VIC 21 | Story Of Addiction

 

We live to see drug addicts in our community but never hear the tale behind them. We never get to hear the stories behind every parent who also suffers from their child under the influence of drugs.

Today KL Wells sits down with CEO Andy Graham, father of Scott, a cocaine addict who suffers from depression. Andy delivers a relatable story about a parent’s struggle coming to terms with his son’s addiction, including the guilt you hold as a parent.

Some key moments from the episode include when Andy shares the tough lesson of loving his son enough to say “no,” which leads to allowing Scott to live in his car for four months.

Finally, Andy shares a life-changing moment when Scott says, “Dad, the way you can help me is to do your own work.” This is truly an incredible conversation you don’t want to miss!

Watch the episode here

 

Listen to the podcast here

 

A Father And Son’s Story Of Addiction

We have a remarkable guest with us. Andy Graham has chosen to join us, which I’m thrilled about. One of the reasons I am thrilled is that he has been a CEO for quite a while. In the course of his career, he’s been quite successful. As we talked, it’s very clear he is an innovator, a change agent, and a disruptor. He was speaking my language. That’s where we connected through a mutual friend that we both adore.

I’m thrilled to have him speak to the silence that’s pervasive and relative in the C-Suite. We look successful at Corporate America, yet behind us, we almost live this double life with our families crumbling behind us, to the side of us, or in front of us sometimes. Andy has his own story. I’m going to let you take it from here, Andy.

Thank you. It’s an honor to be invited to share my story. I appreciate the work that you’re doing to give voice to that silence. I’m a farm boy from a tobacco farm in South Carolina, raised by a single mom as part of a second marriage. In that context, I learned a number of things early on, which led to my eventual disruptive leadership style. That is, on a farm, you have to figure things out. Nobody’s there to figure it out for you. The job is not done until it’s done. There are things you can control and things you cannot control.

My mom was a very pragmatic person. She ran a farm. She worked at a hospital as a lab technician. She sold Tupperware on the side. I became very adept at knowing the Tupperware catalog because I would help assemble those kits when they would showed up. I share that because it left me with a sense of drive and pragmatism that served me well in a leadership management corporate life.

My father was not present largely. He was mercurial and irresponsible, so I was driven to be a provider, to be responsible, and to go beyond the minimum requirement. I didn’t have a governor in that sense. I met my wife many years ago. She is very different than me. She’s very sensitive. She sees around corners emotionally. I have to do so by pattern matching.

We did the typical, get married and have three kids three years apart all in the month of December, so December’s a very busy month for us. We had them early on. My career dragged us around the country. We ended up in Phoenix for five years, coming from Florida, and then eventually in Austin. In that journey, I went from corporate experience at Motorola, to leading an industry, changing not-for-profit at a relatively young age, doing a venture-backed startup, and then exiting to Adidas.

I’ve had pretty wide exposure to large companies, small companies, brands, and technology. In my lifetime, I’ve seen a lot. What was common about that thread was, I was always trying to improve things and change things but for everybody else. Not necessarily for my family. If you’d said to me, “Are you caring and loving your family?” I would’ve said yes, but from the standpoint of being a provider and a protector. I am in a more pragmatic sense and not so much emotionally connected and available to them.

When you know that you are on airplanes and you’re getting purple hearts or flower awards on multiple airlines, you don’t know that’s a purple heart. What I would default to is I was king of the grand gesture. We’re going to go on a vacation, or we’re going to buy something, or we’re going to use the checkbook to solve certain problems. You tell yourself a lie that you can compress time emotionally, but you cannot.

I left the not-for-profit I was running. We took twelve years to set an industry standard. I am an introvert. Leading an industry effort requires a lot of exposure and a lot of travel. I did the math and saw that my son, who’s our middle child, I had three more summers with him because he was in high school. I hired my successor, resigned, went home, and got off the airplane.

