Life is fast paced. And now, it seems, so is death.
When I was young, I was aware that my grandfather drank. It was worse than that. He was alcoholic. I can remember my mother and her mother, Mama G., in tears on occasion because Daddy G. had, it seemed “fallen off the wagon.” He had not come home after work. Instead he had gone to “Shotts”, a beer joint on the way home and was, even then, likely driving under the influence. Mama G. wrung her hands as she watched anxiously at the window to see the truck appear. It was the 1950s and 60s.
Alcohol, following a brief fantasy attempt at banishing it through legislation, had simply been accepted as what it is….. a social lubricant to escape the tight rein of inhibitions, a fashionable Hollywood accessory at any function involving food and conversation just like the then-ubiquitous cigarettes of that generation, or it became an escape from a reality that bore no resemblance to the one portrayed in the happy day TV shows and cowboy movies of our youth. Some of us watched the heartbreaking vortex of addiction to alcohol take down a friend, grandparent, mother, or other loved one and fled from it, but not without first having tried it to see what all the excitement over it was about. Thankfully, the bawdy teen high school and weekend bashes didn’t become decades-long lifestyles of habituated daily drinking for most of us. For some of us, though, it took longer for it to dwindle away to nothing after the pain of the hangovers after Saturday’s game interfered with real life too much to want to continue to that degree, if at all.
And so, a generation ran into the fast-paced world of cocktail parties and business lunches and an occasional cookout served with beer….limited to two drinks or less. And along came M.A.D.D. and tighter laws and tougher consequences for Driving While Intoxicated or Driving Under the Influence. And drinking became less fashionable but still widely used for casting off inhibitions, chasing pleasure,and burying pain. As the entropy of our society became more and more advanced and destructive, so did the drinking. My generation and the next few decades of generations added the additional “boost” of prescription pills, pot, and new designer “street drugs.”
Now in the 2020’s life has become lightening fast as have our diversions. Meth has become the commonly adopted easy “go to” companion for the same reasons that many prior generations used alcohol…. cheap thrills. But the difference is that while the liquid fire that used to take 5-40 years to devastate a life, the meth wildfire can accomplish it in 5-40 months. But even that is not fast enough for some these days. There are recreational drug practices that can accomplish the same thing in as little as a single 5 minute round of Russian roulette, like fentanyl and other highly toxic, quick acting chemical wonders of our day.
The “smart ones” can last a few years, but their lives will be wrecked and nearly impossible to recover without super-human effort by the whole village. The others…… well, they flame out fast and never get out except in death.
Most who have used for a while will tell you of the paranoia, the shadowy figures lurking around the edges, the increasingly scary-but-ecstatic highs. Within this chemical’s mind-altering grip, just like that of the alcohol and cigarettes and pot that go along with it, comes the demonic realm that uses it to hide among us and repeated use is going to put one in its grips, too. Eventually, one will find herself hovering over an edge and making a choice…..psychologically, spiritually, physically or all three….. about whether life is even worth living any more.
This is what life is coming to. Death. Slow death or quick death. Either one will do the job, given time. You think you are smarter than that, right? Okay. None of us can stop you.
Maybe that Russian conspiracy thing that has been being pushed so hard the last three years is true, but it is simply a contemporary and higher speed, bigger caliber version of the same Russian roulette game that many have played and lost since discovering that one could escape pain and get “out of his right mind” through an internally applied elixir.
Christ talked about a man who had an evil spirit removed, leaving the man’s soul “empty and swept clean.” The evil spirit, when it returned and discovered the soul remained that way simply returned with roommates, seven of them, and all of them worse housekeepers than he was,
God abhors sin and nature abhors a vacuum. Many have tried to hide from the pain of the void in their soul and from God by shoving sin into a vacuous soul. And so we find ourselves with sin-filled souls with a smattering of evil spirits here and there that are disguised among the “fun” and it’s all headed downhill like a runaway train. There’s a bridge at the bottom and a river further down below the bridge. We know that the river is clear and clean and refreshing and each of us winds up standing on its shores in this journey eventually.
However, I think I’d rather arrive there alive in spirit and soul, even though the body will have ceased, than find myself thrust into the river with all three- spirit, soul, and body- having worshipped a false god and having failed to survive the ride.
No wonder so many young people are anxious about everything. They sense that it’s coming to an end soon…. and unless we stem the tide of drug abuse and the underlying despair that causes it, it just may.