"You think it's a weakness. Make it a strength. It's part of you. So use it."
~ Actor Jon Huertas as Detective Javier Esposito - Castle, "Kill Shot"(Written by Alexi Hawley)
I admit it. ABC's Castle is one of my guilty pleasures. With an engaging ensemble cast and plot lines riveting, but not grotesque or depressing, Castle is a show I can enjoy. The episode "Kill Shot" centers on the pursuit of a sniper who is terrorizing the citizens of New York City by shooting in broad daylight seemingly indiscriminate targets - a kindergarten teacher, an attorney and a third who is the lone survivor.
Interwoven throughout the drama is Detective Kate Beckett's struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome triggered by an attempt on her life in a previous episode. This current murder investigation hits home. Her assailant, likewise a sniper, remains at large.
Beckett is a mess though she believes she is fine even announcing this to her team, her captain, therapist and her consultant/writer, not-quite-yet (spoiler alert) lover Richard Castle. Worst of all she truly believes she is not affected by the bullet through her chest that miraculously sidestepped her aorta. Kate Beckett is in total denial.
In a scene pivotal to the episode and the series, Beckett is pulled away from the squad room by Detective Javi Esposito, a former U. S. Army Special Forces sniper who served in Iraq prior to joining the NYPD. Esposito escorts Beckett into a far corner of what appears to be the precinct evidence locker. He presents her with a sniper rifle. It is Beckett's sniper's rifle.
"You are way out of line," she says to him.
Esposito explains the rifle he is holding is simply a hunk of steel with no magical powers. He confides to her he has been where she is now.
Beckett repeats her mantra: "Javi I'm fine."
"You're not fine," he responds. The sniper, he explains, isn't all powerful. "He's damaged goods."
After a long pause Beckett responds, "So am I."
Esposito jumps on the chance to begin closing his team leader's wound and says, "That's right, and that's OK. You think it's a weakness. Make it a strength. It's part of you. So use it."
He hands her the rifle and begins the healing process of Detective Kate Beckett.
We have all of us been wounded, seemingly mortally. Our hearts have been pierced by our child's spiral into addiction. We've been knocked down but not out, sidelined perhaps, but not eliminated. At some point we determined we were fine but knew we were not … fine. We thought we could recover alone from the attack that could have knocked us permanently out of life.
We lied to ourselves and the Universe. Then, the Universe handed our Truth back to us - our own private sniper rifles. We'd been offered help countless times before, there had been hundreds of angels close by for so long and we refused to accept the invitation to begin our healing.
We needed to be backed into a far corner of our own evidence locker to see our Truth, the proof of what could destroy us if we let it, if we gave The Addiction the power it wanted. The remnants of our defeat, helplessness and sorrow brought upon us at the hands of our child's addiction can bring us permanently DOWN unless we accept the Truth:
We are parents of addicts. Ours lives have been changed - permanently. We're still here. The Addiction, the damaged goods that has taken our children from us isn't all powerful. We are also damaged goods and that's OK. What should have eliminated us from life and living, permanently, has not. Our defeat by our child's addiction is now a part of us. We may think this a weakness but since the experience is inextricably fused to our inner-most being, to our souls, why not use it?
Why not make it a strength?What is the sniper rifle the Universe presents to us, the linchpin, the essential of The Addiction that felled us, that brought us to our knees?
When we look around the evidence locker we will be horrified to be presented with the image of our children as they once were and as they could have been in our hands. The Great Creator is with us and hands us our babies and says softly, "He didn't pull the trigger. She didn't take the shot."
The image transforms. We see it clearly now. It is The Addiction. The Addiction is just the tool. It is not all powerful. Yet, it remains out there, at large, stalking us.
But we have lives to lead. We can lay down the memory of our children, for now. We can keep it in the evidence locker, for now. We can move on.
Our strength comes from separating The Addiction from the memories of who our children once were and could have been, who they are now and where their journeys are leading them.
We are who we are. The shadow of addiction is a part of us. Don't run from it. Don't deny it. Make it a strength. Use it.
We will emerge greater than we ever imagined we could be.
"You need to claim the events in your life to make yourself yours." ~ Anne Wilson Schaef