Growing up, I enjoyed cowboy adventures, to the degree that Mum even made up stories around a fictitious character she called ‘Cowboy Joe’. This was to encourage me to eat, for while spellbound by her storytelling, my mouth would open sufficiently for a spoon to be inserted!
Television I loved included The Lone Ranger, Champion the Wonder Horse and The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin. It was here I first heard the phrase ‘bite the dust’ as a metaphor for death. It was soon weaved into the imaginary games I played with friends.
Surprisingly, years later I discovered that this phrase appears in scripture; here the psalmist speaks of how his soul clings to the dust with exactly the same meaning; he is courting death. It is from dust that God formed us and it is to dust that we shall return. Dust is a metaphor for humanity without God’s breath of life, the spirit within. So often I have found that I become glued to something that would kill me spiritually if not physically if I failed to separate myself from it.
On holiday in Devon, with Katey struggling with her walking and requiring major assistance to climb the stairs and get ready for bed, I used to return to the lounge downstairs, switch on the TV and open a bottle of beer. Exhausted physically, and perhaps more importantly, emotionally, I convinced myself that this evening routine was a treat I deserved. Only as I was clearing the cottage at the end of the week’s holiday, and making my way to recycling, did I acknowledge how many beers I’d consumed.
The initial shock, while strong, proved insufficient to prevent me from instituting the same routine on arriving home. In reality, I was beginning to turn to alcohol to ease the pain. It was a habit which I framed as my ‘reward’ for caring that day and to help me relax. While I recognised an emerging problem and attempted to stop or even reduce my drinking, I became creative in justifying it as beneficial. I needed God’s intervention, over and above my own strength of mind alone, to address the issue, something which again was only worked out over time.
(Dr Much Jazz)
With many peaceful blessings