I parked out front his house and rang the bell. Hammered on his door, shouted his name.
Pounded the door, almost broke it down. No answer.
I knew he was in a bad way. He had been for weeks.
Not knowing what else to do, I put his favourite music on in the car, and turned it up full blast.
Climbed on top of the roof, and danced there while waiting for him to wake up.
Don’t ask me why, but it seemed like a sensible thing to do.
And, it worked. A curtain pulled aside, a face behind the glass. He was woke up.
Inside, he took me into the kitchen. I think it must have been 10AM.
He poured himself a brimming glass, forced himself to drink it. In one long gulp. Eyes closed, face scrunched up.
As if taking a large dose of foul-tasting medicine.
Except this wasn’t medicine – it was wine. And he didn’t – really didn’t – need any more. I don’t know what time he’d gone to sleep, but he was still very much very drunk.
Not that I could blame him: his wife and kids were gone, his dad hated and abused him, his business was falling apart… and all he knew to do, was to imbibe, imbibe, imbibe. Aggressively. With malice.
Obviously, he and I didn’t really connect that day. You can’t, when someone has been on a bender for weeks and wakes up only to down more booze.
I felt for him, but I didn’t feel sorry. This was his path. He had no choice but to get through it.
Painful as it was to watch him, it was all he knew to do at that time.
This was over a decade ago, when I was still a monk.
I loved that guy. Such a sweet soul.
And while I don’t know if my being there meant anything to him (he most likely doesn’t remember I was even there), I was called to stop and see him. To do whatever I could.
Because sometimes, people break. Life beats them so hard, and they don’t have the tools or the wherewithal to overcome the setbacks.
(Quite unlike, say, my dear friend Mari-Carmen from Guadix. She’s been through REAL tough things, but she was lucky to not break. Kept herself together. Forges on and just kept getting back on top of things. Despite the odds, opened a beautiful shop that became a success in less than four months. But I’ll tell you about her some other day).
My friend Jules, I hope he’s well. He deserves to be, and something tells me that he made it through alright, but I’ll probably never know.
That sometimes, you want to help and fix things for people, but you just can’t.
And sometimes, all that you can do – the best that you can do – is to just be there.
To witness, to be present, to not judge or correct, but to be a friend.
I miss him, and I hope he’s well. He deserves to be.
If ever someone you love ends up hurting themselves, please try not to judge or condemn.
They don’t know what else to do, and the last thing they need is for someone they love to judge them.
And trying to force help on them is also a way to judge.
I remember Jules, I honour him and wish him well.
Please do the same for those you love, but who are as yet unable to help themselves or accept your help.