Friday: Shifting Sand
“And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost.” 3 Nephi 9:20
Quote taken from The Broken Heart, Applying the Atonement to Life’s Experiences by Bruce C. Hafen.
My life pivot continues. I may not know everything, I do know, that I have a solid group of missionaries standing with me in faith and support. As the days go by, knowing what I am feeling and going through, and not being able to share it with anyone breaks my heart.
The only person I trust, knows, but he is not here.
The week has not been without its heartbreaks. Conversations with certain people in my life, led to my severing my service commitment to my Sunday meeting, where I have been a trusted servant for more than ten years.
I know I am not perfect, by any stretch. Having my difficulties tossed in my face like shrapnel is painful, and to be told that I have issues that have scared away an entire population of people from said meeting, was painful as well. With that information on the table, being delivered by a woman I trusted with my life, forced me to resign from my service positions at said meeting.
Monday I attended Family night at the church with my friends. Thursday I am hitting St. Matthias, and committed to service for the next month, while several members are away for vacations, leading up to the holidays.
Christmas Trees and Christmas Decorations are already up in both the Alexis Nihon Plaza Mall and the Old Forum, Cineplex Theatre. At the Forum, there was a huge Halloween costume shop set up in an old restaurant location on the first floor. They had not even been able to vacate the store of the Halloween stock, before the Christmas Trees were hauled out of storage for the season.
I did notice that the trees were decorated differently this year, so they obviously went to great detail to put out something different than last years trees.
As it is Friday, it was the Best Meeting of The Week, night. And it was a special occasion. North End English celebrated 67 years tonight. Sixty seven years ago, a group of drunks got together and opened our meeting.
To put that in context for Quebec Alcoholics Anonymous, Dave B., began Alcoholics Anonymous here in Montreal in the year 1944. North End English opened its doors just five years later in 1949. This meeting was one of the first meetings opened that far back, that still operate to this day.
In my fifteen years sober, here in Montreal, North End English has been through several incarnations and formats. Generations of folks have come and gone in those fifteen years. Attendance was up, then it was down, then numbers fell drastically for a while, until a viable format was put in place, that we have to this day.
Several years ago, with few in number, we had a back room, As Bill Sees It – meeting, that took hold. And over a three year period, people began to show up. We once, filled the back room, then we filled the overflow room in between, because we did not have enough chairs, and once we reached that threshold, we moved into the main hall, where the meeting is today. What started with less than a dozen people, we now count upwards of 40 to 50 people on any given Friday night.
It only works when there is service to be done, and friends to welcome each Friday Night.
The Miserable Holiday Season
I worked in the bar business for a long time, when I first got sober in the late Nineties. Both behind the bar, and on the floor, and also looking down from a DJ Booth. Some of the busiest nights in the Bar Industry are Holiday Nights.
Just the same, in the rooms, some of the highest traffic nights, fall on Holiday Nights. U.S. Thanksgiving falls on a Thursday. Christmas falls on a Sunday. With Winter knocking on our door, (it was 2 degrees Celsius) today, people go into seasonal planning mode.
Seasonal Planning Mode: Depression begins to set in. So people look at their schedules and their meetings. When temps drop and snow falls, attendance fluctuates widely. People plan how long it is going to take them to get from HOME to a TRANSIT POINT and then on to a MEETING. They spend their hour and the plan of attack going home runs in reverse.
If travel time is greater than fellowship time, people just drop off and don’t show up at all, because, why bother ??? Add to that Minus temps or big snow on the ground.
If you go to meetings, we all know the story of the venerable Literature Rack. We take it out at every meeting, we talk about it with the 12 step rep, who pumps the books, and the pamphlets, but as it goes, barely anyone looks at or takes anything from the rack.
I 12 stepped tonight. The holidays are almost on top of us. And there are going to be plenty of miserable people out there, on the sober side and on the no so sober side. The Holidays are some of the toughest times for the most people, for one reason or another.
Nobody escapes the Holidays unscathed.
I’ve seen hundreds of people come in just prior to the holidays, and in huge numbers after the holidays, sadly, almost none of them make it. The odds are against them to begin with.
I cautioned our folks tonight, to be on the lookout for someone who might need the gift we usually take for granted. I begged them to take literature and to put it to good use this holiday season. The holidays are not always jolly and bright.
I know that there will be misery all over the city. And we can only do so much. But there IS a place to Go and People who will LOVE and CARE for you.
You don’t have to be miserable – there IS a solution.
You might change a life in ways you might not imagine, if the options of Happy, Joyous and Free, are pitted against Pitiful, Incomprehensible, Demoralization.
Today, the mail man came early. The mail man usually does not hit our building until after dinner time. A couple of weeks ago I ordered a couple of Books from Deseret Books, out in Utah. (This is a Latter Day Saint Bookseller).
My two books came in the mail.
In Quiet Desperation – Fred and Marilyn Matis and Ty Mansfield
The Broken Heart – Applying the Atonement to Life’s Experiences – Bruce C. Hafen
During my discussions with my Elders, I was introduced to a man I now call a friend, who appears on the Voices of Hope website. A collection of stories from Men and Women, who are part of the Latter Day Saints, who deal with Same Sex Attraction, and how, through faith, they found their way to Heavenly Father to hold on to their faith.
A good potion of my Pivot, has to do with being on the back side of Gay. And the fact that Gay is no longer what defines me. It isn’t who I am any more either. The only two things that would speak to being gay is my HIV and my husband.
I’ve cleared the Missionary List to Baptism.
But I want to know how men and women, who deal with same sex attraction, think, feel and experience life. And in order to be able to minister to new brothers and sisters, friends in the L.D.S church here, I need to study, I need to read, I need to identify, with a process that came second hand to me. What was sexual attraction, when it comes to competing with a drink or a drug ?
Alcohol always settled that problem. I had my standards, as did every other gay boy I met back in the day.
Drugs and Alcohol made the process much easier.
For me it wasn’t all about attraction. It first started with a drink. Then a drug. If you were pretty then it was all the better.
I get on the Metro these days and I look around me at the people I travel with, and I see just how beautiful they are. When the specter of sex leaves the equation, people become human once again. And I truly appreciate human beauty.
Lots to read now. I’ve added several books to my bedside table.
There is always time to read, at least for me there is.