Saturday, May 26, 2007

More on Regrets

There are so many good comments on my Red and Blue make Purple post that I'm going to cut and copy them to here so you won't miss them.

bobbie said:
i LOVE the metaphor of the crayons and the color purple - this is really huge.

i don't know if it was me you heard, but i say that often. i really don't. am i still sad about some things i did or had done to me, yes, and i'm grieving them - but i know that who i am today is made up of all those 1000 little pieces - broken up and put back together.

i think that this is where redemption happens - when we can bring those things into the light and know that they weren't wasted because a) they have created who we are today and b) they can help others with their own broken pieces.

that is why the color metaphor speaks so deeply to me - because the spectrum that we have to "color with" now is so much brighter and more real because of it.

i don't believe the regrets are ever "erased" as you asked, i just think it's more like the scar that is still on your body showing where you were hurt, but not physically causing pain any more.

i think that the self loathing is based more in the shame we face/don't face but have instead of in the place where regrets lie. does that make sense??
poor mad peter said:
"It strikes me that forgiveness is inevitably a work-in-progress."
"All we have is today so it makes sense to embrace it. I cannot erase the past, it forms who I am but I, with God, am in control of how I allow that past to form me today. Will it control and dictate or will it inform and give me strength to rise again? Either way, all I have is today. To be truly present in the moment is a kind of self forgiving in itself. I actually believe that."
My not-so-anonymous friend(who needs a blog of her own because she has such good and many thoughts!) said:
"Do you really think it is possible to go through life without having any regrets? And is having regrets always a negative thing? I have plenty of things that I regret doing to other people and I'm trying hard not to regret things done to me. Is this a good thing? I don't know yet. Sometimes I wish certain things hadn't happened but then I definitely wouldn't be the same person, would I? Is that good or bad? Should I even use the terms good and bad in trying to express my thoughts? :)

Sometimes I wish a certain event had never happened to me but I'm not sure that is the same as regret. Maybe it is. (shrug)

In Judaism there is a thought/teaching that God showed us (in our soul form) our entire life before we were born and we could choose to accept or decline this life. I know this is a hard thing to get our brain around because it deals with the very core of freewill but if we didn't choose our life then do we not have grounds to be angry at God for doing this to us? If we did choose this life, what good did we see in it that made it worth choosing before it was erased from our memory and we were born into our human bodies?

I realize that this will sound rather cliche but I am so serious here. I have been trying to look for the good in my life on the premise that there is something here worth choosing. Maybe I just don't understand what is meant by regret??

When one looks in the dictionary for regret it describes a word that I think is impossible to live without experiencing. Can one really keep forging ahead in our lives without experiencing regret? Regret is defined as:

v. tr.

1. To feel sorry, disappointed, or distressed about.
2. To remember with a feeling of loss or sorrow; mourn.

v. intr.
To feel regret.

1. A sense of loss and longing for someone or something gone.
2. A feeling of disappointment or distress about something that one wishes could be different.
3. regrets A courteous expression of regret, especially at having to decline an invitation.

Why do we tend to view regret in a negative way? Without having or feeling regret would we still be able to feel things like compassion, empathy, sympathy or even forgiveness? Maybe it's just our way of perceiving or looking at regret that screws us up and not the actual experience of regret."
jim said:
"Hope: A lot of good things said here already (I really like Bobbie spoke unto you and am glad the two of appear to have a bond present to discuss the issue). I can only speak out of my own experience, of course, and say to you that, in looking back, I often remark how glad I am to have lived. That does not mean at all, however, that I do not regret greatly many things along the way. In Christ, you learn to live in the present and give the past to Him. I think if it were any different, we would take Grace for granted, swell up in our ego, and just begin all over again. In truth, the brain is but a God-built computer and it retains all in spite of what our spirit decides to alter along the way. That doesn't mean I have to let the brain take me into gloom and despair. I don't have to live in the thoughts that pass through, nor in mistakes and stumbles yet made. Grace is more than a word; forgiveness is more than something I do for myself. Find His well, ma'am, and fall into it. We can't live there, either, but it does give us strength for the journey...... "

daisymarie said:
"I have read this twice.
I am thinking about this.
I will let you know what I think as I wade through it.
Thanks for the ponder fodder."
Another friend who I'd love to see have a blog said:
"Such good food for thought, in the post and in the comments, at a time when I seem to be dining on much less savoury fare. Regrets and self-loathing... I think I get what Bobbie is saying but I have to give that some thought. I do like the colour idea, Hope.

