A Dark Real World, Or It’s Not All Sugar and Spice

(I originally planned this post for last Thursday, however I had an emergency at work that forced me to put in some major extra hours. This is the continuation of my unofficial “he’s a friend of sinners!” series where I stand up for non-clean cut Christians).

A number of years ago I went to a concert of local musicians at a bar in Baltimore. The band that opened was merely in the way, as I was there to see the headliner, and I spent the duration of the set poking fun at their conga player (congaist?).

A few weeks later I heard a song that knocked my socks off. I called the radio station and was stunned to find out it was in fact the band I had blown off in that Baltimore bar. I lamented that I had actually seen them in concert but hadn’t given them a chance at the time (and for the ultimate irony I later learned congas myself).

I was stunned to discover their lead singer had died in February. And for some reason when you hear of someone’s death all you want to is “how?”

Unfortunately, that answer is heroin.

I found this answer in an online forum. There was a collection of comments about how lame junkies are and how the singer was “retarded” for dying because of his own poor choices and that no one should even say RIP about him. Then someone who knew the singer stepped in.

He begged for everyone to stop writing him off as a helpless fiend. He was a man, certainly with his own set of demons he could just not quite get a grasp on, and who lived a troubled existence though his issues did not define him.

It’s not as though this guy was defending or justifying the heroin use that eventually killed his friend. He simply was stating one of the most basic truths – that it’s difficult to live in this world. That our issues and our problems can be tall as mountains and just as difficult to topple. And so I’ve decided to give the guy some grace instead of writing off his whole existence.

Don’t hear me wrong and walk away from this post with the impression I’ve declared he’s in heaven. I haven’t made any sort of implication – I’m just saying that life is hard. We become the sum of our experiences, and our experiences are not all rose-scented. There are a million different things pulling us in a million different directions, and our vision is cloudy most of the time. Though I live a pretty darned blessed existence, I am still quite aware that it is difficult to get through this life intact.

I don’t have a big grand sweeping point or some motivational speech – just a reminder that life isn’t perfect, at all, and that many people life without the peace of Jesus in their life.

And God said (I’m paraphrasing): “Let them be light.”

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16 Responses to A Dark Real World, Or It’s Not All Sugar and Spice

  1. Life starts getting hard at about age 5 or 6, and it gets harder and harder as we go on. There’s a sadness that comes with that realization. A lot of times life absolutely stinks.

    All too often, “we” act as though if someone would just get off drugs, their life would get better. The fact is, it’s the fact that life wasn’t all that great that drove them to drugs. Or alcohol. Or sex.

    Life really isn’t always just a big party, but most of those sad folks who are trapped in vicious cycles of some sort are there because they started out trying to find the party. Some seek it in religion of some sort, some seek it in substances, some seek it in money, some in work, but a lot of what drives people is the search for the party. (By party, I’m saying “the happy place where life is all good”). Even Christians that claim to have found the happy perfect party often are forced to admit that life still isn’t perfect.

    For many, religion is truly the drug, as Karl Marx proposed. It’s where they turn to find the party. Many people would never turn to God if it weren’t for their innate desire to find the party. But some turn other places, and I would say that EVERYBODY turns to SOMETHING.

    And once you’ve turned, it may be hard to turn away and find God.

    We need to have more and more grace for the screwed up people, because, let’s face it – we’re all screwed up people.

    • wow that was a fantastic comment Bermard. I think you’re dead on that most people are trying to find the good life, the party as you say, and some turn to religion others to the more overtly destructive things like drugs, etc.

  2. You are right Charlie…life is not one big parrrrtaaaaay. I used to be one of those who would condemn until I found out I had a “demon” also. That sure takes care of the judgment. I will not say that person is in hell, nor will I say he is in heaven. I will leave that judgment to the only ONE who knows for sure. I will instead offer grace and keep my mouth shut and my heart open to other hurting people. Good thoughts today my friend.

  3. Ike says:

    For whatever reason….I thought of Elvis and Johnny Cash after reading your post. Both struggled with addictions… and of course women. Cash seemed to settle down and showed more of his “faith” than Elvis……but Elvis found great comfort in all hours of the night singing hymn’s. Hmmm…..I wouldn’t be surprised to see them both in heaven. Only God knows.

    • haha that is interesting. They both seemed to be tortured souls of some sort – and interesting enough their faith didn’t turn them into quiet Sunday morning suit wearing types – though undeniably it did change them in other ways.

  4. David says:

    Interesting how we still decide who is in and who is out based on the fact that they did something that we judge to be “bad.”

    Unless someone is knowingly lying about religion, I don’t get too wigged out over people who fail. King David failed, but most folks read the Psalms like they are the word of God – maybe we should consider the source?

    It seems like the blogoshpere loves to have opinions about all this, but few are backed up by any significant Bible.

    The Bible says love your neighbor, your enemy and your wife. It also says that we are not to pronounce judgement, but many give themselves some sort of self-righteous permission to do so. Sad.

    Unless one has the gift of discernment (1Cor 12), this sort of who’s in, and who’s not stuff is simply a guessing game.

    The opening line of Scott Peck’s: The Road Less Travelled, “Life is difficult.” He should written one more sentence, “get used to it. “

    • “get used to it.” haha the tough love approach I see David 🙂

      I think our in and outs based on someone doing something bad shows just how shallow and immature we can really be. I won’t implicate you in this David, but I will throw me in there.

      Seems like 75% of my posts come back to judging – I need a therapist to tell me what that is all about.

      • David says:

        I dunno, I think holiness has a bad name. For those that try to make themselves holy, they will fail. For those that are passionate about loving God, and enjoying that Love, it becomes a desire.

        One more thought, dead religion is immaturity. It gets back to “I have the answer,” and you should know it. Jesus, for the most part, lived out the Gospel in his actions, and said little while he was healing ALL the sick. He just did it, without fanfare, without trying to achieve some position. His position came from laying down his life.

      • funny how if you try to make yourself holy you do the opposite – just like how you can’t really strive to be humble because then you are aware of it. It just has to happen naturally.

  5. Larry Hughes says:

    In todays society we are suffering from information overload and time strapped, thus we seek dillusional relief in drugs, money, and material things to satisfy our consolations.

    I once asked a person why he was addicted to drugs before his conversion. His reply was to take away the hurt and stress. Sadly he said, it had replaced the former feelings with despair and a deep hole cascading him into a hellish life of no return for only a few moments of relief. Thus the continuing of seeking more highs.

    Yes life is tough and this person was living in a hell. His only salvation is that he found another relief. God was his relief. Yes he will always have issues living in today’s modern society but putting his faith in God was what saved him from total destruction.

    I would think if we all would put more faith in God and let Him lead us, we all could stand up against any habit, stress, or addiction.

    Don’t you think so?

    • I agree that God can definitely give us a peace nothing else will, however our world still gives us lots of grief and is really quite annoying at times. It’s just so broken that sometimes I can understand why people take to bad means to deal with it. Longing for Eden.

  6. Su says:

    It makes me so sad when people turn to self-destructive coping mechanisms. It’s the intersection of “Could anyone have done anything for him?” and “We’ll never know.” 😦

    • that is the worst part of death – it’s so final that you are only left with what if’s. I think ultimately we all have some unhealthy coping mechanisms – some just have really overtly self destructive ones that are capable of taking their life from them.

  7. Pingback: The Mirror Will Always Reflect You, Or The Road We Put Ourselves On | Charlie's Church of Christ

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