Substance Abuse. This is a problem that seems to go hand and hand with mental illness and I can’t blame anyone for trying to self-medicate……but…..when I meet a man who has had depression for what he told me “Thirty years of deep suicidal depression without any professional help…” I wonder how he survived. So, I asked him just that. “Alcohol and street drugs…” was his immediate answer. Oh! My heart breaks for this guy!!! How did he keep going? He barely did. His life was harsh filled with abandonment by his family, feeling unloved….running to and fro in relationships and out of relationships and living homeless at times. In jail sometimes. His face shows the lines of a man who has seen too much. What I had seen in him was nothing more than a broken spirit. I say a quick prayer for him under my breath, or do I really? Not long after he then disappears from my sight and I, unfortunately, forget about this man…..finding new people in similar situations.
In time, this man goes into a deep hole with no way out, it seems. But then – when he was at his worst moment – ready to give up. Feeling Doomed. SOON to be a just another statistic. He called out to the only person he had fully ignored. GOD. Then the God of the universe revealed himself to this man. Showing him the way, the truth, and the life though God’s son “they called HIM Jesus” (that’s from a song, sorry) and He gave him an idea to get some real help and another idea about where to live and who to seek for assistance. Finding peace of mind!
Now, years later, this man is back. I take a good look at his face and stand in awe for a moment. Gone are the eyes haunted with anguish. His clothes are freshly laundered. He tells me how long he has been clean from alcohol and street drugs. He not only holds a beautiful smile but there’s something else! He now has a guitar. This man who society would have wanted to “throw away” has a guitar in his hands. He stammers a little bit apologizing for his LACK of talent. The group in front of him waiting patiently to hear what he has to share. The man tears up for a second. He explains that his grandmother used to sing this when he was a little boy otherwise he knows no other songs. He begins strumming his guitar and then something really beautiful happens. He starts out hesitantly, looking around nervously at the small group singing in a low voice “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound. That saved a wretch like me, I once was lost, but now I’m found. Twas blind but Now I see.”