Her hair was shaved on the sides into a long mohawk. Looking like a young punk rocker, her bright blue eyes looked up at me. " You look so familiar to me. Do we know each other? " She stood up and was a little over six feet tall.
I smiled, "You don't have a New York accent. I am going to guess you are from the West Coast. California, somewhere around L.A."
"Pretty good guess. I am from L.A. My friends call me Cat," she replied.
"The last time I saw you, if I remember correctly, you were a young model at the Mercedes Benz fashion show about six years ago. I think you were about 14 at the time. The life of a photographer is to forget names, but remember faces." We both laughed.
"Yes, that was me up on the catwalk. Making the money, but then it all started to fall apart when my agent introduced me to heroine that year. He gave it to all his models. Third time using, your hooked and you don't think anything of it cause your a naive kid and all the other girls in the agency are doing that or cocaine to stay thin."
I was stunned silent at her response and a feeling of sadness came over me. My only thought was, Cats parents trusted this creep, this agent with their most valuable gift, their child and he betrayed their trust by getting them addicted to drugs. What a douche. It made me mad. Here she was, this young, twenty year old girl receiving chemo for ovarian cancer and also getting her daily dose of methadone at the clinic to detox herself of her demons. She still hadn't told her parents about her struggle, they thought she was in New York to work as a model but she was broke and had just lost her apartment because her boyfriend kicked her out to have another girl move in. She was a long way from the glitz and glamour of the catwalk. My heart ached for her.
"What do you remember about your life before you started using?" She began to cry. "I was happy. My parents were very loving and supportive of me going into modeling. They thought it would be a great way for me to save money for college and to buy a car. My parents were more concerned about the 'fast crowd' I would be exposed to because at a young age you are so vulnerable to outside influences. My parents trusted me because they believed I had a good head on my shoulders. They went to church and took me to Sunday school every week, not realizing their little girl was becoming a heroine addict."
"Your parents had a reason to worry. I think the people whom you surround yourself with, regardless of your age; the crowd you move in, the character and lifestyle of people you meet in the industry can be either a positive or negative influence. People can influence your mind, their habits over time can become your habits, their thoughts can integrate to become your thoughts, and before you realize what is happening, you adopt their lifestyle if your not careful. You were a baby exposed to a crowd of junkies. You know the old saying, ' When in Rome....do as the Romans do.' What happened to you, happens to young people in the industry all the time."
"Very true. One day I woke up on a park bench and realized, 'Oh my God, I am so far from the person my parents raised me to be, what happened? And the changes in your character and personality sneak up on you slowly as the lifestyle becomes more and more addictive; the drinking, the partying, the sex, the drugs. You get caught up in it, eventually you are lost."
"What do you remember most about Sunday school?"
"The last thing I remember is we were learning the ten commandments and the song, 'This little light of mine." A smile came across her face.
"Personally, I have always thought of the ten commandment as a road map for life. Regardless of your age, they are a timeless moral compass so to speak. Humans have a carnal nature, we are driven by the flesh and the ego. The flesh and ego are never satisfied and always want more; more money, fame, sexual partners, power, vanity, self importance, recognition, social climbing, lust, desire, material possessions, etc. These are base instincts in everyone. They are not necessarily spiritual or for our highest good. God calls us, when we give our lives over to him to 'die to the flesh.' Dying in the Flesh is to trade your will for the Divine will for your life. Our will is confined to the earthly life. God's will is the plan of eternal life to those who believe in Him.
The humans pattern of life is like getting caught up in a flesh driven carnival to meet the needs of the ego; vanity, popularity, going to college, getting a good job, having a family, and being content or being wealthy. The challenges and struggles to reach these and other goals can be exhaustive, but in the end all flesh will end up in the grave. Divine will for our lives is to give us eternal life rather than just life on earth. So God want's each of His followers not to love our life on earth to where our priorites are not His priorities written in the word. The process of dying in the flesh is to live in the spirit because your mind is on eternal rather than temporary things. If you are a believer, you have a new life to live, with your heart and mind focused on God's word as the food of the spirit. The Holy Spirit will bring to your mind, the right life choices to make in order to please God and continue to live in the spirit. There are laws of the spirit that we live by. Love your enemies, Love our neighbors, the ten commandments...etc.
"Basically when we choose to live by spirit, you die to your old ways. Kind of like how I have not done heroine in a year, I am doing my best to rid myself of who I use to be, let go of all those bad, self destructive habits."