In the meantime, I look again to that well."
beth said:
"In my life, properly processed regret led to acceptance. My willingness to let go of my expectations of myself (and others) to be perfect, stain-free, sin-free was the key.

There are many, many things I have done that hurt others. I am saddened by the pain I caused by my choices. I do REGRET the pain I caused; but I ACCEPT that I did those things, and I understand that it was the best I could do at the time. I have wallowed in self-loathing, but began to see that as the ulimate form of selfishness. I can offer no healing when I am absorbed in the negativity of the past.

You mention having no regrets possibly taking away from those who lived on the other side; that is something which you cannot control. You will forever live with the consequence of sin, but you cannot live in bondage to someone else because you have hurt them. Neither the offended party nor yourself honor God in that.

Hope, I reread some of your posts to become more familiar with your journey. They offer me so much encouragement. Maybe you could re-visit yourself through some of your writing, and be reminded of the process. Your baby steps add up to something huge, a life that honors God because you are consistently moving towards Him. It may feel like one step up, two steps back, but it's progress."

I'm still trying to wrap my head around these incredible comments. I think my major issue with one day saying I have no regrets is that I worry that it makes light of the incredible damage I did to my kids. That's what I need to reconcile. I can forgive myself, I can accept God's forgiveness. I can also embrace their forgiveness. But to say I have no regrets makes me feel like I am dismissing with a wave of the hand, what happened. And I'm not talking about the every day human mothering mistakes. I'm talking bruises on toddlers, verbal abuse and all out rages where my kids were terrified by my behaviour. That's what I stumble over when thinking on "I do not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it." We are all adults now and as a family we talk about the past. I have no problem admitting my mistakes. Maybe I'm stumbling over a word (regret) instead of seeing the whole picture when it comes to that part in the Big Book about the promises?

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Seventh Day

Seven days apart
another injection
and freezing
in the syringe
as I anticipated
a sting of pain
to relieve another.

I jokingly told a friend
the injection
was like having
a 5 second contraction
And who, after all
couldn't handle that?

As the needle went in
I thought
'let me rephrase that.'
More like a 30 second contraction.
And thank God there
was only one.

and relief
and relief

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Red and Blue make Purple

I had planned on painting a picture to illustrate my thoughts before I wrote this post. Doing so would mean I'd have to clear off the dining room table first and well, let's just say here I am sans painting.

This morning on bloglines I read Deb's post in which she quotes the promises. Aha. The very thing that's been occupying my brain for the past three or four days. For there's this sentence within them that I almost always stumble over.
"We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it."

Recently I heard someone in recovery say she had no regrets.
For the briefest moment it felt like I lived in that reality too and then the clouds closed over again and I was left for the umpteenth time wondering how that could ever be possible.

In mulling this over the other day I came up with a few ideas.
I saw my past as a swirl of colour.
Drawing on my Grade One thick fit-in-my-fist crayons knowledge I remembered that mixing blue and red created a new colour, purple. And how I often want to only recognize the new colours in my life as if the red and blue never even existed.

I wondered if liking who I am today has to precede having no regrets.
Or is it the other way around?
Does the degree of regret equal the degree of self loathing?
Does having no regrets mean I regret the experience without letting the experience define me?
Is having no regrets like embracing the blues and reds that made the purple of today possible? I not only embrace the new colour but the ones that came together to create it?
Does having no regrets take anything away from the people who lived on the other side of the regret?
Does making amends erase regrets?
Am I missing something by trying to figure this out?

