The Easter holiday has turned my focus on the idea of resurrection as it relates to my own life story. Have you ever experienced death in a metaphorical sence? There are experiences I’ve lived through, such as divorce, that have affected me on a mental level the same as enduring the death of a loved one. The significance of the experience is the ending of familiar and the establishment of a new normal. When we are jolted from our comfort zone, we have the choice to gain wisdom and build a better life or fight the change and be stuck for extended periods of time. I have resurrected from these endings either emerging new and improved or damaged and stifled. No matter my condition, though, something about me or my life died and I was forced to move forward. Currently I am in a resurgent phase of my life as I re-establish the stability I once built as a father and contributing member of society. I am resurrecting who I was, but rising from death having learned from destructive behaviors such as shame, selfishness, and lawlessness.
I can remember the death that led to this most recent season.
My eyes squinted from the sunlight streaming through the naked sliding glass door of my bedroom. I was lying on the bare hardwood floor using my shirt as a pillow and my jacket as a blanket. It was late January, but thankfully warm outside since there was no electricity. I could hear the rustling of someone in the bathroom, the acoustics of the empty condo making it almost impossible to remain quiet. Just like any other time I took the opportunity to sleep while actively addicted to Meth, waking up was confusing and terrifying. Gasping, reaching for my phone to check the date and scan for important text messages, then frantically standing to survey the scene was all in my typical “morning” routine.
I had missed calls from an unknown number but no texts from my group of friends, and looking around my bedroom I saw one patio chair in the corner. The sight of the chair evoked flashes of memories of the most recent random boy I had met. We had spent the previous three days together and, as usual, I thought I was in love. That must have been him in the bathroom. I hurriedly scavenged my jacket pocket for my baggie. “That f—er better not have stolen my stuff or my money!” Standing there in a desolate condo, having slept on the bare floor without electricity, my first thought still revolved around my drug supply. And where were my friends? Why hadn’t I heard from them?
Two days prior, the boy in the bathroom and I had cashed a counterfeit check. I had walked in to face the friendly staff at my local bank who had known me for years, decked out in my button-down Oxford and cardigan, and knowingly used their trust to cash a check made out to me from a made-up business. This was a time when I found a new addiction–the natural high of getting away with identity theft, forgery, and shoplifting. I had allowed the drug to change me, and began using needles on a daily basis.
Who I was had slowly been dying.
Several months prior I had lost my job and consumed myself with theft and injecting Meth on a daily basis. I stopped paying my bills but all the while believing that I was on the verge of coming into large sums of money through my identity theft tactics. The drug manipulated my brain so that I constantly believed lies in my own head. Eventually my car was repossessed and I had received a final eviction notice. I was to the point mentally where I didn’t grasp time nor did I understand the realities of adulthood that I had clearly established for decades of my life before Meth. I found myself immersed in a group of friends whose only daily motivation was to make enough money to buy drugs and possibly food. This was my every-day life all the while convinced that I was going to come across some drug deal or theft scheme that would save me financially. We even printed our own money at times.
My life had become death.
Somehow amidst the chaos, after cashing the forged check, I managed to pay movers to store the furniture and other belongings from my condo. Looking back, I cannot remember how I had the coherence to make this happen. I knew the eviction date was looming and I recall thinking that I would simply put my stuff away and sell it from the storage unit to make the money needed for rent and hey, I’ll just forge another check or maybe I can sell some of my drugs and I’ll start over with new furniture. This particular morning, waking up on the floor, was eviction day. The rustling in the bathroom ended up being preparations for our next injection, which as soon as I pulled the needle from my arm, there was a knock at the front door. My landlord was standing there and I suppose seeing me in such a state–I can only imagine what I looked like–caused a tinge of sympathy. He put his arm around me and very calmly said “Dallas, you have to leave today. The Sheriff is on his way. We’ve been calling you for days. It’s time to go.” I was confused and tried to reason with the landlord that I had the money coming, pleading through desperate sobbing. It took the arrival of the Sheriff to make me grasp the notion that I had lost my home.
As the Sheriff was escorting me out of the condo, I heard the boy rushing out the back door, never to be heard from again. I stood on the street looking mournfully at my condo and as if attending a funeral, I said goodbye to the life I had worked so hard to build. A few days later my eyes squinted from the sunlight streaming through naked limbs. I was lying on the bare ground using my shirt as a pillow and my jacket as a blanket. I was homeless, my condo replaced by a tree near the airport. Reaching for my phone, there were no texts or calls. Next, I rose from the ground physically, but this time I allowed myself to die in the metaphorical sense. I had arrived at the rock bottom of my life. I accepted that it was time to put that season to rest and move forward. As my fingers dialed my mom’s number to ask her to rescue me, I began the first step of a long resurrection process that has led me to where and who I am today.
This morning my eyes squinted from the sun coming through my kitchen window as I took cinnamon rolls from the oven for the kids’ breakfast and leisurely sipped coffee. I am so grateful for the death that lead to this life.