Friday, December 31, 2010

Always New Things to Learn

It's weird but I've learned a lot about Ron after he died.  Wish I could tell him.  For example, I learned that that glare he got that I thought meant he was angry, really meant he was feeling emotional and trying to hold it in.  Unfortunately, I reacted to the anger I suspected instead of the aching heart he probably was feeling.  I just discovered something else:  for the past several days I've been sick enough to stay in bed and just get up to get apple juice and lie back down.  Today I felt better and began to gather up laundry, change the cat's water, etc.  Since I was more aware of my surroundings, I noticed that cabinet doors were open all over the place.  Apparently, I didn't have the energy to close them.  I used to get mad at Ron for leaving cabinet doors open - attributing it to laziness.  Hmmmm.  Probably it was just an indication that he was very sick.  Hmmm.  Still learning about love and misunderstandings.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

I've been to the Christmas Eve service at the Village Church.  The preacher was so good I remember the sermon - human beings have a rightiousness problem (we can't seem to stay with the rules for being good to each other) so God had to do something about that and he sent perfection into the world so we could have it too - so we would be able to really be in his image.  God isn't so much about trying to make us behave as he is about getting us to love.  Good sermon.

The Christmas Eve dinner is finishing up.  Thein made "phuh" - a lovely Vietnamese soup.  Liz made peanut brittle, fudge and some other kind of candy.  Fred made a fire in the fire pit and roasted tiny sausages.  Pretty soon we'll celebrate. 

I feel fairly detached about Christmas these days.  But still I love everything.  It's a beautiful spritual time.  I just read an article in Spirituality and Health that basically said that it isn't much in the way of spirituality if it's all personal.  If we aren't addressing the suffering of others in the world...well our practices aren't worth much.  So, I wish the whole world peace.and hope I can further that in the year to come.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Lucky Man is the name of one of Michael J. Fox's books.  Since he has Parkinson's, the title stands out.  Often as I write the story of my life, I am struck again by how lucky I am.  (Or another way of putting it is that there's a God looking out for me.)  It wouldn't seem that way when you look at the events of my life.  Each story I write I worry that the miracles won't stand out, that all I'm showing is bad luck and tragedy.  But I truly am lucky.  I had a friend that was just wiped out by the accident that caused Ron to die and me to be so seriously injured.  She was angry at the drunk driver and overwhelmed by the sadness of it all.  I was more focused on how mine and Ron's friends stepped up to take care of us, by the great good luck of having a caring surgeon, by the fantastically skilled therapists in the rehab unit I spent a month in, by the great advantage I had to be in a program that had prepared me to deal with difficulty by finding the gift in all of it.  I could go on and on but I won't.  I'm just feeling lucky today.

Play time

Today is the day Aaron and Sofi come to visit for a few days.  It's one of my best Christmas presents.  I love having the opportunity to get to know Sofi better; she seems like such a beautiful spirit.  Aaron just graduated from college and so we'll be celebrating that.  Lots of fun stuff to do.  Yay for play!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Resentments and Victims

I can always tell when I'm seeing myself as a victim - I feel powerless, hopeless and resentful.  I spent a whole lot of my adult life like that.  By the time I got into recovery I was so angry and resentful I was like a powder keg.  Pretty much everything made me mad.  What I learned was that I was NEVER a victim and would never be a victim - I just lacked the skills to take care of myself. 

Our whole world educates us to see ourselves as victims of "the bad guys."  We're taught to fight - attack those bad guys, make them see the error of their ways and punish them.  It's incredible but we totally miss the fact that this does not work and never has in all of history - either in our individual relationships or in countries.  Somebody wins, somebody loses.  The losers are resentful and plot revenge and spend a lot of time and energy carrying out their plots.  They either get revenge or they don't.  If they do, they never notice that they're no better off than they were before.  Or they don't get revenge, stay resentful and then plot more revenge.  Try to find the happy people in that mess!  Ha!

I'm not immune now from resentment.  What I have is some tools to identify the story I told myself that identified me as a victim.  Then I can think up (mostly with help from someone else) another story to tell myself. 

When I first was told about this idea of never being a victim, I tried hard to disprove it.  "What if I'm captured by Nazi's and put in a concentration camp.  Doesn't that mean I'm being victimized?" I said.  They pointed out that this kind of stuff goes on in the world all the time.  The trick is to use the situation for good.  There are books written about people who were in concentration camps who decided to use their situation for good - one guy wrote a book in his head about what was happening so that he could tell the story when he got out so that something like that would never happen again.  A woman and her sister spent every single day trying to help the other people.  They took care of the sick, comforted the dying, etc.  They had goals and a mission to use their situation for good.

I've used this concept in my own life - not so many dramatic situations, of course - just in small ways.  It completely changes how I feel, how I think, and the level of fun I'm having in my life.  It is really true that I'm never a victim - no matter what happens to me, no matter how other people treat me.  There's always a way to use the situation for my good and the good of other people.  The process starts with me being angry, complaining to the right people (people who won't sympathize more than a minute or two and who will remind me of my mission), and choosing a course of action.  There's no guarantee that I will always win this little game, but I would rather fight back against seeing myself as a victim than lie down and whine!!

