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Rising from the Ashes


Have you ever known someone who seemed hell-bent to destroy him/herself?  Many years ago, when I first met my now ex-husband, I was introduced to W, his closest friend.  W was heavily into the whole sex-drugs-rock n' roll culture that life was at that time, with drugs being the primary focus.  Bad drugs, hard drugs, mind-altering drugs. Apart from that, W was both intelligent and kind, he would give the shirt off his back to anyone in need. He was an excellent guitarist and lived to make music and of course party down.  W, divorced and the father of three young boys, was an addict, self-medicating to avoid whatever demons haunted him in life.  He knew it, he admitted it, but he had no desire to change it. 

W and I had many long conversations about life.  He used to affectionately refer to me as his therapist. At one point I actually had him convinced to enter rehab, but he backed out at the last moment on the day he was to go.  He wasn't ready to face himself yet, and I honestly wondered if he ever would be. 

At one point W drove his motorcycle into the back end of a semi-truck/trailer going down the highway at a high rate of speed.  It was weeks before he was even recognizable as the swelling slowly went down, and months for his mangled body to recover from the injuries. His face still bears the brutal scars of that night. As always, his mother stood by him and cared for him, and believed in him, and when he came home from the hospital clean and sober and claiming he had seen the light, we all wanted so badly to believe it was true. But salvation was short lived, and before long he was back to his old friends and his old ways.

Another time W nearly burned down his house and half the neighborhood making meth in his kitchen. When I asked him later what he'd learned from the experience, he shrugged, smiled and said "to do it better next time".  I sighed, realizing that he was serious, and he STILL didn't get it.  How many times was God, fate, or whatever supposed to give him one more chance to get it right, to choose life instead of the slow but sure road to death?

My ex and I used to talk about how some day his mother was going to call us with the news that he had died tragically, and we had already decided that we weren't going to go to his funeral, because we were angry that he'd spent so many years trying to kill himself the hard way.  Such as waste of his life, such a damn shame!

After I left my ex I didn't hear from or about W.  By then it had gotten to the point where it wasn't good to have him visit where you lived, because he hung out  with a bad crowd.  Our home had been broken into once too often, everyone being aware of all the high dollar music equipment housed there.  There is no honor among thieves, or druggies who need money to support their habits.  I knew he continued to work off and on in the oilfield between run-ins with the law, and of course to make music whenever he had the chance. Then I heard he'd moved away.

A few years passed, and out of the blue a few months back while I was texting with my ex, he informed me that W had been back in town to visit - that he had gotten his shit together, cleaned up his act, was off drugs and in love with a girl that they had known way back in high school, and was living in  Colorado.  It sounded too good to be true, so I had to check it out, contacting him by email, and then adding him to my Facebook at his request.  

I would have put a whole paycheck on a bet that it couldn't happen, and I would have gladly lost that money. The truth is that he IS clean and sober, he's put on weight - a belly in fact, and no longer looks like a walking dead man.  He is madly in love with a wonderful women who he credits as his angel of salvation.  She was able to see thru all the garbage to the soul deep inside and to reach him where no one else had been able to before. 

W and his new love got married a few weeks ago, and I've never seen him happier.  She adores him and they are living in a beautiful spot in Colorado.  She's a hospice nurse, and he just landed a good new job.  He says he's been clean for a year now, and he's found faith - something that he previously didn't believe existed.  His youngest son is now out of prison, also clean at last, and is just starting art school.  Another son is still struggling and his dad is determined to help him turn his life around.  Better a a late role model than never, and who can better understand how hard it is than someone who has been there. 

This is one of those "I can't believe it, but it's true" fairytales with, God willing, a happily-ever-after ending. It's also yet another testimony about the wisdom of never giving up on a life... anyone is capable of changing until the moment that they depart this world. The desire and determination to do so has to come from them.  Deep down there was always a spark of life hiding in the darkness. It took an angel to help bring it out into the light!

Disclaimer: Please note that I'm not preaching the gospel of stick with anybody thru anything because someday they may get their act together... that's a whole different ballgame. Relationships require two  people working together, it can't and shouldn't be carried by one alone.

