The Angel of Death courts us with its message of Love.
In 1988 I experienced a turning point that marked the beginning of a new way of seeing life. I became aware that I was not alone, that none of us are. This awareness of inner love, inner protection, was brought on by a desperate choice to die to my own fear and accept a course of action completely against my character.
Prior to this event, I was at full gallop running away from all the perceived monsters generated by an abusive childhood. I was in full denial, always avoiding sensitive areas because my low self-esteem repeatedly told me that I’d only be ‘found out’ once again if I choose to be brave. My fragile psyche could not withstand the embarrassment of any more failures.
It amazes me now to realize the deep roots of insecurity that were sown by my alcoholic father. He was essentially a good man, spoiled, uneducated, and kind-hearted. But all the kindness in the world does not repair the terror in a child’s heart when the anger and violence is happening. I remember the desperate fear I felt for my mother and how the pain of my inability to do anything to help her made me feel. I prayed for his death.
There were however, short periods of peace when my father would become overly fastidious and order prevailed. Invariably though, it was the calm before the storm and the storms always came to destroy whatever comebacks he attempted. We kids always knew that it was only a matter of time before hell would break loose again. It was a life of constant fear and this was the modus operandi in my home during my childhood.
My father never supported the family other than when it suited him. He could get away with this because my mother was educated, intelligent, kind and capable. She assumed his load because he offered her no option: eight children to feed and no support from anyone. She was alone in an environment dominated and validated by patriarchy. In Ireland, the men ruled and few dared to upset the order.
In school at age nine, I was beaten in front of my class by my teacher for not being able to understand ‘long division’. This event destroyed my confidence to learn anything in a formal setting. Consequently, I was a poor student and the best that my parents and teachers believed could be done for me was to put me out to work as soon as possible.
At age fifteen, my family found me a job at a relative’s pub in Dublin. Dublin City is on the opposite side of the country from my home and due to the distance and the long hours demanded by the job I had rare opportunities to return home. I felt very alone. It was agonizing to go through puberty at the mercy of the indiscreet and cruel awareness of many patrons who liked to make fun of an innocent from the country. Of course I had no defense and always added fuel to the fire by blushing on cue. I had little information about sex and no coping skills to manage the ways and wiles of passive cruelty.
I decided that the only way out of this hell was to go back to school and terrified as I was I completed a course of study at a technical school. I worked very hard with a complete commitment only to realize that I was getting nowhere and still learning nothing. The teacher told me to ‘pull up my socks’ as he slid me by each exam. I finally sat the qualifying exam and afterwards convinced myself that there was no way I was going to pass. And so, in the meantime, I gave up, quit my job and left for New York. I did not want to be around for the exam results and have to suffer the embarrassment of yet another failure.
I escaped from the frying pan into the fire and at age twenty-four married an enigmatic woman who turned out to have more problems than I did. It was okay with me. At some level I felt confident that she would never free herself enough to observe me for the inadequate person I perceived myself to be. I worked very hard at manual type work eventually getting a low-level position at a chemical company where I remained for eighteen years.
I found a way of being of value and proceeded to create the ‘American dream’ by hard work. Two children completed the picture and my commitment was complete. Years went by with pressures mounting as my wife continued to decline - due partly to my obliviousness to her pain. She took it out on me and the home became a pretend spectacle where on the outside all seemed perfect but on the inside there was utter dysfunction.
At my job there was increasing pressures due to layoffs. Many people were insecure and banded into survival cliques. I was isolated and attacked by one individual in particular who, for whatever reason, felt that I threatened his position. He began to undermine my work by sabotage, always in a clever way that suggested nothing other than my gross carelessness. He was committed to my destruction and for two years went about it most diligently.
Finally, because I was too terrified to react, he resorted to threats of violence, and once even attacked me physically in the company parking lot. I had no friends or family to rely on and the only peace I knew in those years was when I worked my side business as a floor refinisher. This work was extremely demanding physically but I believe it saved my sanity. In time I began to experience short-term memory loss: I was forgetting the names of people I worked with every day. This really scared me but then I rationalized that it probably was a result of all the pressure I was under. I began to accept and deal with the condition by figuring out clever ways of avoiding conditions of compromise. I hoped that it would go away in time. It never did and even today, if any pressure is applied to me, I will easily forget simple things. It was a precursor to the arterial blockages that were soon to manifest.
I was and am deeply committed to my children. They were very young at the time and I was concerned for them if anything was to happen to me. I saw no way out. My persecutor was not letting up and was increasing the pressure to match the support he was getting from those around him. Secretly, his supporters feared and hated him and went along mostly to protect their own security.
After an incident where I acquiesced completely, even apologizing to him in front of his friends, he left me alone for a couple of months. Then, he got restless and accused me of something absurd and untrue . He threatened me by saying ‘Do you want things to go back to the way things were?’ I looked directly into his eyes and said ‘Things will never go back to the way they were.’
That night I considered my options and came to the conclusion that there was no way to diffuse this situation other than by learning to speak his language. I considered all the possible repercussions for the action I was about to take and accepted all. I prayed and simply put myself in the hands of God.
Next morning I went to work earlier than usual knowing that he would be holding court with his clique. I approached him and challenged him to confront me in the street. After a show whereby he threatened how he was going to destroy me, he was left by my lack of response with no other option but to face me in the street. I was utterly terrified as we all proceeded to the street. We squared off. Then, he grabbed me around the neck and I remember saying to myself almost amusingly, ‘He’s as strong as a bull and he is going to kill me!’ Almost as an afterthought I hit him somewhere and immediately he went down. I was astonished but also now even more scared than before because I realized that at this point there was definitely no turning back. Out of raw fear I hit him a few times into an opening by his head and he actually began to cry. I was again astonished as were all those watching. He did not come back to work for a week and thereafter treated me with great respect.
I was a different man after this event because I realized that it was my own courage that had initiated my healing process, my coming home. I was aware that after my commitment to go beyond my fear the outcome was automatically taken care of. It was unavoidable not to recognize the action of my higher power in this event. It was beautiful and wonderful to feel so loved by one so close and of whom I had kept so far away because I did not know it existed. I now knew how to invite it in and it changed my life as it slowly dawned on me that I am incredibly more than my wildest dreams. I went to a movie that afternoon. There was no one to tell, no one to share it with. I would never be the same again. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that there is something truly wonderful about me – about us all. And so, began my recovery to Love; the first time the Angel of Death came to me and found me home.
Because life is bound to energy, everything is necessarily codependent. Codependency is a state of reduction. Independence is who we are. This independence abides within us and is always completely available. It is our teacher and we are its child and in reality we are one and the same. It is a relationship that cannot be revealed without the child’s active and responsible participation. This is so because if the teacher gave the child the answers there would be no point in the school. The world is our school and we are here to become who we are and, not who we think we are. We are bound into reduction by a force we have no awareness of and until we wake up to the existence of this force we will always be under its control. Read Eternal Recurrence …A Step out of Time and learn about your devil within.