Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Keep Going

If you're going through hell, keep going. ~Winston Churchill

Defeat may serve as well as victory to shake the soul and let the glory out. ~Edwin Markham

I have a friend who is learning how to live a life of sobriety.  He is new at it; he's only been out of rehab for a few weeks.  His new life is not easy.  Even a small lapse in judgement can have catastrophic results.  Discouragement is compounded by past mistakes.  There is no escape in sobriety; one must face demons by daylight and fight.  Fight.  Fight.

Sometimes I wish that I could trade places with him for one day so that he could experience a day free of the longing to escape into a drink -- so that he could experience "easy" for one day.  It is not easy for an alcoholic to be sober.  It is possible, after treatment, to make the right choices and to see the pitfalls and to plan for them and to attend the meetings and to ask for help and to keep away from triggers and to take thoughts captive and to and to and to and to...

Possible?  Yes.  

Difficult?  Hell Yes.

One of my church friends has been sober for eighteen years; he has a beautiful wife, amazing kids and a great life.  But, he has told me, there are still days when he wants a drink.  Still.  After eighteen years of sobriety, he is still tempted.  He says recovery is a process.  A long process.  And one is never "fixed" or "cured"; one is always in recovery.

It's Christmas time. Almost December.  I have two interesting, insightful parents.  I have four incredible women who consider me both friend AND sister.  I have two brothers-in-law who love my sisters well.  I have a funny, creative, and endearing niece who thinks I'm "crazy, but in the good way" and another little niece who's joyfully expected to arrive in early February.  I have a job I enjoy.  I am able to pay my bills.  I have students who encourage me professionally.  I am a little bit fat but somehow healthy.  I have a church family that supports and loves me. I have friends who help me laugh and allow me to cry.  I have a warm place to lay my head at night and as much electricity and hot water as I need.  I have a reliable car and the resources to put gas in it.  I have books to read, movies to watch, Christmas trees to enjoy (two of them!) and presents to put under the tree for my family.

It is possible for me to live without alcohol or drugs?  Yes.  

Is it difficult?  Hell no.

And for that realization, I am truly and profoundly thankful.

I need to pray faithfully for those around me who are battling demons and facing Goliath-sized foes, and I need to get some perspective.  Rejoice in my wounds and brokenness and difficulties -- because they are so small, in retrospect.  So, so small.  And God doesn't waste pain; He has been my faithful bridge over every moment of it.   

When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something's suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful. ~Barbara

Praise the bridge that carried you over. ~George Colman

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Hope of the Candied Bits

Sister A and I discovered Starbucks gingerbread loaf slices over the Thanksgiving holiday.  Starbucks garnishes the frosting with bits of candied fruit and the result? Surprisingly delightful.

Today, I ordered a piece of holiday gingerbread and savored each bite... but I saved those candied-fruit-laden-smooth-frosting bites for the end.  I like to believe that life may be like a Starbucks gingerbread loaf -- lots of anticipated goodness, but surprisingly enjoyable "best" moments when you may have already stopped looking for them.  Here's to believing my surprise, look-it's-candied-orange-bits days are still ahead of me.

Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops... at all. ~Emily Dickinson

So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf... Hebrews 6:16-20a.

Be My Zamboni

If you want to make your dreams come true, the first thing you have to do is wake up. ~J.M. Power 

One of the secrets of life is to make stepping stones out of stumbling blocks. ~Jack Penn 

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. ~Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854 

2012 has been yucky. Painful and yucky and blech. Heartbreak and heartache and sad endings and deep hurt and painfuldarkplaces. BLECH.  But *he* got married a week ago; The Worst Year is almost over.

Blechy, yucky 2012, I am not sad to see you go.
You crushed my dreams and killed my song.  You have been a beast to overcome.

2013, I welcome you as the Zamboni to my wrecked and icy mess of a heart.
Let's do this new thing.  :)

**I like to make my New Year's appeals a good month before, so that the New Year will be sure to see them. **