These days I think I'm closer to embracing that who I am today is a direct result of the whole of my life experience to this point.
And I am closer to not only embracing but embracing with warmth the person I am today.
I've recognized that forgiving myself is necessary and a good step.
I could list specifics here of the things I do regret but somehow I don't think that's the point.
I welcome any thoughts you may have on this.

Friday, May 18, 2007


It's been a rough week.
Yesterday I had long acting freezing
injected into both shoulders.
Done as a hopeful alternative
to narcotics
to manage my pain.
I'm feeling too emotionally fragile
to risk scooching all my addictive
behaviour into a new one altogether.
Food, sex and drink are enough already,
don't you think?
Last night was my first pain free sleep
in longer than I can remember.
I slept four hours without even moving.
That is a record.
This morning my worst shoulder feels as if someone
pummeled it though.
I don't want to go back to the drawing board
on this one.
If the freezing works I'll have to get
weekly injections.
But less ouch than
the status quo.

Still with me?

My favourite word is
But it feels like it's

Either I'm on such a huge pity pot
that to get off it
is to fall a long ways.
Or I'm facing reality
and wish it was a
mirage instead.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Being My Gina

Ragamuffin Diva's blog is one of my favourite places to visit.

Her latest post was just what I needed tonight.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Monday, Monday

Monday night. Lord willing, when I wake up tomorrow, I will have six months abstinence from sexual addiction. That feels like a gift and a miracle. I wish the struggle had disappeared with this short passage of time. The energy it takes to be present in this moment feels excruciating. Sometimes I feel pissed off that this journey is without an instant presto prayer that erases the human struggle. And still other days I am grateful we live in this moment only. Hard to please aren't I?

In hashing out life during my session with Fr. Charlie today, I was left with the thought once again to accept where I am on the path. I told him that while I was thankful not to be carrying around the shit load of shame that used to be part of my sexual addiction neither was I happy. The energy it is taking to fight my addictions combined with the energy it takes to deal with my chronic illness feels like too much these days. But neither issue is going anywhere. So deal with them both I must. But I am so tired of doing that. Accepting what I cannot change is not going well these days.

I'd like some peace in the midst of it all.

"O Lord, I do not know what to ask of You.
You alone know my true needs.
You love me more than I myself know how to love.
Help me to see my real needs which are concealed from me.
I do not dare to ask either for a cross or for consolation.
I can only wait on You. My heart is open to You.
Visit me and help me, for the sake of Your mercy.
Strike me, and heal me; cast me down and raise me up.
I worship in silence Your holy will, and Your unsearchable ways.
I offer myself as a sacrifice to You.
I have no desire than to fulfill Your will.
Teach me to pray. Pray, You Yourself in me.
~ Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow

Saturday, May 12, 2007


I found the quote below from Internet Monk who found it here.
It's a thought provoking read. Here is part of the post:
If there was no such thing
as Christianity,
I would have to appreciate books simply for the good writing.
I‘d have to socialize with my community rather than the people in my church.
I’d have to use common sense and wisdom rather than using fleeces and ‘sensings’ to make decisions.
So, I wouldn’t have had to get so stressed about missing God’s will if I chose to buy that red car instead of that blue one.
I wouldn’t be able to watch a movie looking for anti-Christian themes and stuff.
I couldn’t say ‘I’m not responsible for the wrongs of my past because I’ve repented.’

If Christianity was not an option to me,
I’d have no option but to enjoy music simply for the music,
not for the message or for the worship experience.
I would have to love my family, my relatives more than my church family.

If I couldn’t be a Christian,
I couldn’t call a non-Christian my enemy, because I would be one of them myself.
I’d have to obey the doctor’s orders rather than go by faith.
I wouldn’t feel compelled to turn my eyes away from the topless statue, ‘Venus’, Instead, I would feel compelled to admire its artistic beauty and grace.
I would not have religious reasons to think I am above the guy I work with.
I wouldn’t pretend that I don’t like beer.

