There go I


I had some sad news this morning. It came out of nowhere.

Someone I have known for several years, someone very talented and genuinely good, entered rehab for a gambling addiction. For several moments, I was stunned.

As I try to wrap my head around this information, clichés drop in an out of my consciousness and sorrow. The default reassurance is the refrain in my head: There go I, but for the grace of God.

But no. No! I cannot comfort my soul at the expense of anyone. For in fact, there go I.

I am that person enterting the door of one rehab haven or another, emptying pockets, shedding one life for another, feeling guilt, desperation, unworthiness, and shame. Wanting to be alone just to cry.

I am that person, for I, too, am weak and human and in need of grace. 

There go I.

There go I but for the grace of God may be true, but this phrase does not free me to be a friend, a neighbor. 

This saying can let me walk away.

But am I coming or going?

There go I.

I, too,  am a human being in need of as much forgiveness, grace, and love, as the next.

There go I.

And when Christ seems most distant and hope as remote as the illusive rainbow, like right now, my favorite Gospel passage pushes through my heart’s memory, “Were not our hearts burning within us as he walked with us along the way?” (Luke 24:32)

There go I.

I pray that my friend will join the disciples, me, and all of us who rise, fall, see, listen, doubt, believe, weep, and rise again, on this dusty, muddy, Emmaus walk.

May my friend feel Christ burning within, for this is grace, and grace can be enough. 

The Emmaus walk is a crowded street. And there is always room for one more, there is enough Christ-fire for all.

 There we go.


One Response

  1. I appreciated your reflections. I was thinking that not only “there go I,” but that he also is in “the grace of God.” Addiction does not place anybody beyond the pale of God’s blessing and favor. Even if a person (and I’m not talking about your friend here) may for a time trade the grace of God for a cheap imitation, he or she can always trade up. Vestiges of the addiction may remain, but God’s blessing takes shape in a person’s life in so many ways. I’m learning this in the school of community, besides in my own life.

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