Hell in a Handbasket
Updated: Oct 13, 2020
“Maybe if we focused on being the light & less on the dark, we might actually see things change.”
― Michael M. Rose
“God’s gonna punish you,” was an all too familiar phrase I heard growing up.
Tell a lie. God’s gonna punish you.
Step out of line. God’s gonna punish you.
Cuss under your breath. God’s gonna punish you.
Fight with your sibling. God’s gonna punish you.
Get suspended from school. God’s gonna punish you.
Toss in a little Catholic guilt and voila so began my life-long battle with the man upstairs.
I’m convinced the intent was to steer me in the right direction, and not to take these words literally.
However, that’s precisely what I did.
Subconsciously and consciously, I figured if I was going to hell in a handbasket, then I was going to make it one hell of a basket.
Drinking and drugs and sex. Oh my. I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.
With each life struggle, I imagined a God who was waving a judgmental finger at me, glaring indignantly at me, and maniacally laughing while mocking me. I felt myself, as the years passed, move closer to darkness and further away from the Sunlight of the Spirit.
I became angrier. More defiant. And more alone. It all eventually led to the hideous Four Horseman: Terror, Bewilderment, Frustration, Despair.
And then, when it could not get any worse, when I could not feel emptier, and when I could not fathom any more hopelessness, it happened.
Alcohol and drugs had finally beaten me into a state of reasonableness, as a friend of mine says. In a moment of clarity, I dropped to my knees and said the most honest prayer I could, “God, please... either kill me or cure me.”
With a lot of Guidance, Order, and Direction from people who loved me when I didn’t love myself, I have been building a fresh relationship with the Spirit of the Universe.
I was encouraged to forget everything I thought I knew and develop my conception of
God. As only I could understand Him.
My thoughts brought me back to my first “tour of duty” in a rehab facility. A spiritual leader
painted an image that, looking back, was a pivotal moment in my perception of a higher power.
When you are struggling, distressed, or depressed, he said, don't picture God being angry or laughing at you. Instead, I want you to visualize God sitting in a corner weeping because He is hurting with you.
There it was. First and foremost, I thought my Divinity would show compassion.
I could not forget merciful as I certainly managed to avoid the consequences I deserved.
Grace was another. Let's face it. I have been on the receiving end of many unearned gifts throughout my life.
Now my thoughts began to flow. Love. Hope. Patience. Kindness. Ad Infinium.
And voilà so began my new Spiritual journey with God as I understand Him.