Friday … Calm Courage
“… Indeed, that was the essence of A.A. itself; trouble accepted, trouble squarely faced with calm courage, trouble lessened and often transcended.”
We have tweaked the blog a bit. A little bit of change, with a few new images and a new header we are featuring. This photo comes from my preacher friend Gordon in Texas. This was his worship space where he ministered to his flock for many years, before giving up his church to go into the field and find God.
We are in a rain today, sun tomorrow, rain to come, and sun to follow kid of pattern this week.
Today we were on the upswing.
I spent time with a friend, and we followed that with a meeting. Tonight, the night was still bright at nine o’clock as I walked to the bus stop on the way home.
Tonight’s topic: Trouble – Constructive or Destructive
I listened to the reading twice and I did not think that I would have anything to say, until a friend drew upon this line from the reading.
Troubles … I’ve had my fair share of troubles. God has a funny was of making his presence known, and that usually happens when I am in serious trouble. Someone up there is watching me and keeping an eye out for me as well. Because I seem to have navigated this life, well, sometimes living on the edge it might seem, at certain times.
When have we transcended our troubles ?
And at what point point does transcendence take place ?
What would you call transcendence, how would you know ?
An old timer once said to me that, in order to see wisdom, you need two things:
The benefit of time, AND the experience of hindsight.
When we find ourselves in trouble, sometimes that trouble might seem, insurmountable when we are in the middle of it. And it might seem that trouble will never end. In most cases, save certain troubles, let’s say, life and mortality, troubles come and troubles go.
It is how we manage these troubles that matters.
As a young person in my family home, there was trouble. And I surfed it to the best of my ability. When I moved away, that trouble ended, but that did not last, because where ever I went, trouble seemed to follow. I must consider my youth and naivete. Add to that, my own blindness to the one trouble I had, that I never realized was a trouble (read: Problem).
Often when we read the Big Book, Bill had a certain way of writing. He never used the same word twice. If he was trying to get a point across to you, he would use as many words, that meant the same thing, without telling you that that was what he was doing, and I did not learn this until recently, when someone pointed this out to me.
You could use the word “trouble” or you could interchange the word with “problem.”
I skated through life, until I hit my mid twenties. I thought I was getting by, when I really wasn’t. I was involved with someone who was walking trouble. When that relationship went south, one night I walked into a bar, alone, and on that night, my life changed.
God began his slow emergence into my life. He knew better than I did, that pretty soon, I was going to need his help, because the trouble that was coming, would rock my world.
I can share these stories with you, because I know for a fact that in certain cases, I squarely faced trouble, and I transcended them.
TROUBLES SQUARELY FACED …
I was at work on a Sunday afternoon, and my mother called out of the blue. She tells me that my ex boyfriends mother called HER, to find out if I had seen him, because his mother could not reach him.
A few days would pass. Eventually, the police got involved. We found him a few days too late, and by that time he was long since dead. By this time, I also had the bar job at night. And God, in his infinite wisdom was right where He needed to be.
And not a minute too soon.
Suicide is never a good thing, for the one who kills themselves, nor for the persons they leave behind. How do I describe what it felt like to have a coroner call you and ask you to come and identify remains ? How do I quantitatively explain the gravity of such a request?
Do you know what a corpse looks like 5 days in ? I do…
His mother’s last words to me, after I identified him, and signed the papers to send his body home for burial were these …
“I hope for the rest of your life, the last thing you see when you close your eyes is my son’s dead body !”
I can tell you that twenty two years later, I can still see him, as I did on that fateful day.
I was still drinking. Let me tell you, I drank A LOT of liquor in the days that followed that day and that specific conversation. God was watching. Very closely. My friends, at one point, tried to intervene in my excessive drinking. They got me into therapy. Suicide survivors therapy.
For months, it seemed, I sat in a room, with family members, who were left behind. And I listened to them recount their specific war story every time someone new showed up. I kept on drinking, and I was working at the bar.
Todd passed an edict that nobody could drink while on the job. Ok, that was cool. There was plenty of time to drink after hours. And I did that. For a calendar year.
The second big trouble hit. I get a call from a certain friend, who tells me that my ex killed himself, because he was diagnosed with AIDS. Well nobody told me that !!!
Soon after that, I got very sick. I was in the middle of two tragedies.
One, facing the loss of a life, Two, facing the end of my own life.
That is when God stepped in definitively and took control.
Mortality, that, is one of those troubles that many don’t surmount and win.
Death is a forgone conclusion…
I can tell you that in both situations, I surmounted those two troubles, and I have transcended them. I have more than twenty years experience of time and hindsight, to offer.
When people began to get sick, it was inside a flurry of live fast and die young.
Where all of my friends decided to go out in a blaze of drugs and alcohol, Todd decreed that he would never let me go that way. He stepped in and kept me focused on living and surviving. He chose me, out of all those sick men to help. Probably because everyone I knew, including my family, tossed me to the gutter and I was alone.
All of my friends are dead. I am, very soon, going to cross my twenty second year, and I am still here. Those two very cathartic events in my life have come and gone. And while I was in the middle of them, it seemed that they would never end.
I can tell you squarely, my troubles came to an end.
I don’t know why I am still alive, nor why I lived and everyone else is dead.
God, is the only one who knows that answer, and He hasn’t shared that answer with me.
That means I get to tell this story as many times as I have to, to teach you all what can happen when one allows God to come step in and take control. Hopefully, these specific two stories will change a life for the better.
And maybe, just maybe, I will save a life.
I did not know what “Calm Courage” was. Todd did. I did not know if I would live or die. Todd did. I did not know life would end up this way, Todd did.
I don’t know how he knew, but he knew things that I needed to know.
I know … Now …
When I finally got to “that day” (read: the day I was supposed to die) And I was still alive, Todd helped me decide what I was going to do with myself. I was going to live.
I can tell you, that it was not the easier softer way, No, I took the long way round.
In the doors, out of the doors, back in the doors, I survived a third cathartic “trouble.”
God stepped in a third time and saved from me from imminent death.
Since I got sober the second time, my troubles seem insignificant, when I look at them against the lens of having survived suicide, my own mortality, and a near death experience.
There is no trouble I can’t face and deal with.
Unlike, many people on the earth, who walk around (some, blindly and not knowing from one moment to the next), I have someplace to go when I need help. It might cost me a loonie ($1) or a toonie ($2) at best, or it might cost me the price of a cup of coffee.
How much would you pay for someones life experience if you knew that experience would save your life? You can’t monetize life experience.
The rooms provide things for us, that normal human beings probably spend thousands or more dollars trying to find solutions to their problems.
If only everyone was an alcoholic.
They would have access to our fathomless bank of experience.
Today I have “calm courage.” I know this, because my experience has shown me where it saved my life, when I should have long since died.
I don’t often recognize it and sometimes I take it for granted.
All I need to do is stand in front of my medicine cabinet.
More to come, stay tuned …