Thursday, June 2, 2011

THE OLD BLACK CHURCH AND ME: Who’s That Knocking At My Door?

I am not a preacher but I’ve broke bread with several. My Uncle AB was a preacher and so is my Uncle, The Pastor Gabriel Barber, and so are several others in my family. We’re Baptist. My mother sang in the choir and my brother did to. I was an usher and my daddy was too. So I’ve been around  a number of Old Black Churches.

Today my eyes are on Ms. jj Brock, who's the host of the blog “The Old Black Church” She has knocked on my door a few times and brought along a few serendipitous rewards.

By definition, a serendipitous reward is making or finding a desirable discovery or reward by accident; something not looked for, like finding gold while tilling your garden, and/or, finding a good friend while the both of you  were going through serious life issues.

Let me go back. The name of my blog is Carry Me Home. It’s significance is that I was coming out of a storm when I decided to change my mindset concerning my past behavior and my future, and one of my avenues to do that was to adapt a belief in God, hence the name “Carry Me Home”. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not a Bible thumping, finger pointing... “you’re gonna go to hell if you don’t do this and that” kind of guy, but I’ve come to believe that my faith and the words in the Bible were definitely my saving grace.

Anyway, over the years, Ann (Ms Brock) and I have developed a nice relationship which has found us sharing our pain, struggles and future hopes. But wait, remember when I said I’ve been around several preachers and have sat in many pews? Well, that’s not to say that every word that comes from the pulpit is something a person should take to the bank. Y’all know what I am talking about. So although Ann’s blog is called The Old Black Church, and I love me some old black church, I had to see for myself if she was for real.

Well, to my delight, the woman knows what she’s talking about and her faith is strong. She does not tell people what they should do or what they're doing wrong, oh no, she’s not the one to do a lot of “preaching”. She has always stood by the belief that the answers are in the Bible, and one needs a good teacher to lead  the way and interpret the words of the Bible, or be susceptible to false prophets.

She’s not a big debater nor arguer, like me, but sometimes she will address a comment if it goes too far left. In other words, she deals with the facts and nothing but the facts.

That takes me to another significant aspect of what I like  about Ms. Brock. Remember when I talked about her faith? Well, Dr King talked about something that I’ll call “BUT IF NOT”.

You see there's what is called an  if  faith. And there is a   Though  faith. And the permanent faith, the lasting, the powerful faith is the  though  faith. Now, the  if  faith says that  if  all goes well, if  life is hopeful, prosperous and happy,  if  I don’t have to go to jail,  if  I don’t have to face the agonies and burdens of life, if  I’m not ever called bad names because of taking a stand that I feel that I must take,  if  none of these things happen, then I’ll have faith in God. Then I’ll be all right. Now that’s the  IF  faith!

And the  though  faith says that  though  things go wrong,  though  evil is temporarily triumphed, though sickness comes and the cross looms, nevertheless, I’m going to believe anyway, and I’m gonna have faith anyway. Though the waters they off-roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake were the swelling thereof, the lord of host is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge.

Now that’s Ms jjbrock, she has the most powerful faith, the though faith.  I know that’s true because she has shared some of her pain with me, i.e., the lose of close family members, the lose of her home, and the ongoing battles we have all have with our children as they go through their trying times, and she is still holding on. She has a though faith.

Consequently, or maybe I should say,  it’s been my reward that she has shared her most recent ongoing battles with me, which in some way speaks to her comment that has her front and center in today’s “Who’s That Knocking At My Door”. Here’s her comment...

“Carey I love your seriousness especially when it comes to dealing with addicts....You are one in a million and I thank God for someone who can drop a post and it encourages me....Keep dropping knowledge cause it ain't over yet” ~ jjbrock

Well, I've often questioned why I, and others blog? Although we seldom talk about it, I doubt there's not one of us who doesn't want to be sought out, liked or admired, in some small way. So, although I didn’t start out blogging with any specific goal in mind, it’s always nice to hear words of encouragement, and in this case, Ann and I share another common bond. She said she loved my seriousness when it comes to dealing with addicts. Well, I don’t know how many of you have been following along over the years but I consider this a personal blog, in that, I share my life’s journey between these pages. Consequently, I am serious with the ongoing affairs of addicts, and love them, and respect them dearly, because I was an addict for many years, which forced me to find a way to re-love myself. Since the age of 18, I was addicted to a substance that would not let me go.

