Monday, June 20, 2011

A2CW: Addicted to Christian Weed

Do you ever start to think about something and then think about something else and eventually end up right back where you started?  That’s a spruce loop.  Some people might call it rabbit trail, but spruce loop is the far better term.   Besides, spruce trees smell better than rabbit poop any day of the week.
Anyhow, we were driving home from some place the other day and I was thinking about a particular time in which I’d gotten lost.  It was a time when I really ought to have known my way, but because of the state my brain was in during that period of my life and because I’d taken some prescription medication that exacerbated the condition, I was in no position to give even the simplest directions (think drunk and high). Anyhow, while I was thinking about that event my brain stumbled upon another event from close to the same time period in my life...
It feels like half a lifetime ago, though in reality it was only about 7 or 8 years ago or so, so about a third of my lifetime ago really.  I hung out with some pretty awesome people that summer.  And by pretty awesome, I mean super awesome.  I don’t know where all of them are now, and that makes me sad, but so goes life. I miss them though and think of them all often.  The ones I have stayed in touch with are mostly married now and some even have children of their own.  There are a few of us left that I know of who are still single.  Often, I wish we could go back to that summer, share what we shared then.
Life was in many ways easier then. We dealt with some pretty crazy stuff that summer, but now, looking back, it seems like such little things compared to all that has happened since then.  That summer, I hadn’t yet learned how to deal with a high school student who was suicidal.  My struggle with an eating disorder and depression hadn’t quite begun yet, though it did follow not overly long afterwards.  I didn’t have a clue what life with seizures was like.  I had no idea what feelings would run through my mind when a doctor would tell me that I was potentially terminal (he was wrong by the way). The struggles we had, although they seemed major then, and some of them were fairly major, all shrink in comparison to everything that has happened since then (and there is a whole bunch I’m not sharing in this public of a forum).  And that’s okay.  That’s not was this is about.  Just a bit of explanation as to why that summer feels like half a lifetime ago.  Think of it has a mini spruce loop.
That summer I was introduced to Christian Weed.  In fact, of the many quotes that graced our quote board (which I almost want to pull out and read, but it’s packed away and I’m tired), one of the few I can remember right now, off the top of my head, is “A2CW” which stood for “Addicted to Christian Weed”.  (The other one I can remember is “Jesus thinks you’re cool” or JTYC), and that is what I began thinking about as I thought about being lost - Christian Weed.
Christian Weed was how we referred to that feeling we got after an all night prayer vigil or a spontaneous session of worship or a time of intense prayer.  It was that feeling of being so filled with the spirit that it overflowed and bubbled out of us, making us laugh uncontrollably or jump and sing with complete abandon, the joy of the Lord that made us completely undignified before our King. That feeling was so addicting, our hunger for the Lord was so strong, that we would do whatever it took to get back to that place and stay in it.  Although there was nothing wrong with that, in fact, there was so much good about it, I wonder though, if maybe perhaps we were a little misguided.
We were addicted to Christian weed. We were searching for one spiritual high after another, always trying to experience that again.  But, like with any drug, no high is ever as high as the first one.  Perhaps it would have been better if we were truly addicted to Jesus, not just to Christian weed.  I’m not saying we weren’t addicted to Jesus, for there is no doubt in my mind that we were all crazy about Jesus.  Our addiction to Jesus is what led us to Christian weed in the first place (Does that make Jesus a gateway drug?), but somehow I think our focus, or at least mine, got shifted away from Jesus and more to towards Christian weed and the feelings that went with worshiping Jesus.  The problem with that is, feelings aren’t always reliable.  When depression took over (and nearly took) my life shortly thereafter, I couldn’t get that high.  No matter how hard I sought it, I couldn’t get the Jesus high.  I couldn’t get high about anything.  I could seek that high all I wanted, but I could never get there.  Instead of seeking Jesus and longing for him, I longed for Christian weed. 
Now, even though my fight with depression has been mostly won (every now and then it rears its ugly head), that habit is sometimes still there.  Sometimes I still find myself longing for a hit of Christian weed.  I search long and hard after it, instead of searching long and hard after Jesus, the only one who can really give me that high.
I don’t blame anyone for that habit.  In fact, I think I have learned a lot from it.  I also cannot say that everyone from that summer had the same experience.  Even though we were all in the same place, we didn’t necessarily have the same experience.  My experience is valid only for me.
Which brings me full circle to where I started.  Sometimes, my brain loses focus and I get lost.  I start searching for what I want instead of what I know I need.  It’s simple, something I’ve known for a long time, but I still can’t always remember it.  The time I was remembering about getting lost (the story at the very beginning of this post) was when I was trying to give someone directions from my high school to home.  I should have known that.  I had known it for a long time, but because my brain was on a binge, I couldn’t do it.  
When my brain and spirit long after a hit of Christian weed I forget that all I really need to do is turn to Jesus and long after him instead.  In the end, He’ll be better than any hit and He will keep me from getting lost. And even when I do get lost, He'll still be there to guide me back to the right path, to get me home even when  I can no longer help myself.
Perhaps it's time to say goodbye to Christian weed and figure out some sort of catchy slogan that communicates an addiction to Jesus instead of to feelings.
And perhaps it is also time to conclude this particular spruce loop.

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