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The Picture of Dorian Gray is a novel by Oscar Wilde, a story of a young man who had his picture painted by a talented artist who was able to capture the essence of Dorian. Dorian fell in love with his own picture, a reminiscence of Narcissus, who fell in love with himself (as a punishment by the gods for not falling in love with someone who was attracted toward him). Narcissus gazed at his own image in a pond, could not leave, and died there.
In Wilde's story, Dorian became increasingly dissolute and perverted, but was able to keep everything hidden, and pull off being a dashing man about town because the picture itself took on the dissolution rather than Dorian himself. Dorian remained young and dashing, the picture wasted away... until the end when.... (I won't tell you).
Below is a link to a picture of a woman who got on methamphetamine, probably the most destructive drug available. It is wreaking havoc across America and elsewhere. Cheap to produce, and terribly addictive because it gives a euphoria which people often find irresistible.
The addiction, I suspect, is like any other. It lives off the depleted relationships of persons who think feeling good is more important that morally responsible relationship, or who, for many possible reasons, were not able to develop a sense of self and of boundaries, who did not incorporate adequate mothering (a sense of secure being) and/or fathering (a sense of purpose and duty). Being and purpose are the warp and woof of all life. Without them we disintegrate. We feel inadequate to handle our relationships, and so retreat into feeling-good. That is an epidemic today.
Kimberley Fields was a very successful business woman, had a family, the picture of one who had made it. Then she got addicted to meth and became the picture of living death. The story is briefly told in the following pdf file with two pictures of Kimberley.
Link to Picture of Doria Gray -- (if you cannot view *.pdf files, click here)
Doria, in this little parable, was not able to get the picture to take on her degradation. She lived it herself, nearly destroying herself within the space of three and a half years.
When we allow feeling good to supersede moral responsibility, we fall back on a quest for good feelings. If we find one that convinces us that it is the answer to all my problems, then we will get sucked into an endless quest for that feeling.
But feelings have no substance, only relationships have substance. If I cannot imagine myself having a successful relationship, then I will avoid open, honest relationships and pursue the feelings, with the consequences which Kimberley found. There is no other way.
God made us for relationship. The two highest commandment in the cosmos are to love God and one another -- all about family, community, loyalty, faithfulness, serving one another. A quest for feeling good destroys all that.
The irony is that if we form good relationships, we will feel good. Stable good feelings are the fruit and result of good relationships. Like all forms of true and stable happiness, they cannot be successfully pursued for themselves.
Jesus was unerring in picking the two Great Commandments. They are the only goals in life which can rescue us from collapsing in on ourselves in a fatal quest for feeling good.
Pray for Kimberley, and all the other Doria's and Dorian's among us, that someone who knows Jesus will introduce them to His healing presence and power.
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Date Posted - 00/00/2000 - Date Last Edited - 05/13/2013