You realize something that you cannot make up for the lost time. That ship had sailed. Generally, it sails a lot faster than parents realize, like playing catch-up ball when the kids are moving out of the door or headed out the door toward college. My marriage was very strained because of the travel and because you can’t compress time, relationships, or the lack of presence.

VIC 21 | Story Of Addiction
Story Of Addiction: That ship had sailed. Generally, it sails faster than parents realize. You cannot make up for the lost time.

 

I went about trying to repair our relationship with our children, but then at the time, two things happened. We found out that our middle son was a cocaine addict. He got into the University of Texas in the liberal arts program. He’s in theater. We thought things were fine, but he literally walked away from school after the first semester. He physically walked away.

He left his dorm room. He sent us a message saying that he was walking away from life and everything. We thought that he was going to commit suicide. I spent a very tense night driving around looking for him. Eventually, he walked home. He showed up at 4:00 in the morning. That was when we learned that he had not only been using, but he had been using since he was in high school.

What happens in addiction is that, as parents, you have a tendency first to reflect, “What did I do wrong? Where did I go?” There’s the parental guilt. We have that, but when you have a child with an addiction, you have it on steroids. You have to learn through recovery programs. You didn’t cause it, you can’t cure it, and you can’t control it, but you don’t know that at the time. What happened with him is that he went into counseling. Essentially, the counselor is the first one who made me aware that this was a family systems issue, not that he has a problem.

That led to key learning. It took a long time to learn it. I’ll speak to this as a man. Men are problem solvers. We look at any of these things as a problem. Especially if you’re a high-functioning executive or leader, you’re used to being able to make things happen by virtue of force, inertia, coercion, or whatever tool you use. You treat these things as problems, but they are not. They’re a path. What I had to learn is that it was not only a path, but it was a family systems issue where it wasn’t just our son who had the disease of addiction. It was a pattern of enabling that our family had been operating under that I was a chief culprit of.

We went to the place where the counselors send people when you need more than the weekly appointment. My son and I went to a place in Tennessee called Onsite, where they have a week-long program and they basically take your life apart piece by piece. They do family-of-origin work. They use psychodrama and any other tools necessary to get you to unpack your luggage.

For me, there was an Andy 1.0 before that weekend, December of ’09, and then there was an Andy 2.0 that left. The difference was, I had to own up to what I was bringing to the party and what the family of origin issues was. There is simply no getting around that. You do not pass go. You do not collect $200 unless you pay those bills. I had to learn to begin that process.

That period of time was opening the door and gave me language and tools to be able to work on that. Our son went through that. I went through that. My wife went through that. The thing about doing this as a family unit is it gives you a very important thing that you need when you’re working through addiction, mental illness, and other kinds of problems that are over your pay grade.

It gives you a common language. Oftentimes, as parents and as adult children, you’re not speaking the same language. You may have the same heart and the same intents, but you’re not speaking the same language. It gave us a common language, and then our son spent five months in rehab. When I say rehab, this was the Alcatraz of rehabs. This was the place you go when you’ve tried every other program.

Our son could tell stories of people being in up to 30 different stints through various rehabs. You see that the industry is in some ways enabled, especially with insurance, because insurance will only pay for 30 days. Thirty days categorically are absolutely not enough time to go work on an issue of this depth. He was three months in, and his program director said, “Andy, he needs another month.” That meant writing another $8,000 check, which I was happy to write. After five months, he got out of the program, went into the halfway house, and went through sober recovery.

He was one of the fortunate ones because he relapsed once and almost died from a binge of alcohol. You have to change a lot of things when it comes to addiction. You have to change your environment, your relationships, and a lot of things. It only takes one pull of a thread to bring you back into that mindset, which I’m not comfortable with in my own skin.

You have to change a lot of things when it comes to addiction. You have to change your environment, your relationships, and many things. It only takes one pull of a thread to bring you back into that mindset. Share on X

This leads me to share another thing that I’ve learned. I’m speaking from a male point of view and from being a high-functioning operator. As problem solvers, we think of alcohol, cocaine, or whatever the addiction is as the problem. What we fail to realize or can fail to realize is that for them, it is their solution. What we’re doing is we’re taking away something that they need or they believe they need to be able to be comfortable in their own skin and to self-regulate.

