If you’ve been keeping track of the latest season of Louie, you will have seen the show take a slightly different route than previous seasons. For a couple of recent episodes most of the comedic noir take on life of a divorced, stand up comic Dad with his two daughters in New York has been exchanged for a more poignant perspective on Fatherhood. Especially coping with the challenges of facing up to the same mistakes you made as a kid coming back to haunt you through your own kids.
In one episode a few weeks ago, Louie found his daughter smoking weed. Henceforth, we are then projected back to Louie’s childhood when he too got caught up in not just drugs but supplying a drug dealer (portrayed by the brilliant Jeremy Renner) with thousands of worth of school supplies to sell on to other drug dealers.
As teenage Louie finds himself increasingly isolated from his mother and already absent Father, we see a great portrait of the hurt and joy and love that families can inflict and gift to each other. Haunted, by his mothers distraught reaction to his increased emotional distance; to her decision to welcome Louie back home and showing unconditional love, we get to view the difficulties and loneliness of raising a teenage son alone. Something, that has given me an increased respect for my own mum.
As Louie meets with a counsellor who casually explains that he is just a teenager and is trying to dull the pain of his parents divorce by medicating on drugs; Louie confronted with the fear of his own divorce effecting his daughter like his parents’ had him; finally over eggs and bacon tells his daughter simply,
It’s almost apologetic. Is that enough? Someone to tell us it’s going to be alright? That this is not the end? That you are not alone no matter how much it seems like you are?
Most of the time when things seem hopeless or like they are falling apart the place we need to begin with is here. We don’t have to have all the answers or solutions to problems. We don’t need this fixed. We just need to know that someone understands or at the very least will stand by us long enough for them to learn to understand.
As someone who works with guys who struggle with addiction one of the worst things I could do initially would be to tell them where they are going wrong. What they should change or go on a rant about how they are destroying their lives.
Because there is always something deeper going on than simply sex or drugs or food. Sometimes there is just pain. That can manifest itself in countless ways but honestly that pain can only be countered in one way.
Love is a word we sometimes grow uncomfortable with. But at the heart of all healing, love must reside. The love of someone for who they are rather than for what they do. The love of the parent patient enough to know that their kid just needs an arm around them. The love of the sponsor who understands that for the addict they aren’t deliberately trying to sabotage their life.
Love can then truly change things. Yes, if there are actions that we are engaging in that are hurting us then we must undoubtedly stop them. But when we yell at someone over their action we express a lot more about our own fears of losing our loved ones than anything else.
So it may be hard and there may be a long road ahead, but when you understand that your love for someone is not weak or you’re not justifying someones action just because you give them a hug, then healing is possible.
Because sometimes “….all I got”, is all you need.