I've been at this for over 28 years now.  It can pay off in some terrific ways.  After being hit by a drunk driver, having the love of my life die as a result, and being very seriously injured, I could surely have claimed victim hood, and a lot of people would have listened while I whined incessantly.  I did my share of whining but the whole time I knew that was not the answer.  So as best I could I accepted all the help I was offered, tried my best to do what I needed to do to heal, and look for the lessons I could learn as a result of my situation. 

Friday, December 17, 2010


More things that make me go "hmmmm."  I signed up to take a meeting to a DUI school.  I have a soft spot in my heart for the place because Ron used to work for them teaching classes.  He had a whole lot of fun harassing the students and making fun of their denial that they had a problem with drugs and alcohol.  Evidently the DUI schools are making it mandatory for the folks that are court ordered to DUI school to go to meetings - which results in a lot of cranky people coming to meetings.  So some volunteers are taking meetings to the schools.  None of the students at the meeting I attended were at all interested but all of us volunteers had a great time.  I barely could drag myself out of the house to go.  I was very tired and wanted to go to bed.  But I went anyway and was so surprised that I felt better after the meeting.  Hmmmm.  Maybe the energy I'm needing doesn't come from rest but from other people, or being of service or whatever.  Hmmm.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Listening for God

I was taught early in recovery that listening to God was the definition of meditation.  That sounded crazy to me.  Who but people who were more than a little off would even have the temerity to think that an almighty God would speak directly to them.  Who did they think they were?  Moses?  Later after I had some recovery and had actually tried to meditate and had begun to understand what they meant, I had a discussion with someone I was sponsoring who was a non-believer.  I shared some of the experiences I had had in meditation.  She, like I had been, was skeptical and told me she was sure all I was listening to was my own mind.  She was not encouraged when I said that she was undoubtedly right - I was listening to the part of my mind where God lived.  She thought that was even weirder.  I guess it's one of those things where you just have to have been there.  Actually, I don't listen TO God; I just listen FOR God.  Sometimes I get in touch with something I know is God; sometimes not.  In any case, it seems like a practical thing to do - take a few minutes to make myself available in case there's something God wants me to know or do.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hooray for Graduations

Middle grandson's party was lovely.  He didn't get enough money as gifts to make a down payment on a house (ha), but enough to help him get started in a place of his own as soon as he finds a job.  He intends to work in law enforcement which is kind of scary, but he will be the kind of guy who helps people rather than hurts people.  Got to see all the relatives and outlaws (ex-husband plus new wife) and friends of the family.  Happy day.  The trip to and from was energized by a Robin Cook mystery with a surprise ending.  I'm not sure it was written that way, though.  I fast forwarded through the boring parts so much that I probably missed the part that would have given me a hint as to how it was going to end.  That's the trouble with audio books.  If they go too slowly to suit me, I fast forward and lose a lot.  Whatever.  I was entertained.  I'm glad to be home.  The sun is shining and I'm making progress on my stories. 

Friday, December 10, 2010


It's weird.  I do not feel old even though my MIDDLE grandson is graduating from college.  There's probably something wrong with me.  On the inside I still feel like I'm about 18.  That may be because I've started my life over so many times.  So today I leave for Dallas to help get things ready for the graduation party tomorrow night.  In a couple of weeks he and his girlfriend will be here to visit for a few days and we will have all kinds of fun.  I love my grandchildren because they are all wonderful.  However, one of the best parts of being a grandmother is that I get to play when they do!!  Can't wait.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

December is still beautiful

Global warming or whatever it is, is making me really enjoy the 50 degree weather we're having.  My friend, Chuck, came yesterday and today to clean up my piles of leaves in the yard.  I am blessed.  Usually I just let the leaves blow away, but now I have this neighbor who rakes his and landscapes and all that.  I'm embarrassed so I called Chuck who came and bailed me out of my-neighbor-hates-me-hell. 

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Hello December

It hasn't seemed much like December even though it has been for several days.  It's been quite balmy which has been nice since I've been playing catch up from being sick.  I went to the New Haven 25th
Anniversary dinner last night and it was good to connect with friends I don't see often.  Our speaker was a guy who was a member of a group I belonged to for a long time.  He was not yet 18 when he got sober so he had a hard time realizing what he was truly going to have to do to stay that way.  He said that at one point he was ready to either die or drink even though he had several years of recovery.  He had left so much out of his recovery program that he was easy prey for his disease.  Luckily, he recognized how much trouble he was in and headed for a meeting and changed his ideas of what was necessary to live a happy, productive, sober life.  Yay!  I'm so glad he's alive, well and happy now.  He's married, has two children and is a big support to other people trying to get well.  It was just what I needed to hear.  Sometimes I start feeling sorry for myself because things are not going that well.  Then I'm reminded that I have so much now that 27 years ago I would never have imagined I could have.  My life is full of gifts - a good thing for December.

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