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Medicine Without a Bottle


In society there is a belief that everything has a cure. Take this pill, do this activity or be this type and everything will be okay. Have tough skin and you'll survive. Don't talk about it and you'll get over it. This isn't really the case, is it?

One such friend had this issue. Their family was the out of sight, out of mind types. There wasn't always a statement of disappointment, but there wasn't acknowledgement either. Their other children were stable, partnered off, and earning big money. My friend was not, but she knew how to serve her time best. She was creative, shared themselves without question, worked a decent job, was a successful musician, nature explorer gifted artists, and yet never had anyone to tell them how proud they were of their endeavours. They had grown up disadvantaged, with an addictive personality and enough pain to warrant it.

''Ellie'' had been bouncing between belief systems and a desperate need for peace. At first she tried shallow comforts which didn't work. They rarely do -- long term. As I saw her deflate, I began to realise something had to be done. Substances weren't the answer, nor was shallow compliments. There had to be something more I could do for her.

It was then I realised what I had to do: give her opportunity to check out for a while, escape, and reel back for reflection. The goal was set, but how to achieve? I thought about her request for spirituality, while at the same time fear of attending a church community. I remembered what inspired her most when we hung out: nature, open spaces, candlelight and a deep philosophical conversation. How could I give her an escape when she didn't feel like going anywhere, too tired from the day's pain to access a community or location? We all have those days where we just can't be bothered reaching out. What was there to do then?

I concocted a plan to create her own private church. A mental state and place that was hers. I bought her oil burner, wax melts (more mobile than essential oils!), and a funny, sarcastic meditation book with all the points in firm brief statements. Now to find location. My original plan was a picnic in the park near her house, but when we realised the weather was not friendly, she took to the idea and instead chose an old factory nearby. It was open to the public as anything worth money was probably too heavy to lift. They left the huge warehouse open for people to use the complimentary equipment public were welcome to.

We searched the area for a remote corner that we wouldn't be bothered. I watched her inspect the interesting details of the area, the old beams that had been there for decades. We found a little area behind one of the huge signs and settled. We set out the placemat, the burner on top, and added a melt to begin to diffuse the scent. She settled across from me, eyes closed, seeming to be at peace for the first time that day. I hadn't seen her a few days, but I knew she'd lost a dear friend recently, and this had caused great lethargy and confusion for her future. She tried to cover her pain, but I saw it behind her eyes and not-quite smile even when she tried to appear okay. She was hurting -- I wasn't fooled by the mask she wore.

When she seemed settled and relaxed, I asked if she minded if I prayed. She wasn't threatened when I did this, and I so wanted to ask God to enter the space. When she agreed, I spoke to God aloud so that she could hear my requests. She'd need made a prayer before so didn't know how one would sound. I wanted to show her how easy it was to pray and be with God.

Through my prayer I asked God to be with her, even if she didn't know Him yet, and be listening for the moment she lit the burner in whichever chosen location, and to prepare her path. She listened quietly, eyes closed, resting gently. Then I thanked God for the things she could be proud of, how I loved her as my best friend, and how I wanted to show gratitude for the things we'd shared over the years of knowing each other. Deep in my heart I knew she may not take on these lessons, but that it was a seed to start from. Faith doesn't grow immediately. Sometimes we place a seed and we have to wait for it to develop or sprout. I didn't mind how large her seed might grow, only that it had been planted.

As we left the factory, she seemed at peace, talking about her plans for tomorrow. I may not know my effect, or what will grow for some time, but I felt pleased I could release her pain for one night. That's all we have sometimes. Just one moment to set ourselves free, without substance or deceiving ourselves.

Fear Removed
Launching Hope