Whether it’s mental illness or addiction, your capacity for regulating yourself emotionally, for being situationally aware and self-aware, those things are lifelong journeys. What’s changed about me is first off, my wife now doesn’t think I’m as much a jerk as I was. You learn humility and empathy. You learn that you’ve got to be in their world.

I’m jumping around here a little bit. Our daughter is bipolar schizoaffective disorder. She was diagnosed when she was nineteen years old. We’ve lived this for a while. When I say be in the world, here’s an example of what I mean. I was commuting to Nuremberg, Germany, twice a month when I was working for Adidas. As you might imagine, that is not a sustainable commute when you’re not going to move your family to Germany.

When that came to a necessary end, I would sit in a Starbucks with my oldest daughter. After about three hours, the real stuff would start coming out. I’m used to having 30-minute meetings, 15-minute meetings, or 1-hour meetings. It would be a lot, but for her, it took that amount of time for her to start feeling safe enough to open up and say, “You really are present. You’re not going to go away. You’re not going to leave on me.”

That began a relationship with her where both my son and my oldest daughter had to process their anger at me, and I had to facilitate that. I had to bring back some things and revisit some things with them. Both of them would say, “Dad, it’s okay.” I had to stop them and say, “No, it was not okay. You have a right to feel those feelings. You need to feel them and process them.”

In both of their cases, I’m very blessed to say that they chose to turn the page on an entirely new relationship with me. They’re now both my very best friends. If you think about it, your adult children will know you in a way any friend will never know you. If you can befriend them, a truly mutual friendship, it’s a hard-to-describe blessing. We got there because this is what I’ve witnessed. I’ve worked with youth for fifteen years in a church context.

I got the teenage side of what it meant to be subject to parenting any number of times and see what that difference is. Generally, what I would say is, as parents, we’re often trying to patch up old relationships to carry into the future with our adult children when really we need an entirely new relationship. It’s launching a Saturn V rocket to the moon. You got a first stage, and then you got a second stage.

My son, if he were here, would tell you this. The relationship he and I have now is not a patched-up version of the old one. It’s an entirely different relationship. When you think about it, you really need that because you both need to meet at a common point vulnerability and of a beginning point, and then move forward from there.

You’re aware of the history and carry some of the scar tissue from it, but you’re not defined by that. It doesn’t close off emotional rooms in our mansions. What I’ve observed with adult-child relationships and even marriages especially is there are a lot of rooms that can be closed off emotionally that you don’t go into because of history, fear, and what have you.

VIC 21 | Story Of Addiction
Story Of Addiction: Your history and the scar tissues you carry do not define who you are today. It doesn’t close off emotional rooms in our mansions.

 

I’d like to think the older version of me could have visited the 30-year-old version of me, grab me by the collar, shake me, and say, “I need you to pay attention to some things here that relate to your family.” I don’t know if I would’ve listened, but I’d like to speak to those who are at the end of their rope when it comes to how to deal with these kinds of situations, where their relationships are broken, counseling will not fix it, money won’t fix it, and the normal things you do to cope won’t fix it, and say, “A lot of it had to do with me,” letting go, and like the Twelve-Step programs do, knowing that it’s only by a higher power that you can reconcile these things that are not reconcilable.

It humbled me a great deal. It was a long fall because I was CEO. I had the status that comes with all these kinds of things. It’s hard to go from there to sitting in a room with 35 other cocaine addicts with tattoos all over themselves and I’m holding hands and saying the serenity prayer, but I needed that. My wife and I went to Al-Anon. The initial commentary you get from somebody going to Al-Anon, which is a program for parents of those who have an addiction is, “Why am I here? I’m not the one with a problem.” Realize that it’s your own interior work and your own inside job.