If there was no such thing as Christianity,
I’d have to learn to have the beauty of nature inspire me.
I couldn’t have sentimental reasons to favour Israel over the Arabs and would have to let my opinion on that issue be based on what is fair.
I couldn’t break fellowship with another Christian who doesn’t agree with my view on doctrine.
I’d have no choice but to give due consideration to the arguments of scientists.
I would dress up the kids for Halloween thinking only of the fun of it all.
The faith healer wouldn’t have performed the fake ‘make the leg grow’ miracle in Jesus name.

If I couldn’t have been a Christian,
I would have been sent to a pyschiatrist for the time I made that weird, strange outburst in Church that was explained to be supernatural.
I would have been able to attend the P.T.A. meeting when I went to the Church business meeting.
I could not have told the girl I wanted to go out with that it was God’s will that we dated but instead would have had to tell her that I really wouldn’t accept ‘no’ as an answer.
I would have visited my neighbour who was in the hospital with cancer when I told the family I was praying for him.
I wouldn’t’ve felt obligated to view that extreme fanatic as a role model for myself. I would have seen him as an unbalanced individual.
I couldn’t have told people that God spoke to me about an issue. I’d have to abandon my psuedo-spirituality and false humility and tell people that I thought of it myself.

If there had been no such thing as Christianity,
The crusades - the ‘Holy’ wars, would not have happened.
People wouldn’t make a fuss about those Harry Potter books.
People wouldn’t read those Left Behind books.
Tele-Evangelists wouldn’t push people down on the floor.
I couldn’t say that the devil made me do it.

That’s the way it could have
and would have been
If there was no such thing.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


From my journal, May 7, 2007:
"A new day. I've been laying here reading and thinking for over an hour already. Trying to piece together some observations I've had about myself. Stuff I'd like to hash out with Fr. Charlie when I see him next week.

Detached. I think I live much of this life detached from it. When I listened to the women at the retreat share their stories there was little or no emotional response in me. Others, lots of others, were teary, but not me. And when one women, who I'd had lunch with, who shared with me how healed she is from the abuse she'd suffered, well, when she sobbed through her story I didn't believe her anymore. No one can be healed, have victory and still cry like that. That's what I thought. And I judged her for it and judged myself, too. Victory. I figured out how come I hate that word. To me it equals perfection and how dare anyone think they are perfect.

I was laying here thinking of all that's happened since youngest son moved home - how gracious God has been and I realized I feel detached from it now, too. Dismissive. As if that's behind me, on to the next thing. And I worry that I'm treating lightly what is holy.

Twice lately I've had experiences that have bypassed my detachment. I wish I knew how to tap into that place. I'm sure I'd be healthier for it.

At the retreat Fr. Claude did sign language for a little chorus and watching him moved me to tears. I could have sobbed. He was so connected - his movements and his feelings. There was no disconnect there. He was signing a love song to God as if no one else was there:

"Father, our refuge, with arms open wide.
Your love is our strength and our guide."

Several times over he signed the song as we sang it. He was in a different place, a place of intimacy between him and God in that moment and the beauty of it did me in.

Then this past Saturday I was looking for a Mother's Day card for my mom. I hate looking for cards for her. They all sound phony and far removed from our story. But it had been important enough to me to get a card to her on time that doing so had been my motivating factor for the trip to town. And I picked up one card after another, feeling cynical, because the cards make motherhood into an idol, into something it can never deliver. Then I picked up one that basically said thank you for all you did while I was becoming me. And the tears sprung to the surface in an instant. So much so that I still felt them as I walked down the mall to mail the card.

And so I wonder what it would be like to be able to tap into that place where tears live, without it having to take me by surprise.

What am I missing by being so detached?"

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Waiting At The Eastern Gate Still

Today is the third anniversary of my brother-in-law's death. Somehow as the years pass it gets harder, not easier to grasp that he really is gone. If you could hold up dearest one gently in prayer today I thank you. Dearest one has 10 siblings and this one, whose life and death we remember today, was the one closest to his heart. Below is a post which I wrote one year ago.

