Sunday, January 6, 2013
Marley can tell you a lot about addictive behavior; spending nearly half your life in a heroin induced haze will give you that kind of insight. But there are some things to realize when it comes to the circumstances surrounding her dependency. She was drawn to drugs as a result of personal tragedy. But many of us have our own addictions; they may not be as extreme has hard drugs, but by telling ourselves there’s no serious damage, it gives us license to dive deep in our vices without escaping, and usually they come from a place not nearly as damaging as what Marley went through. When I think about the guilt she faced every time she put that needle in her arm, I feel so petty thinking about my inability to give up candy or whatever.
But Marley has always said, everyone has a right to their own pain, and just like your values differ, so do the things we cling to when we can’t have what we treasure. Before I became an angel, I had trouble seeing that. Things change. They had to.
After my engagement broke up, I was in a McDonald’s when I saw an overweight man sitting at one of the tables. Well, he was more than overweight, he was morbidly obese. I’m not saying that to be mean, he was huge, like to the point where I wondered how he managed to move, and how close to a heard attack was he. And he wasn’t just having a snack, or even what you’d call a normal meal; had about four or five boxes of Chicken Selects lined up in a row on the table. Now, my first though was to look down on him. I thought about what a fool he was, how irrespoinsible he was to have such disregard for his own health, all for the sake indulging in a manufactured, artificially flavored fast food product.
Then I took another look at him, and I realized he didn’t have any kind of look of indulgent satisfaction on his face, like the first time I saw Pete Roberts. He looked sad. He looked really, really sad. Almost as if he knew he was hurting himself and was powerless to stop it, and instead of wondering how he could be so careless, I was wondering what happened in his life that drove him to such a sad state. And it wasn’t even a sense of pity, I felt kind of comradery in sorrow, and I thought about a time not much before then, when I bought a bunch of boxes of my beloved Tagalong peanut butter and chocolate patty cookies. I opened the box and had one. I was resolved to save the rest for later, but before I knew it, I’d gone through almost the entire box in the space of about five minutes. I was all the way down to the last one, and then I stopped. I left one in the box, and I convinced myself that if I let one be, it would me I hadn’t gone through the entire box and I wouldn’t be as pathetic as I now believed I was. But it was a sham, a loophole that wouldn’t hold up in the court of basic psychology. I knew that by doing that, I wasn’t any different than the man at the Mickey D’s, the fact that I was thin didn’t change the truth that I’d just downed an ungodly about of sugar and saturated fat because there was something missing from my life
Being an angel, you see varying degrees of sorrow like this all the time, and you have to realize Marley was right; no body is more or less deserving of intervention because of the severity of their troubles or emotional symptoms. It’s not our place to even measure them and make a judgment call; a human in need can’t be pushed aside because we’re setting priorities. They’re all a priority. Call it first come, first serve if you want, I call it a constant process. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be an angel