So this past weekend was one that we seized very much at the last moment, a long weekend to get away from the cold and to get some time with my wife’s father and mother-in-law. It’s in Florida, there’s a pool involved, a beach we can get to easily, wildlife separated by an all-to-thin screen, tennis and cats (that the girls love and I more than secretly also really like (shhhhh)). It’s also a place with a fair amount of tension and dysfunction, brokenness without the acknowledgement. It’s been a place of pain, of refuge and happiness.
This weekend was all of the above and then some, however the pool was down for the count. Cats were running around happily, some new ducks had arrived and then there was the opossum and raccoons. On our final day, and the morning after what was what I would call a redemptive night that saw connection flourish our oldest daughter saw her grandfather *watching a video of two naked people kissing*. She shared this with both of us, essentially pulling us aside at 7.5 tender years. It was a painful reminder of the world around us and we have to always be vigilant. It’s also a reminder of who I’ve been, and a prime example of why I don’t want to be there and why the daily battle for conscious healthy connection is so important.
The emotions are still really raw, anger bordering on rage, disappointment, fear and a lot of sadness. Sadness for my daughter and what she now has been confronted with and can’t undo. Sadness for innocence that has been taken from her. We continue to talk to her about it, and she is sharing freely her emotions, which run the spectrum as you might imagine. She needs to know that it’s not ok for him to have done that, but also that she did nothing wrong and we’re there to talk about it.
Sadness for Holly and I as our daughter has now been catapulted ahead in years much further than we would like or are comfortable with. Sadness for Holly as it puts her on unsure footing with her father, and is creating a sense of loss. Something has also been taken from Holly, something that can’t be replaced and will change her relationship.
Sadness also for her father. I picture him apart from a loving family ready to spend time with him, alone and choosing unhealthy-damaging behavior. I’ve been there and I chose one form or another of medicating away my brokenness. I know that emptiness that seeks something to fill that vacuum, while the real answers are footsteps away. I’m not excusing away the behavior, his or mine, but it’s a reminder of how our own brokenness tells us stories about ourselves. It tells us that we can find fulfillment in something, it fills us with lies that we believe because we want what others have. It reminds me of the story of the Samaritan woman in John 4.
The water a perfect Earthly metaphor, but as addicts it’s so true that we have an unquenchable thirst. Once we have one drink from the well we want another and another. *Just one more* leads to more and more. It shows with the woman who is living with a man who is not her husband and who is number 6 in line of her search for meaning, significance and happiness. If I keep turning to worldly things looking for fulfillment, for a solution, for meaning I will keep turning to those things. But if I can turn my attention to Christ, if I can lay myself down and seek Him first as the author and perfecter of my faith I can find something that can satisfy me. That can lead me into relationship with Him, and with others that are healthy-nurturing-encouraging. I’m not capable of doing life alone, and sorry to say it, but neither are you. We have choices every day to isolate, or to seek relationships. I pray you can seek His face, and you can seek others who can help develop you in times not just of struggle, but when times are good also.
I heard a concept of developing a *cabinet* of advisors for life, and it’s something I’m going to be pursuing. So don’t be too caught off guard if I ask you to be a part of my *cabinet*. The pay is nothing, and the benefits are nil but it will be an open invitation into fellowship that I need and hopefully can be life-gicing for you as well. Your role will be to quiz me, to challenge me and to make sure there aren’t blind spots in my life, in my walk with God and in my recovery. Iron sharpens iron, and I need more of that in my life. The last few months have been challenging, and maybe this trip to Florida gave me the wake-up call I needed to ramp up all my efforts. I need Jesus dearly. I need recovery. I need community. I need you.
Lastly, I can’t not mention that January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month. One of the website’s sharing information that highlights the connection between human-trafficking and the porn industry is fightthenewdrug.org. FTND openly discusses the harms of pornography on the individual consumer and also how it fuels demand for human trafficking. To think viewing pornography is a victimless action isn’t accurate. It’s contrary to what God wants for us, it creates barriers heavenward and outwardly to others, and can also hurt innocent kids who never asked to be confronted with it.