I’m going to pause and give you a break to ask different questions here, but I’m going to share an example of how this can work. When my son came back from Onsite in Tennessee and we went to dinner at my favorite Tex-Mex restaurant in Austin, I’m thinking, “I’m curious about your experience, and I’m not sure how to ask about it.” What I did is I said, “Scott, how can I pray for you?” which is a veiled way of saying, “What’s going on?” He gave me some of the wisest advice that I would ever get. He said, “Dad, the way you can help me is to do your own work.” I’ve been doing that ever since.

Remarkable statement.

He is an uncommon young man and way smarter than me. That is a nickel tour of my story.

I always have points of curiosity. What I am really curious about is what the turnkey moment was for you that started you on your own journey? What was it about you that allowed you to summon the courage to do this work?

In my group at Onsite, there was a person who was associated with the rehab that my son eventually went to. That man’s name was Mark Houston. He was the one who founded that program here in Austin. Scott had spent a year living in our home basically surviving. In that period of you’re not using, but you’re not in a period of active recovery, that’s known as being a dry drunk. He was dry drunk for a year.

Eventually, the deal was when I sat with his counselor, the counselor says to me, “Andy, this is a family systems problem. If you want him to go to rehab, then you need to go to Onsite.” That is not something I would ever have done. I’m like, “What? I’m going to take a week off? They’re going to take my phone away from me? This is way off of my radar screen.” That was the appetizer that got my attention like, “Okay, this is about me.”

Ultimately, we were sitting in the office with Mark Houston who tragically passed away since. I was sitting with him, Scott, and my wife in his office talking about Scott going into rehab. As parents, we’re so wanting our kids to be okay. I was wanting him to be okay. I was wanting to do the right thing. I was wanting to please him. Mark was a former military guy who founded a rehab.

The turning point was this. He looked at me, pointed to me, and says, “Andy, he’s an addict. His brain has been hijacked. He couldn’t make a good decision if his life depended on it. You’re the man. You have to decide. You’re the one that’s going to write a letter to say that if he walks away from this program, he’s going to walk away from your family.” It was a walk away, and it was that loving pointed finger of unique responsibility. That was the turning point.

Where did you summon the courage from?

I’ll answer that question with a different story. Our son got out of the halfway house. He got a job, a roommate, and an apartment, and was living with somebody. He got a girlfriend and all these things apparently going well in his life. The reality was he was not working his program in continuity and was at risk. In a sequence of things, he lost his job and his girlfriend. He decided he was going to ignore all the problems and expected us to pay the bills.

Scott suffers from depression and a dual diagnosis of some other features along with an addiction that makes this a lot worse because depressed people can do some serious things. It came about that he was about to be thrown out of his apartment. He had no place to live. We had a choice. Will he come back and live with us? Do we write a check and pay for the rent? What do we do?

I have a mentor who advised me, “Andy, you need to be on the same page with your wife about this decision you’re going to make because if it ends badly, it’s going to blow up your marriage.” My wife and I prayed together. It was one of the most times of connection we’ve ever had emotionally and spiritually in every respect. We prayed for wisdom about what to do.

We realized that the choice was to let him live in his car. We said, “Scott, we’re not going to enable you any further.” He lived out of his car for four months. My older stepbrother committed suicide, and I have a personal experience with what it’s like to be left behind. The risk we were taking is we were afraid he was going to take his life. The strength and the courage came from God alone. That was the only way we could make a decision like that, to trust that somehow he would redeem, and he did.

If Scott were sitting here, he would tell you that that was one of the best decisions we ever made because it taught him a lot of things. They find out how resourceful they can be. That was the source of the courage. It was strange. I would have lunch with him, and he’d drive up in his car. I knew he’d be living in his car. He’d be selling plasma in order to buy food. He’d be eating leftovers at restaurants and doing all these kinds of things.