Now Ann has been faced with dealing with a son that has found himself in the world of drugs. So as we’ve conversed over the last couple of years, we’ve shared our blessings,discoveries, pains, and woe. I ’ve had to keep it seriously honest because there’s so much misleading information about addicts, treatment, what works and what does not work. I’ve lived it, and thus had to learn the hard way; what works, and whose voice not to listen to.

Through my struggles and need to know, I’ve discovered that addicts are some of the most intelligent, compassionate, and loving people that I know. Listen, on a real serious note, I’d rather be in the company of a recovered addict than a person who has not had to face themselves, or rediscover themselves. The addict has to sit down and admit to themselves that they need to change practically everything about their past behavior and past mindset, and accept the fact that they were “wrong“ in so many ways, which leads to a brighter day and a new beginning. That seldom happens for those that do not believe they have serious problems, or even what some may consider miner ones, and thus, have no reasons to change. If it ain’t broke (in their mind) why  fix it? And for the most part, they will always be “right”, if you ask them.

Anyway, one day I suggested to Ann that there might be a day in which she will have to cut the cord of her pain from her son. You know, not be there for their every beckon call, because in many cases we are not helping them do anything but continue what they've always done. I know that’s hard for a parent to hear, and accept, but since my life, to a large degree, is focused on the addict and recovery, I know those who find their way out of the storm of drug addiction, are  few and far between. And the overwhelming majority of drug user and alcohol abusers will not find their way out of their storm until they have nowhere to turn and no one to rely on but themselves. That’s a fact, and unfortunately, very real. Treatment centers (in which I‘ve worked ), will tell you differently, but I’ve been on the front lines, and they, treatment centers and some government agencies are telling bold face lies.

But I have to say there is one thing about addicts that I believe Ann will attest to. While their addiction is ongoing, they can be the most charming and loving son’s and daughters, fathers and mothers, a person could ask for, but they can be very cunning and awfully manipulative. They will cry, plead and moan and swear they will never do “it” again, but they always do. Oh yeah, they play on our hearts, pity, and our compassion, and the fact that parents and friends want the best for them. They choose that route of deceit because they have to. Their addiction is the driving force behind their behavior and their mindset. They are not the person that we loved and respected, they are someone who is being controlled by a drug. And generally they resist the idea that they are no longer in control. Sort of like a Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde... the person takes the drink or drug, and then the drug takes the person. I am here to tell you it’s not always, nor nearly the person’s fault. They did not sign up for a world of confusion, and frequently do not know how they got in, nor how to get out. Granted, there is loads of information on the path to “freedom” but again, I KNOW most of it's porous opinions and assumptions, and much of it is used to play upon those that are seeking help. Look, there is no money in curing alcoholics and drug addicts. The money can be found in keeping them coming back for more treatment, and the beat-down goes on. And, to a large degree, and maybe in a subconscious way, as long as the world has what they precieve and call addicts, they can drink their alcohol ( the most dangerous substance known to man) and do all sorts of dirt, without shame; feeling good about themselves, because they ain’t like those “addicts”. But in truth, we all have some things in our closets that we would NOT want the world to emulate, nor know about. I know the path and journey to recovery (recovering what we may have lost) is wrought with usurpers and misinformed relatives, and is a long road, a grueling road, and many times very lonely.  OH MY!  However, my motto is, What About A Time Called Now!

I don’t know how Ann’s son is doing right now, but I know she has a faith that gets her through her nights, and has found a way to relieve some of the pain she experiences from dealing with and loving her son.

And maybe, our walk together has helped in some small way.

That’s it, Me And The Old Black Church And Ms JJBrock. That’s who, and what, has been knocking on my door. Tomorrow I’ll open the door to another visitor. Y’all come back now, ya hear?


jjbrock said...

Hey Carey thanks for the kind words....Update: My son is serving 100 days in city jail for fines having to do with driving without a license.
He's due back in court for failing to appear in court on a previous charge on June 9.
Carey most likely my son will be getting a 10 yr sentence.
Oh! While he was out waiting on probation one night he got pull over by the police.
He refuse to get out of the car and was drug out of the car by the police with guns drawn on him. Carey it looks like my son is on his way back to prison.
On July 8 my son will be 27 years old and can't seem to get his life together.

Keith said...

I'm a big fan of Ms. jjbrock...I've read her blog since the day I started blogging back in 2008 or was it 07?