"It was only fitting this morning to see the odd snow flake intermingled with the rain. Two years ago today my brother-in-law was killed in a freakish accident. It was the day before Mother's Day and I answered the phone to hear my husband's great aunt say, "Dearest one better get over here because his brother is laying dead on my driveway." By the time we got there snow was beginning to cover his body. It still makes no sense that the police let every family member cross the yellow ribbon barrier to make their way to the house and in doing so, walk right past his covered up body. There were several days before we knew his death was most likely accidental, not murder. The man responsible for his death is still awaiting trial. I want to shake him and tell him that all I really want is for him to sober up and not make brother-in-law's death a waste. I know this man, a friend of my brother-in-law, carries much pain within him every day of his life. I cannot fathom the depth of grace he must understand before he can reconcile himself with what happened.

Mother's Day was spent at the funeral home. All the siblings and their spouses who lived in the community gathered with dearest one's parents to plan. That 8 children, their spouses, my brother-in-law's partner, his ex wife and his sons could all gather and plan without fighting, no disputing, just calmly and kindly plan is really a miracle. I wonder why we can grasp what is important at the time of death but are often unable to do it in life.

People were so kind. We had been on welfare and were using the foodbank for about 7 months when he died. Stretched to the limit emotionally, spiritually and every which way we had already seen that when people give of themselves they were sacrificing. Whether it was an encouraging word, a bag of groceries, paying our rent or simply making sure we could find the strength to face another day we knew they were sacrificing. They could have been doing something else with their time, their resources, their very being. They could have walked the other way until our life's circumstances changed.

I stood before the picture of Jesus on my wall that day and with tears streaming down my face said, "God is good." It felt like the words were being pulled out of me one by one. I thought of all the times I sat in church and heard the congregation respond to the statement, "God is good" with "all the time". I don't think there was once that I ever believed it. I thought to say it meant I had to like everything that happened in my life and I knew I didn't. God is with us in our circumstances but is not the author of them.

I've been sitting here for ten minutes trying to decide what to write about my brother-in-law so that you can get a glimpse of who he was to me. Writing him a letter seems to be the only way I can gather my thoughts.

Dear brother who loved and knew my dearest one like no one else ever will,

What I would give to look you in the eyes one more time. To hear your gravelly voice. To see your smile. To even have you say for the umpteenth time that I was pissed off at you because you were drinking again. To hang up on you because you woke me up at 5 am. I wish for the chance to be graced with being able to say I believed in you and that I loved you when all I wanted to do was beat your chest because you were numbing the pain.

I know you got grace. I wish I could have honoured that in you instead of being threatened by it. Accepted you as is. There were times, especially when you were drinking, that you spoke the truth so clearly that I flinched.

When people drink they become unpredictable. I hated how my heart speeded up when you showed up drunk. Maybe the problem was that every ounce of pharisee within me came to the surface when I saw you. Maybe I couldn't stand to see myself so clearly so I projected it all onto you. You were always a no bullshit kind of guy. When what came out of my mouth and what was in my spirit didn't match you called me on it every time, sometimes without saying a word. There was an authenticity within you that's rare to find in people. The thing I was most uncomfortable about around you was that being in your presence showed me at a gut level that I was wearing so many masks and you knew it.

I sit here and think about the time we went to court with you. The look on your face as they led you away to jail. How scared and trapped your eyes looked. The tears of the young boy behind us who had a glimpse into his future if he didn't make different choices. When sentencing you the judge was speaking to the hearts of all those young people there that day too.

I think of you every time I get up and the first thing out of my mouth is not "good morning." I remember how I came out of the bedroom one morning and started in on oldest son, telling him this and that. You looked at me and said, "You could at least say good morning first."

I think about the time you came over and we spent the evening around the campfire reading the bible. My big headedness because you were so impressed I knew so many verses and where to find them. I could spell grace real well but living it was another thing. You saw God in places where I didn't even know to look. You got grace. It was all those messages in your head from childhood that said God could only be found in one religion that fucked you up again and again.