What I had to do is to treat him like I would treat anybody else, not say, “Let me help you out.” That decision to not enable him and let him live in his car was where we got the courage. On your own, it’s very difficult for parents to summon the courage internally. This sounds a little dark, but it’s because in the darkest of the dark, we want plausible deniability. We want to be able to say, “We did everything we could. If something goes wrong, it’s not on us.”

In making that decision, what did you learn?

I learned that I loved my son enough to say no. By saying no, it was a loving thing. I learned humility through the limits. I don’t know where I got this, but it certainly fits. When you have your underwear down around your ankles, nothing else really matters. What I learned is when you strip everything away, it’s about the connection you have with other people and how deep that connection is. I learned that I had the capacity and desire for deep connection, and I still do.

When you strip everything away, it's about your connection with others and how deep that connection is. Share on X

Are you at that place where you would identify this journey with Scott’s addiction as a great gift?

Yes. Not only that but my daughter’s mental illness. I sat with her on an oleum floor of lockdown in a mental hospital. You would’ve never thought I would think of that as a gift, but it is because it’s out of that crushed fine white powder that something new can be built. You have to tear down the old structures if you’re going to build something new.

I gave a talk to a men’s group one time I got invited to do this. I said, “I thought I knew where the end of the rope was. Wrong, I didn’t know.” We don’t know where the end of the rope is, but I do know that suffering and crushing are part of it. Just because we know that contrast now, it is ever so richer than it could’ve possibly been in any other way. I wouldn’t have asked for it, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s a blessing.

Could you say a little bit about the four years of the dark night of the soul for you? I’m interested in your journey that was part of the gift out of this whole experience for you.

Up until that stint that I had with Adidas and the way that it ended, I knew much earlier on that climbing the corporate ladder and gaining a level of status that affords was an empty promise, but I didn’t know what to do about that. In fact, I went to this company that was acquired by Korn Ferry. One of my board members in the nonprofit said I needed to go to this thing called Personnel Decisions Incorporated. What they do is they run you through a bunch of simulations to see what your reaction is and what your capacities are as a leader. It’s very effective.

In the end, a PhD named Steve Hardesty sat me down and says, “Andy, you can be a CEO and you’re good at it, but you have to work much harder at it than most people. If you do not do interior work, you’re going to corrode yourself from the inside out.” I heard what he said and believed it, but I didn’t know what to do about it.

I got on the airplane, flew to California, and I never thought about it again. Fast forward to 2012, my time at Adidas was over. I’d reached a linear endpoint in that part of my career. My daughter at the time was in the throes of being in and out of the mental hospital fifteen times. She’d been cutting herself. She’d been trying to kill herself. This was happening at the same time as our son’s addiction.

I was brought face to face with who I was as a leader and a father. All of my identities were coming up bankrupt for me. I ride motorcycles. I have been since I was nine years old. I’ve been on several solo trips by myself. I remember distinctly sitting at the Sotol Vista Overlook in Big Bend, Texas. I got there before dawn and sat there for 5 or 6 hours in a chair watching the sun come up, praying, listening, and writing down in a journal what was coming down for me.

What came down was, “Andy, you’re a pretender. You’re a performer. You’ve been doing that your whole life.” I wrote down something in a journal that I hated about myself, and it was that I was a sensitive person. My sensitivity was useful because it allows me to be situationally aware and predict the future differently as an introvert than most people do. Whenever I ran into that, I would run in the opposite direction and do the hard thing. The dark night of the soul, the doorway to that is solitude and silence. You have to turn down the noise. If you don’t, then you’re setting yourself up for more of the same.

VIC 21 | Story Of Addiction
Invitation to Solitude and Silence

I read a book once written by Ruth Haley Barton, and it was titled Invitation to Solitude and Silence. That book, which I’ve recommended a number of times, is the book I hear the most back. I read a lot. I’ll have guys who will say months or years later, “That was a turning point for me.” It’s the same for me. It turned down the noise and gave me a framing to say, “How do I sit before my creator and listen for how I’m really made?”

