Being smitten by a path, a direction, an intuited possibility, no matter the territory it crosses, we can feel as if life has found us at last... Following this path through increasing levels of seriousness, we reach a certain threshold where our freedom to choose seems to disappear and is replaced by an understanding that we were made for the world in a very particular way and that this way of being is at bottom nonnegotiable. Like the mountain or the sky, it just is. It is as if we choose and choose until there is actually no choice at all... the only question is whether you will respond, whether you will not turn away, whether you will turn toward it – whether, in effect, you will become a dedicated spirit.
— David Whyte from “The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self & Relationship
I almost titled this piece humility, but then I thought you might not read it. Nobody in recovery likes to talk about humility. It’s a baffling subject for most of us, and often confused with shame and humiliation. But, to get to discernment, I had to understand a bit about humility; being in right relationship with God.
Yesterday was the Primary Election for the nation, and two of my friends were running for office. I followed them, despite the fact that I no longer do politics. One race in particular was a race for Probate Court Judge, and is nonpartisan. I was a colleague and High School friend of the woman who is advancing to the general election in November, and she has run a very good campaign.
The problem is, it brought up memories of my bid for Circuit Court Judge in 2002; bittersweet, because I lost the race, but won so much more. I was a tad jealous of my friend last night, and wondered what my life would have been like if I had won that race, and became a Judge. I decided to run over the course of one weekend, and had no campaign team, plan or volunteers. I felt called to it, and the incumbent judge at that time epitomized what I thought was wrong with the bench then. He was also an entrenched, conservative man, appointed by the Governor, and I was a home town political nobody. My campaign drew a host of powerful and talented volunteers; we had a hip marketing brand and strategy and I received the local labor endorsement; he did not. I still lost. Today, I’m glad I did.
Back then, I was still looking for a place to feel important. While I believe I would have made a good judge, I wasn’t ready to stay healthy while I would have done it. And, I did become a judge in a way after all, about myself, and what is right and true for me. I didn’t learn that; I lived it into being because I stopped protecting myself by trying to be right all the time. I let myself fail, even though it hurt.
Several Healing House women shared moving tributes of their growth with me last night. They also spoke about being afraid as they moved on; one to take a new job in another city, and another to reunite with their children. It’s what we live for; these success stories and they bless me so when they tell me such things.Some caution lurked behind my eyes though, as they spoke about choosing to believe that everything would be okay. They looked scared when they said it, not confident. It’s a great idea in theory, but I finally spoke up and said that I wasn’t sure that everything would be okay. In fact, it might be dangerous to attach ourselves to some results that are beyond our reach, and a day away. What I knew for sure now, is that I would be okay, no matter what happened. That is because I have lived through heartbreak and loss and disappointment in sobriety, and the obsession to drink has not returned. It is a gift of grace and more. It is work to stay balanced and connected to God. But it is so worth it. God restores whatever I feel I have temporarily lost, especially when I think I can’t possibly live without it. It’s a state of being that I return to, and a pearl of great price.
I see things differently, and from a broader perspective. Most things that I have “lost” were really blessings later down the road.
The Buddha said something to that effect:
There is something good in all seeming failures. You are not to see that now. Time will reveal it. Be patient.
By Swami Sivananda