March 23, 2020
Beth and I attended our first meeting using Zoom on Saturday, which happened to be with members from our Home Group, Early Risers of Los Osos, CA. It was a blessing to see and hear people share about how they are managing the journey one day at a time. I heard a lot of gratitude. Once again, I am reminded of one of the greatest gifts our wonderful program(s) offers, which is a sense of belonging to something that is truly a power greater than ourselves.
Quite a few people mentioned being able to witness things in their immediate surroundings and commented on what they were observing. The obvious came to mind, which is, that all of us have had a shift on our daily lives. Our routines are different, and our comfort zones stretched. Step work in recovery was my first introduction about how making a conscious choice to change and taking action to do so produced an altered comfort zone. Initially, step work is uncomfortable, which is to say it’s working! With time, each day sober became a vehicle to be more present with reality, like it or not. Most important, sobriety makes getting to solutions in a more relaxed state move from seemingly impossible, to hopeful, to probable, to intuitive, at least on good days.
So, when I hear people share about gratitude, it helps me refocus. It’s like receiving an unexpected gift. We watch people rise above a self-absorbed projection of doom and gloom to a vison of hope ultimately developing desire to take in more of their new-found lives. Over time we become part of a spiritual axiom that through seeing and appreciating growth in others, it means we are growing and changing too. Otherwise, we couldn’t recognize it. I get to look at life through a different lens; the lenses of helpful input from others.
A while ago, I attended a series of talks by Fr. Tom Weston. The theme caught my attention immediately; “Grace Builds Upon Nature.” My life partner Beth grew up in Paradise, CA. It is the town that was destroyed by the “Camp Fire” in 2018. We went to visit the area last fall and saw the grim sites of barren lots where homes had once stood. Beth grew up at her parent’s small motel. There was internal sadness in seeing half of the buildings where her home had been gone, including Beth’s room. Beth walked around the property collecting rocks, and I could see the memories flash by on her face as she walked the area. Suddenly, two young deer darted out of the foliage near Beth, startled by her presence. How did their mother survive the fire? I began to notice all around town there were seedling trees, new shrubs and blossoming flowers. People were actively working on rebuilding projects. Then came a mega bonus. We came to Ponderosa Elementary school and saw several walls with pictures of pets. I felt apprehensive! Instead of sad information dominating the landscape, the comments were mostly stories of pets who had been found and reunited with their families. How could they have survived the holocaust?
Well, here’s how. God’s Grace Cannot Be Stopped! Whether seeing a newcomer’s growth or life blossom from ashes, Grace Builds Upon Nature! We reawaken in sobriety! Along with experiencing the gift of sobriety, I’m reminded that it comes a responsibility to pass it on!
In the evening, I was talking with Lucy in Australia on Whats App. She told me about seeing pictures about a phenomenon occurring in the canals of Venice that has been absent for a very long time. It shows dolphins playing in the Venice Canals and Swans returning to relax in the waters normally buzzing with activity. In China people are seeing blue skies because the pollution they have lived with for years is interrupted for now. This morning, at our Zoom meeting, Anthony shared from his home in Oakhurst. He talked about seeing snow on the mountains and deer in his front yard. Someone else mentioned that the Ozone layer must be smiling because it is getting to breathe and hopefully regenerate. Once again, perfect examples of Grace Building Upon Nature. God’s Grace Cannot Be Stopped!
A couple of days ago, I posted a quote from Mary Ramos, which I want to repeat. She says, “The opposite of Addiction is not Sobriety, rather it is connection.” Our disease mis-informs our minds that we can do “it”, whatever “it” is, on our own. I vote for the Grace of more connection in this time of readjustment with the hope that it becomes an addition to our Nature. It seems like a good next thing to do.