As I take another step down this seemingly endless flight of stairs, I think to myself, “I recognize this scenery; haven’t I been here before?” This gets me thinking, so I sit down on the bench at the bottom of the staircase. In looking up at the stairs, I see that they really are almost unending, spiraling to and fro dangerously, back and forth. Suddenly, I remember that I have been here before, not too long ago even, and when I go around the corner not too far off, I run smack into the same wall I had run into earlier. I have to admit, even though it hurt to run right into it, the wall had a really nice mural painted on it. The picture was of a field, and in the distance there was a beautiful sunset, illuminating the sky above the mountains. Although I realized that it wasn’t a way out, I longed for it to be the salvation I was searching for. I almost felt that if I could walk into the field I would be safe and free. All I wanted was to get out of this dark place.
Grasping my thoughts, I try so hard to remember exactly which way I had come initially. Turning, I start to walk down a long corridor. I cry out for help and my voice echoes, sounding as though I am yelling into the Grand Canyon. Tears stream down my face, and my vision becomes blurred. Many doorways appear and disappear, making it impossible for me to decide what to do. I begin to recall a song I once heard... “You’ve lost it. You’ll never get out of this maze, you’ll never get out…” Over and over, the song repeated itself in my mind. As my heart sinks lower into my chest, I strive to remember how to get back to the mural. I grope along the walls, trying to find the opening to the alley where it was. As I find the way to the wall, carefully this time, I begin to search the mural for answers. On the horizon I see something that seems unreachable, but promises a way out of the maze.
As I wake from the dream that was all too real, I come to realize that the images weren’t too far from the life I had been living. The significance of the dangerous staircase was the reality of the danger of the drugs that I would take on Phish tour, spiraling around and around, leaning this way and that. Had I gone too close to the edge, I would have fallen off, which I came close to doing many times while experimenting with drugs on tour.
Truly my life was on a downward spiral, and before long I found myself lying on my back in a hospital bed recovering from a nasty car wreck, taking full advantage of the painkilling drugs, and ending up terribly depressed and overweight. When I finally leveled out, struggling to leave behind even the legal drugs that were prescribed to save me, I set out traveling with a friend. We were determined to find a new way of life.
We knew there had to be something to the so-called spirituality we had heard of on tour. We wanted to try it without the drugs this time. We wanted to be purified. We sought something, though, that we were soon to find wasn’t there. That something was love.
My friend and I decided there had to be another way out of the maze of life, and we wanted to find it. We somehow knew there was a reason why we were alive and we wanted to find the answer to how to live in the life we had been given.
We had met up with some people who, like us, didn’t want to do drugs anymore. At first it was nice, but before long it was clear that they were still out to gratify themselves, living only for their own pleasure, when my friend and I were looking for world peace. We both knew it couldn’t be found that way.
The next thing we tried was traveling just anywhere, looking for a place to belong, where people all had the same thing in mind. We thought we would stop at a few communities along the way and see what we could find. After working on a few farms and starting to feel at peace, we found that it still didn’t totally satisfy us.
We decided to go to “one last Phish show” — the New Year’s Eve show at the Boston Garden. As a young girl was showing me how to fake a ticket, a man with a beard and pony tail came up to me and gave me a freepaper. At the time, I didn’t think too much about it. I stuck the paper in my pocket, and off I went to sneak into the show. After the show, I unwrinkled the paper and we read it together.
A bright spark of fire warmed my heart as we read. There was talk of a new social order, a plan for our lives, SALVATION! We found it! In our hands was the answer we had been so earnestly seeking! I wanted so badly to go to the place they described, but I found that I had other obligations. My mother wanted me to become a responsible young woman, get a job, go to school, get married…
About three or four months later I received a call from my friend saying that he had answered the call in that paper we had gotten. He had given up his wandering life for the salvation that we were longing for. For some reason I brushed him off. I wasn’t ready to walk away from my life. It took many months of my life falling apart, of all my good intentions falling by the way and my bad habits re-emerging, of several more letters from my friend, whose life was being restored. Again and again, I shrugged him off, saying that my life was going okay. But tears welled up inside of me and I wished that I had the guts to do what he had done. He had trusted the Maker of all things. I was trapped, and the only way to my salvation was to trust that he knew my heart.
When I finally gave up hope that I could find my way out of the maze, my friend reached out to me once more and pulled me out. I saw for myself the life he had found. Now that I am in the Community, I see that my friend was right all along. I should have trusted him from the beginning. I now live among many people with the same heart and the same mind about life and the way it should be. Our hearts are to serve our magnificent Maker, sharing all things in common like the Bible says, and loving one another in obedience to His commandments.
Finally I have come face to face with real love! Devoting my life to the true plan was what I always wanted to do and now I can! I have hope for the future, all because our Maker saw the people of this earth worthy enough to send His only Son as a sacrifice for our sins. I have a place to belong now, and that is true love!
~ Botachat M’susah
(it means Trust and Overflowing Joy)
Can you guess how I got my new name? Come and see!