I had fuzzy boundaries when it came to you. I'm not sure I would be any better at it today. It's one thing to have fuzzy boundaries, it's another to be able to love the one who continually shows you that you do simply by being themselves. I tend to avoid people who make me aware of those places in my life where I stumble and fall. Being loving to you was awful hard. Funny, I never felt like loving me was hard for you.

I wanted to see your sobriety stick. I know now that you wanted it too, more than any of us. I'm sorry I judged you so harshly for numbing your pain in the only way you knew how. You remind me to hold the pain of others to the Light, not beat it with my fists and stomp on it as if it doesn't matter, as if it doesn't enter into the equation of their actions.

The last time you talked to dearest one before you died you told him to remember your agreement that whoever got to the Eastern gate first would wait for the other one. I know you wait in anticipation.


Sunday, May 06, 2007

Throwing My Back Out

"I used to have eyes in the back of my head, she said, but I kept throwing my back out & my chiropractor made me stop." ~ via
Every morning I get an email from Story People and this one made me laugh out loud. I need to laugh more. In the chronic pain/fatigue group I'm in, the facilitator told us that a good belly laugh has positive effects on our immune system for 24 hours. My immune system can use all the help it can get right now. Seven years ago I had Bell's Palsy and it never completely went away. Eventually I came to see it as my body's alarm system. When the left side of my face feels like I've been to the dentist, except the freezing hasn't come out yet, my body is trying to tell me something. Like attend to better self care. Or no outside activities. Or time for a good belly laugh.

It's been a difficult week. Basically a no spoons week. I tried to listen to my body and that meant sleeping a lot and next to no activity. Only daughter was home for a visit and that was good. We both wished she had had one more day here before she had to drive back home. That was a great improvement over her time here during Christmas holidays.

Yesterday I went, dragging my feet all the way, to my AA meeting. The left side of my face felt like cement. On the way to town I told myself that I really didn't need to go to the meeting. Then I started making deals with myself. If I did go I would pass if called on to speak, unless there were less than 5 people there. Around in my head went one deal after another. Eventually I recognized that the deals I were making with myself sounded no different than the deals one makes when they are still drinking. I asked myself why I was thinking like that. Tears threatened to overflow when I realized I was feeling vulnerable. So vulnerable. The kind of vulnerable where tears would turn to sobbing if I opened my mouth to speak. Tears would spill over if someone had a kind word. What I really wanted to do was isolate myself until I felt more in control. I find it really hard not to judge myself when I get like that. And I assume every other living soul, especially other alkies, are going to judge me too. I wondered if I was simply trying too hard, if that was possible in recovery and if what I needed to do was let go and let God instead. When I admitted to myself that I would rather isolate than go to a meeting I knew I had to get my butt in a chair at the meeting. Isolation was what I excelled at when I nearly lost my sobriety last year. Going to the meeting was an act of my will. It didn't really matter how I was feeling at that point.

There were more than 5 people at my home group meeting. Three times that amount. And most of them were people I'd never seen before. I told myself that every single one was an angel sent by God to remind me that I wasn't alone and that I couldn't walk this journey alone. I felt like God was having a belly laugh of His own while grabbing me by the shoulders and giving them a squeeze of reassurance.

I had reconciled by the time I got there that if I was called on to speak I was going to share how vulnerable I felt and the whole head trip I took on the way to town. But I wasn't asked and instead got to listen to people share of their strength, hope and experience. I was reminded to use my energy to work on real problems, not the imaginary ones in my head. That was the nugget of truth I took with me as I left the meeting.

I did see my chiropractor not too long ago. And while he didn't tell me to stop using the eyes in the back of my head, he did tell me I was a mess and that I needed to come back for more adjustments.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

On The Pity Pot

"Is it really truth that we seek, or just a sweet enough lie to settle our minds so we can sleep at night?"~Lou

It seems these days that I often go around thinking to myself, "oh, for fuck's sake." Sometimes it ends up being a quasi prayer as in "what the hell do you have for me next, God? Can't you see I'm on a coffee break?"

