I have two brothers and one sister. I have this memory of hearing my baby sister wake up from a nap. I was 5 years old. As I entered her room, I saw the late afternoon sun seeping through the white wooden shutters in her bedroom. She held her chubby baby arms up at me, hopeful that I would pick her up. How could I not love my baby sister for the rest of her life, no matter what?
This past month has been emotionally draining for me. My sister admitted herself into an inpatient drug rehab clinic. She spent a hellish week in Detox, and then the next few weeks were spent learning skills to help her function without drugs, and a healing process began. I can't even imagine what Detox in particular, felt like. My mind knew that it was a consequence for her choices, but it was hard to hold back my tears as I heard her anguish and loneliness-- extreme physical and emotional discomfort. Our family has been fasting and praying, writing her letters and making daily allotted 10-minute phone calls to her. (My personal favorite was the letter I wrote her on Napoleon Dynamite stationery. Hand writing letters is a lost art, after all.) She has been battling this addiction for a few years, with it's accompanying roller coaster of sobriety and relapses.
Her clinic had a Family Week last week for family members who are willing to participate in addiction/codependence therapy, and all that accompanies that vicious cycle. I joked with my sister, "I'll only come if they have a big colorful banner that reads, 'WELCOME, DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILIES!' with helium balloons and cafeteria fish filet sandwiches." Unfortunately (or unfortunately?) our family had plans during spring break, so I wasn't able to accompany my parents to the clinic. And about those dang gas prices...
The Mister has one brother who has also lost his way. Sure, I'm mad as hell when I remember the lying, stealing and proverbial addict-junkie behaviors my sister engaged in. However, JP and I talk often about our sorrow and love for our siblings. And that's not who my sister really is. That's the Addict Sister. The Authentic Sister is inside underneath all that angry, lonely garbage. She is truly one of the coolest chicks I know. Will our siblings ever come back to the values they learned in this life? Maybe. Hopefully. I wish it were as easy as reaching down and picking up my baby sister out of her crib.
If only they would quit loving things that won't love them back. "... and thus we see that the devil will not support his children at the last day, but doth speedily drag them down to hell." (Alma 30:60)
And because the tomb is empty, my life is not. Jesus Christ is the only true hope any of us has of finding purpose and peace in this life or the next. The Only Way.
So tonight, as I rocked my insomniac 5-year old baby, I stroked her cheeks and thought to myself, "What will you need rescuing from in your life?" "Mama, sing 'My Life is a Gift, my life has a plan, my life has a purpose...' and as I did, I pleaded with God to keep her safe and pure...
Forgive me, my dear friends and family who may be reading my late night purging, for I am sorrowful, and writing brings me clarity. And I am hopeful because tomorrow I will see my sister for the first time since rehab. And she will be sober. My heart is heavy, yet thankful.
"Real character is formed in the midst of the battles of the soul. Christ offered peace, not in the sense of freedom from disturbance, but in the midst of disturbance. When he said, "Peace be still," it was in the midst of a storm. We need to develop within ourselves the kind of self control that will enable us in the midst of disturbance to find the peace that comes into the soul of a man who is living as he knows he should live." ~ Hugh B. Brown