I met the Shadow of Death in a dream the other night. He seemed the traveling sort, thin himself with a wide brimmed hat. True to his name he was merely a silhouette.
It looked like he was walking this tight rope and on both sides of it was this broad, sunlit meadow. A thin line between life and death, with life being on both sides of it.
Lots of folks have committed suicide, too many to count I am sure. When I was first homeless the thought crossed my mind everyday for a while.
Lucky I was a chicken bock bock. The urge still comes up once in a while when I am dealing with shame; but I know how to handle things now.
Shame is something I call the anti- human and it is epidemic in America. Shame -to me- is self hate, self loathing and self punishment.
On the streets, as I discovered God loved me no matter what I thought of myself, well I began to love myself again and the shame was less. After a time I wrote a couple of Hobo Metaphysics about suicide. “Don’t let your suicidal thoughts get in the way of your happiness,” and “suicide can’t kill you (you are eternal) so why bother?”
Like my dream was trying to show me, people die, but on the other side of death, there is life as well. As humans, we get in trouble not by resisting life, but resisting the pain that shows up in our life. You get screamed at, beaten, mocked, shamed and doubted as a kid. People you know die, get sick, leave you abandoned, and pretty soon life ain’t all that fun anymore.
For me, a lot of grief got stored up, so much so, that it felt like there was no end to it really. There is of course, you simply have to quit hiding it, running from it and just feel it. Christ is in that great big loving heart of yours you see.
So anytime an emotion comes up like grief, shame, and fear; don’t run to the liquor cabinet or the TV to try and escape, just feel it. The more you can do this the more you feel like yourself again; that kid like energy returns and you start to enjoy this life you have created.
Remember you don’t have to do it by yourself, Christ and other saints are more than willing to help.
When shame or something else not so hot comes up, find a quiet spot and ask Christ to join you, then simply breathe until the shame is gone and the joy returns.
Christ getting beat up and hung on the Cross is a pretty good metaphor for what we do to ourselves before we finally feel we are worthy to receive God’s love.