Much later on a beach, I opened that journal again and read the part where it says, “I hated my sensitivity.” God said to me, almost audibly, “Andy, that’s not a defect. I made it that way. That’s how you’re made. That’s a gift. I want you to lean into that.” I leaned into it and embraced it. Later, I lead a community of empty nesters. It allowed me to be uncommonly vulnerable in that context and vulnerable with my kids.

In fact, when Scott and I were doing this podcast together, we learned some things about me he didn’t know and vice versa. Through all that rambling, I would say what I learned about my dark night of the soul experience is the doorway is solitude and silence. The tuition is putting down all of your status, symbols, or whatever they are and allowing yourself to face your original design because we all have original designs. You’ve got one. I’ve got one. Everybody’s got an original design.

We learn to cover that up. We learn to shape it in different ways. We’d have woundings and all these kinds of things, but we all have an original design. The closer we can get back to that and the more authentic we are or we can be for other people, the more we have the capacity to love and connect. Saint John of the Cross wrote a book with Teresa of Avila. I’ve read that book. I would encourage people not to read it too soon because you’ve got to have a taste of the experience before you can appreciate what they’re saying. Otherwise, you won’t be able to take in the truth that they’re offering up.

We have different doors and experiences that we walk through, but everything they’re saying resonates with my own dark night of the soul and my own journey. I’m a backpacker, so I remember when Sam was a teenager and I had sent him to his first rehab. Subsequently, I sent him to a boarding school that dealt with behavioral issues.

I spent the entire summer in Montana, in the backcountry to get back to me. I was letting the grief, shame, guilt, and all the things that were weighing me down, clouding me up, and keeping me dark to let it all go so I could shine again and be centered up and true to who I really am. It has been coming and going from different experiences. A few years ago, I did a nine-month vision quest process which capstone with solo event.

Silence is absolutely necessary, and our world is not geared to allow us the silence. It’s a countercultural thing for us to do, which takes great courage, great conviction, and great intention. That’s why I love this conversation because we’re laying down the mantles of what we grew up thinking that we knew was a success.

At least my story was everything that I thought was a success was a lie. I didn’t know it until these traumas and tragedies started showing up, and more profoundly with my son’s journey. I realized that his journey was opening the door for my journey in a much more profound way. That’s how I can ask you, “Do you view this as a gift?” Unequivocally, I can say that Sam’s addiction has been an extraordinary gift for me. It has set me on the path of what my life purpose is in ways that I realize that we all tell stories. My story is that it was only through my child that I would get cracked that wide open to be able to step into my life’s purpose.

I’m very grateful. In fact, Scott and I send each other a text each morning saying three things we’re grateful for. Gratitude, which some people use as a lucky rabbit’s foot, it’s when you’re onward into the journey, it gets richer to see what that gratefulness looks like. I don’t know if you read anything about Ryan Holiday, but he wrote a book called Stillness Is the Key.

People are getting the idea, especially with the advance of technology, we have no place alone anymore and thin connection is encroaching on our lives in so many areas. I will look at a time study of CEOs. It was pretty daunting if you’re in that role, you’re impression of time. The reason I say that is a good friend of mine is a CEO of a public company. I led a retreat that he was at once. It was about stillness. I borrowed an object lesson from Barton’s book.

This retreat was by a lake here in Austin. We went and got several jars of water from the lake, but we included silt from the bottom of the lake. What we did is shake that jar up, and then we sat a jar on each table for people that were in this retreat. When you do that, the silt is so fine. It just is very cloudy. The retreat was a weekend. By the end of the second day, the water was finally clear.

When you get away, like your backpacking or my motorcycling, you’re more likely to make those connections with who you are and your purpose. I don’t know how this happened, but here’s what I did at some point during my presentation in front of the audience. I said, “We can get to a level of clarity in stillness, seeing ourselves, and putting down the things we hide behind, just like this jar of water. Here is the point of it all.” I literally picked the jar up and started walking in such a way as to not get that silt to stir up again. It’s how you carry your whole journey. There’s a saying in recovery, “Put your own oxygen mask on.” That’s been my life journey from the point of the dark night of the soul of how I carry that stillness with me.