I've written about youngest son's girlfriend before. They recently celebrated two years together and considering they are now 16 and 19, two years is a long time. I knew the proper thing to do was to say, 'congratulations' but I just didn't want to. How can I say congrats about a relationship I still resent?

There's something about her that I don't like in myself. I can't put my finger on it yet and a little part of me hopes I never do. Some days it's hard to figure out the difference between working my recovery program and navel gazing. Some days I want the hard work chalked up to navel gazing so I can avert my eyes and the easy stuff to be classified as working my program.

Yesterday youngest son came to me and wondered, out of curiousity, he said, why I didn't like his girlfriend. This was the second time in less than a month that the topic was brought up. After a convoluted conversation I told dearest one later on in the day that the next time I was going to say, "I don't know." That was most likely closer to the truth than what I ended up telling him.

Tonight I spoke with my sponsor about this situation and she encouraged me to take an honest look at it. That when someone pushes our buttons like that there is a reason and the reason is found within us not within the other person. I no sooner hung up the phone from talking to her when youngest son pulled me in a room and said he wanted to talk to me. Actually his girlfriend wanted to talk to me. The topic of the day was once again why didn't I like her. Oh, for fuck's sake.

I was honest and the conversation ended with her walking out of the room in tears. Pressure. I feel pressure to be someone I'm not. To be somewhere else on the journey than I find myself. And what's bothering me the most right now is that with this girl in my life I am faced on a regular basis with my inability to love her. I end up feeling then like my whole Christian walk is a facade.

I ended up telling her that something in her triggers something in me. I told her it wasn't her fault, it was my problem and that I was working on it. I'm sick of working on me. The last AA meeting I went to I heard people talk about how they didn't take themselves so seriously as they did when they first sobered up and I left thinking I must then still be in the kindergarten of sobriety and I felt ashamed.

Several years ago when I was facilitating an adult Sunday school class there was this man in the group that rubbed me the wrong way. He disagreed with the course material and he voiced his opposition at every turn. It was exhausting to lead a class with him in it. Eventually he opted to leave the class. I gave the briefest sigh of relief before I remembered that those who rub me the wrong way are my greatest teachers. I missed a chance to learn from do some soul searching as to what it was in him that I didn't like in me. I went to him and told him as much. He didn't come back to class and I have often regretted the whole situation.

But do I regret it enough to step up to the plate when given another chance? Because here I am again, same scenario,different people. Much more at stake. How many times have I wished youngest son would just break up with her and poof! the stress of her and my relationship would be gone. I wouldn't have to do the hard work of sorting through what it is in her that I don't like in me. But I know if I turn the other way from this opportunity I will have missed out on something. I hate having to type that. I want to be a sixth grader again and point fingers and say it's all her fault. If I was still drinking that's exactly what I'd do. I'd put my hand up and tell God my excuse for not looking inward, for not doing the hard work. And while everything within me wants to do that, drink or not, I know better.

Before he nodded off to sleep tonight dearest one prayed outloud for me. I didn't want him to. I was looking up at the stars in the sky as he prayed and what came to me was that I was to keep my heart open to God in all this. And while I was tempted to say "oh, for fuck's sake" - I didn't.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Looking In The Mirror

"Suffering is a face-to-face encounter with something you don't want to face. It's your resistance against truth. Against reality. Against the very truth that would liberate you if you would only face it. Suffering is nature's attempt to help us face illusions we don't even suspect we harbour......

Most people claim they want a cure, but what they really want is a painkiller. They want relief from the pressure: 'Give me back my health, my good looks, my youth.' They don't really want to escape the kindergarten of life, the baby playpen. All they want is someone to repair their broken toys."
~ J. Francis Stroud, S.J. in Praying Naked: The spirituality of Anthony de Mello