I have been writing for the past month about my life as a secret drinker, really more of a closet alcoholic. I drank at night and was fine by morning. I worked, I laughed, I went to church, but at night I drank. I have lots of reasons, but mainly it was because I hurt and didn’t know how to process that hurt or to deal with it. I felt alone and no one understood what I was going through.
Will I ever drink again? I don’t know the answer to that.
That last question and answer may be surprising. I answered it that way because only God knows if I’ll ever drink again. I am humble enough now to say that I don’t know what I will do tomorrow. I never thought 10 years ago that I’d be writing this post. I didn’t “believe” in drinking or that it was helpful in any way. I never thought I’d drink on a daily basis, but yet I did. Why? Because I am human and imperfect.
You know, as I write this I wonder about my neighbors. What are they going through that I don’t understand. What about my co-workers that I interact with every day. Is there someone that is feeling the need to get drunk every night in order to stop the stress and pain in their lives? I don’t know the answer to that. Are there those who are cheating on their spouse? Are their those who have just found out that their spouse is cheating on them? Maybe some are about to file for a divorce or have one filed against them. Maybe some are beaten at night or abused or even some that don’t know how or if they will live another night or even want to live another night.
I guess my point here is that I don’t know what you are going through and neither do you know about me, other than what I am willing to share here. Let’s not take for granted that our neighbor (home, work, church, etc) is living the perfect Facebook life. I can promise you that they are not. In fact, realize that most people you come in contact with are hurting. From the cashier to the landscaper to the CEO of your company, there is a crisis in their lives or about to come to their lives. They will say they are okay. They are handling the stress, they are happy and life is good. But perhaps they drink every night in order to forget the day and they are wishing they might just never wake up.
Be nice. Use their names when you see them. Smile at people and wave at your neighbor. Give a bigger tip to your server at your favorite restaurant. They may need that smile, waive or bigger tip in order to survive and you will receive an eternal reward for doing the very thing that made them live to see another day. You will probably never know that you were instrumental to their survival of their day, but wasn’t that Jesus’ point in the parable to the sheep and the goats?
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
Matthew 25:31-40 (ESV)