This is another story that I tell. I believe this is the time for us to do that, to perfect it, to model it, and to share it with others because we are encased in the silt that’s shaken right now. Those of us who dare to let the silt settle and create stillness for ourselves so that we can hear spirit or God, whatever people want to call, is mission critical for humanity.

I couldn’t agree more. There’s a fraction of people that carry that peaceful energy into a situation or that invitation to that. That’s critical. I heard about an entire C-Suite being taken through empathy training with another public company, especially since the pandemic. The new relationship between leadership and the employee base has been modified in a way that leaders now are having to be much more empathetic than they ever were to understand what’s happening. For many of them, it’s synthetic empathy because they’re not naturally wired that way.

Why am I saying that? It’s because you started this conversation with, “Why are not more C-Suite folks talking about this or being more vulnerable and open about it?” My answer would be because it’s scary. When you are at that level of titrated competence, it’s very difficult to put that aside and say, “I’m incompetent in this particular area. Not only do I not know the answer, but I don’t know where this is going.”

I want to say to anybody like that who’s reading based on my experience that it is scary, but in the end, it is going to be okay. You can’t see it, but there’s healing in that process that you’d otherwise not have access to. If you don’t like counseling, ask yourself who’s the most empathetic person that you know or who has that level of capacity. Be willing to get close enough to them so that they can be a helpful mirror for you.

For quite a few people, it’s terrifying. I have this saying that when my life has felt like it was completely shattering and falling apart, I’ve done it enough times that now I know it’s falling together. That terrifying experience of it shattering, the pieces are just laying out in front of you. You have no idea how those pieces are going to come back together again or what new pieces are going to show up. That is the moment of surrender.

To do it enough times, for me, it’s a muscle I can grow. I can know that when my life’s falling apart. It’s actually falling together. I believe that beyond a shadow of a doubt at this point in my journey. In some respects, you and I get to share our journeys with people who are in earlier phases of their journey to be able to say to them, “You can do this.” There is the other side to this terrifying moment or this supremely scary moment. It’s taking us back to our own humanity.

I could add a visual to what you’re saying. I’ve used this before, but we all start out on our journeys with some version of an image in our mind of what it’s supposed to be like. For some, it’s the Norman Rockwell picture of the perfect family. We all walk around with some image of the way we think it’s supposed to be or however it’s formed. Over time, that image gets cracked and broken. We find out that, try as we might, we can’t realize this image that we have in mind.

Like you’re saying, when the pieces fall on the floor, what they really are is they’re pieces of colored glass scattered all over the floor and you can’t make sense of it. Later on, what I’ve realized is that what God is doing is he’s taking those pieces of colored glass and he’s making a mosaic out of it. When you see it, it is more beautiful than whatever the other image is that you have. It’s just at the time, you can’t see it. You have to trust that it’s falling together. It’s not falling apart. In fact, it needs to fall apart in order for that to manifest. That analogy has always helped me when I thought, “This is another piece of broken glass. I wonder what color it is. I wonder what it might look like in the final scheme of things.”

When the colored glass pieces are scattered on the floor, they don't make any sense. Yet God is making a mosaic out of it. You may not see it now, but trust it's falling together. It is not falling apart. Share on X

This has been super rich, and I am deeply grateful for this connection. I will reach out to our friend and let her know that she was spot on in bringing you into my life. I want to say thank you for your vulnerability, wisdom, courage, and who you are in the world.

Thank you. It’s been a delight. Every time I share this story, I relive it in some part. Thank you for the invitation to do that. Thank you for your work and for reaching out. This is another one of those elements of the mosaic. Thank you so much. Blessings on your journey.

Thank you.

 

Important Links