Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Living Large

Recently one of my sons and his wife lost an unborn child. She chose to go through labor and delivery, and I had offered to come. My son was then trying to get back home from maybe 10 states away, and I was more than a thousand miles away from either of them. My daughter-in-law's sister called and passed on the message that my daughter-in-law did want me there, just didn't know how to say so. I made plane reservations and flew out before seven the next morning. It was absolutely the right thing to do, despite reservations from a family member. I remained abstinent through the trip. I must admit, though, I've struggled with abstinence in the week since I returned, but today I'm abstinent and will be the rest of today and day by day after this.

While I was there, my son had a second interview for a dream job. He felt his presentation was flat--and no wonder! His emotions were drained dry. He just called, though, to say he'll start working in that job in less than three weeks! And he and his wife won't be ten states away from each other except on exceedingly rare occasions, if then.

With some friends I had taken tentative steps in a new and exciting direction a couple of months before I found OA in December, 2006, but that enterprise has exploded. We're putting together anthologies, from soliciting the writing through selecting, editing, typesetting, and distribution, and our second will hit the streets by next week. We've turned our thoughts to the third, though, reading submissions.

The phrase that comes to mind on my new life is that ending the OA promise: "beyond our wildest dreams."

I lay in bed last night listening to an mp3 by Don P., and in an almost awake moment heard some aid in learning to follow the 11th step sought-after knowledge, "praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out." I followed the instructions and today I've been free from a recent lapse in both food choices and wasting my time with computer games. It worked. Now, I'll have to listen to it again to figure out what it was that worked! I'll let you know. Promise.

I've realized through working the steps one of my fears was actually the fear of success, and I'm now not so embarrassed about people telling me, "I don't know how you do everything you do." They've said that for years, but I knew I was piddling my life away, dabbling in writing. Now I still get told people are amazed but it's okay now, because I'm amazed right along with them!

I'm living a life large beyond my wildest dreams!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Quieting the Storm

Consider Matthew 8:23-27.

A woman I sponsor mentioned she anticipates storms in her area of the country today. That set me to thinking. Storms in large part are a matter of attitude--no matter which kind of storms we're talking about. When I went to graduate school in Nashville after growing up in the area and time about which Elmer Kelton wrote his classic The Time It Never Rained I was delighted that it sprinkled or rained almost daily in that part of Tennessee. I have a friend who dearly loves to sit out and watch the violent rainstorms we do occasionally have, though she was in a house a tornado skipped over when she was about five. I do love a good storm, though I don't like having a dog too big to easily get under (and our from!) the bed who cowers under it when thunder abounds.

But the storms we have to deal with in OA are those internal storms, and they're all a matter of mind over matter as well--or actually of getting your own mind out of it and turning it over to your higher power who quiets the storms within. Somebody I'm around often has a habit of saying to me, "God damn you!" Yesterday, my response was inspired. In a much calmer voice than the comment made, I answered, "God bless you!" You know, it had a much more quieting effect than those times when I've answered fire with fire. I've never invited damnation on anybody, but when that same person called me a b___ earlier in the long weekend, I called him a different "b" word impugning his mother. That one spattered out rather quickly, too, but not with the same quieting the storm effect.

Jesus' disciples were amazed. ""What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!"

Miracles happen with the 12 steps, too:
If you persist, remarkable things will happen. When we look back, we realize
that the things which came to us when we put ourselves in God's hands were
better than anything we could have planned. Follow the dictates of a Higher
Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world, no matter what
your present circumstances! (AA Big Book, page 100)

God bless you! May your storms be delightful rain or lovely shows of power, but may your serenity prevail no matter what your present circumstances!