"Exactly. When we give up being driven by the flesh. We make choices based on our spiritual and moral principles rather than ego or fleshly desires. The flesh lies and decieves you and it will tell you things like, " Hey, they are flirting with me. This feels really good. It's ok to cheat on my partner or lie to them. It's ok to have an open marriage. It's ok to commit adultry or be disloyal and betray the person who loves me. It's ok to go hang out with other heroine addicts or alcoholics in a bar when I am trying to get sober." The flesh is weak, it does not adhere to the principles of the spirit. Just because it 'feels good' or we have a 'desire' doesn't make it a decision based on God's word or plan for our life. We are in war of making choices every day, raging in our soul and the mind. Chocolate or vanilla? The question is whether we make are going to make our decisions based on the spirit or the flesh? The flesh will always make excuses to justify what you are doing, even when you know in your spirit your behavior is wrong.
"So what you are saying is, when I get a craving to relapse, my flesh will make excuses of why it is ok to do heroine...i.e...it feels good, I need a hit, etc. While my spiritual choice would say, 'Trust in God to give you the strength to overcome this addiction. Through prayer you will find the strength to make the choice to say no and pass the test of this moment, no matter how tempted your flesh feels."
"No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." ~ Luke 16:13
" Too bad, 'Thou shalt not do drugs,' did not make it into the ten commandments."
"Right. Speaking of that, I always wondered why if it was such a sin to be gay why 'Thou shalt not be gay,' was not squeezed between the 'murder' and 'adultry' commandment? Apparently being gay was not important enough to make the "top ten" list and neither was 'shellfish.' Go figure." Our laughter filled the room.
"Break it down for me. The ten commandments, if you can remember them all."
"Well I will try to remember. The 10 Commandments are found in the Bible's Old Testament at Exodus, Chapter 20. They were given directly by God to the people of Israel at Mount Sinai after He had delivered them from slavery in Egypt:
ONE: You shall have no other gods before Me.
TWO: You shall not make for yourself a carved image--any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
"Both one and two deal with idolatry. When we put a person, place or thing...even a drug...before our spiritual relationship with the Divine. Some people worship celebrities, cars, money, their careers, spouses, alcohol, etc. Different but multiple forms of idolatry. "
THREE: You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.'
"I can't stand when people use the GD word. It un-nerves me."
FOUR: Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.'
"No working on the Sabbath, to all the work-a-holics. Step away from the blackberry, shut it off. "
FIVE: Honor your father and your mother.'
"Speaking of this, you need to call your parents and tell them the truth. They love you and will help you. Sometimes we just have to be willing to humble ourselves and ask for help. You need to think about your future and the quality of life you want to create for yourself. You can always go back to school, you are still young. Don't be suprised if your dad is furious when you tell him your agent gave you heroine though, he might show up at your agents office and open a can of whoop-ass on him. Better have the bail money handy. "
SIX: 'You shall not murder.'
"Watch out for the road rage, ladies and gentlemen."
SEVEN: 'You shall not commit adultery.'
"Hate to break it to you but swinging is commiting adultry, along with having 'guest stars' over for threesomes."
EIGHT: 'You shall not steal.'
" Not even office supplies. ;) "
NINE: 'You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.'
" Someone is doing this exact thing to me now. Loving people unconditionally is a test unto itself." "Don't tell number ten to the Real Houswives of New Jersey. " "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' (Matthew 22:36-40). The ten commandments are simple spiritual principles to live by, and they raise the bar on our level of integrity and quality of life. They do not guarantee that bad things will never happen to us or that we will not experience tests and trials, but they are a moral light on our journey when the road gets dark and we get lost or are just trying to find our way back home. The ten commandments are a solid foundation that do not erode but stand the test of time. "The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand." Matthew 7:25-26
TEN: 'You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's.'
"Don't tell number ten to the Real Houswives of New Jersey. "
"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' (Matthew 22:36-40).
The ten commandments are simple spiritual principles to live by, and they raise the bar on our level of integrity and quality of life. They do not guarantee that bad things will never happen to us or that we will not experience tests and trials, but they are a moral light on our journey when the road gets dark and we get lost or are just trying to find our way back home. The ten commandments are a solid foundation that do not erode but stand the test of time.
"The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand." Matthew 7:25-26