We met up with my cousins at Ventura beach on a gorgeous summer day in 1984. The waves were perfect and we spent the whole afternoon body surfing. I didn’t even come out of the water to eat. No other sense could compete with the sound of the ocean singing its love song to me. Or the touch of the water enveloping me in its arms like a lover wanting to hold onto me forever, then liberating me as I am carried out to the sand rim on a powerful wave boasting of its strength.
Later that evening, after a nice shower and a meal, I lie on the living room floor. I reach over and grab the Super-Kool from my brother in-law’s hand and smoke its sweet minty goodness. Smokey Robinson’s Quiet Storm is playing. Closing my eyes, I relive every moment in the waves. But now, they are electric and soothing as they move my body forward and back. This is the sweetest moment and I never want it to end.
A few weeks later, my girlfriends Tina and Letty stopped by and asked me if I wanted to slam some coke. I had never used drugs intravenously but had nothing better to do at the time. “Okay”.
I told my sister we were going to the park, which was the truth, that’s where we would meet our connection. Three guys, we knew joined us, I found out they were paying for it. It had started to get dark and I really didn’t know who else was there because all I could see were their dark silhouettes against the backdrop of the sun setting over the rolling foothills.
After the purchase was complete, It was time to get down! Then I noticed something, “Are we all using the same needle?”, I asked. “Yeah, we only have one.”, replied Letty. “Umm, nevermind. I will sit this one out.”, I said. They asked me if I was sure. Hell yes, I was. Didn’t any of them watch the news or read the paper? AIDS was the latest killer among IV users. Maybe I am too intelligent for the drug life. Well at least on that night I was.
The following week I am awakened by my sister shaking me. “Did you fucking slam coke with Letty and Tina?!”, she shouts. “No, I did not.”, I reply. “Tell me the damn truth!”, she says. “I am telling you the truth! I was going to but they were using the same needle and I just can’t do that.”
“Good.”, she says, “They all have Hepatitis”. A wonderful example of God doing for me what I could not do for myself.
Within 5 years, both Letty and Tina would be dead. Tina met up with some guys that had some heroin. She had just met them along the roadside. They gave her an overdose, raped her and dumped her body in a field. Tina was identified by her dental records and jewelry. Letty was getting high and wanted to go body surfing. She got pulled under by the tide and drowned. I think I would have rather gone out the way Letty did. Something about those Ventura waves…
Why not me? I know I did not get hepatitis because I made the choice to not use that day. But there were several other days and nights I coulda-shoulda-woulda been killed if only…
Yet I am here today, alive. My friends are dead. Who am I to question God’s will? Just as I had to accept the fact that I am an addict/alcoholic, I also had to accept that I was alive and they were not.
What I do know is that as long as I am above ground, I am willing to be in His service and make myself useful to all His creation. It is a gift, an honor, and a responsibility. This too I accept…blissfully.
What is your purpose in life? Have you accepted it wholeheartedly? I hope so. The spiritual life is both powerful and liberating…just like those electric waves.
Stay Blissful My Friends – E