroin/meth addiction for 20+ years. I swam with the sharks. BIG ONES. And for a long time. I think I had to man. (I’d need a novel – not a comment window – to dive into that one.) But the life lines? I can help others, if/when they’re ready to come out of the shark filled waters. Someone who doesn’t know those waters…well … they just might not be able to help. And I made it out alive. I found a reason and a purpose to live. Most never find that. I did. I wouldn’t take any of it back. There’s still a lot of life left. Lean on the last line you wrote. I’ve got lifelines. That’s for sure. Love you, man.
You and several other readers saw themselves (or loved ones) in this “parable.” Bless you for using your hard-earned wisdom to be a life line to others. May your “tribe” (of wise and compassionate souls) increase. Thank you. Randy