There is a false and momentary happiness in self-satisfaction, but it always leads to sorrow because it narrows and deadens our spirit.
— Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island
This follows from last week’s post and reinforces the connection with addiction.
It brings to mind the scripture
Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Harper Bibles. NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (Kindle Locations 74929-74932). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
The bitter irony is that the path that seemed so wide at first narrows quickly and imperceptibly until we find ourselves trapped in the dark, narrow place named Addiction. The seeming freedom of choice leads to enslavement; the habitual self-satisfaction to self-loathing; the exhilaration to despondency; the life-enticing to death-dealing. Our life narrows to the one thing that sucks life out of us.
The impossibly good news is that, in that narrowest of places, there is a narrow gate. Always. And it’s open. It’s just wide enough for us, but too narrow for our addiction. And there’s a gatekeeper, a good Shepherd, who calls us by name:
Softly and tenderly, Jesus is calling,
Calling for you and for me.
See! On the portal he’s waiting and watching,
Watching for you and for me.
“Come home, come home. Ye who are weary, come home.”
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
Calling, “O sinner, come home.”
— Will L. Thompson, 1880
He will get us through the gate, if we ask.
“But the gate is so narrow, and the way seems so hard.”
That narrow gate leads, over time, to the widest of all paths, broad enough to accommodate us all, to lead us to life with no death mixed in, to a place that is more “home” than any place we’ve ever known.
Do we hear him? Dare we ask?