16 comments:

  1. Your writings show me what a lovely warm hearted lady you are . Thank You for sharing.
    I know what you mean about having to pull the pin and step back from someone else's problems when you can see they are not going to change them.I had to do that once to a lady who dumped her kids on me to the extent that I had them more than she did at times.Alcohol and infidelity where the problem. I still keep in touch with her kids and she still has crises and problems, her kids grew up to continue her instability. God I hope she sees the light one day like your friend W. So sad, but a happy ending.

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    1. Thank you Linda! Yes, there are times when we have done all that we can do and must step back and step away to maintain our own sanity and emotional wellbeing. That can happen with familiy members too. So often disfunctional adults leave lasting scars on their children and it brings another generation of problems. It wasn't hard to see that W's little boys were going to have a hard time of it growing up, and they have, but God willing they will all come thru it ok. I always pray that lost souls will meet up with someone sent to help them find their way.

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  2. I'm glad this story has a mostly happy ending and I hope W can get through to his son.

    It really is amazing what a little faith, in whatever, can do.

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    1. If anyone can, he can, Monkey, if and when the son is ready to listen, otherwise you are wasting your breath, as we all know! Yes, faith is an amazing thing, without faith there is no hope, and without hope we are just as good as dead. Faith (not to be confused with religion) and love are the most powerful forces in the universe, and are closely tied together!

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    1. Thank you Kristy! I can't tell you how I rejoiced after I had actually talked to W at length, and seen a handful of photos, and determined that it really is true - he has found his way home, and has at long last chosen a path of love and life! Sometimes you really do feel like people are just hopeless, this was God's way of reminding me, once again, to NEVER EVER give up hope! W is a Grandpa now, and I bet he's an amazing one... and he played his guitar at their wedding! :-)

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  4. I'm glad that W found his way out of that world. Always good to see a happy ending to ending to a story that could have gone so tragically wrong. I'm glad you went ahead and shared the story - and so quickly!! Thank you!

    ~always amazing what a good woman can do for man =)

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    1. That's so true, L! When I think of all the times his life could have come to a screeching halt, I realize that God had bigger plans for him. He finally realizes that too! I love to share survivor stories, I can't empahsize too often that each one of us can make if we all help each other! It is indeed amazing what a good woman can do for a man, or in my case what a good man (though few apart they may be) can do for a woman! Just kidding guys, just kidding, though I once used to believe good men didn't even exist! I was wrong about that too! Things I was wrong about are many...hmmm, might make for a good post sometime! :-)

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  5. Great story and yes, people can change; unfortunately it takes years for them to and it hurts those who love them!

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    1. So very true Kristi, that's why I said that I don't advocate hanging around waiting for miraculous changes in all situations. Some folks eventually "get it", and then again, some folks never do. In the mean time life can be hell for those who love them. Sometimes distance is the right answer, even if there is love. No matter what people say, love is not always enough - not when loving someone hurts!

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  6. I used to be part of a Christian motorcycle club. We worked with the worst of the worst and saw many people come to salvation through horrible circumstances. Anyone can overcome once they decide to and have people helping and believing in them. Great story.

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    1. Absolutely true Brett, I bet you could tell some amazing stories from those experiences! I can relate much more to people who have lost their way and then found it, than those few "perfect" folks who've always had their act together. For most, life isn't easy, but it can be wonderful none the less!

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  7. It is really encouraging and inspiring when someone can turn their life around. It makes me feel good that someone is prepared to walk through the fire like the proverbial Phoenix and rise again. I am so glad this story had a happy ending!

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    1. This one is a miraculous turnaround, Selma. Nothing makes me happier than being proven wrong when I have given up on someone. It restores my faith in the ability of people to turn their lives around. :-)

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  8. yes, sometimes there's a spark of light.

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    1. It is wonderful when one we feel is most certainly lost is able to find their way back into the realm of being fully alive. Happiness, hope, love and contentment now color this man's words and days, the transformation is amazing!

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Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)