Flying Free

Flying Free

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Can You Hear Me Now?

About a week ago my two daughters wanted my opinion on whether or not they should allow a friend of my youngest daughter to move in to their home.  In the past, I would have jumped at giving my opinion; after all I thought I was the only one with the right answers and if everyone would do as I say every body's life would be perfect.  I hesitated in giving my opinion because I am working very hard at allowing my grown daughters to make their own decisions whether they be right or wrong.  I told them both that they are grown women and certainly capable of making their own decisions but they insisted they only wanted my opinion.

This young man in question is an ex-drug user or maybe I should say an on and off drug user.  My youngest daughter has known him quite a long time.  They are good friends when he is clean, and not so good friends when he is using.  Right now, he is not using.  For the most part, I like him.  He is respectful, friendly and has a good heart - when he is not using.  I don't know exactly what he is like when he is using because he doesn't come around to let me see that side of him.  I only know what most people are like when they are actively using - they are less than trustworthy.

So, my daughters asked for my opinion.  Hesitantly I gave them my opinion prefacing it by saying, "This is only my opinion, you both are old enough to do what you think is best."  I listed all the reasons why I thought that him sharing their home would be a bad idea.  I told them that he is not working a program of recovery and the chances that he will use again may be great.  I told them that if they gave him a key to their house and he did start to use again all the locks in the house would have to be changed because, for the most part, drug addicts can not be trusted when they are using.  I asked them how they would handle him bringing women they do not know into their house because he wants to have sex with them?  I asked them if they realized that if he lived there the freedom they have in the evening and morning wearing just their "nighties" would be over.  I even mentioned that when people who are friends move in together oftentimes that is the end of a friendship forever.  Ultimately I think they understood clearly that I thought the idea was not a very good one.

They told him he could move in.

They told me their decision today at dinner.  I nodded affirmatively.  My throat tightened as I choked down my meal; my scream stuck in my throat.  My heart felt so heavy in my chest.  I'm ashamed to say I couldn't wait until dinner was over and then I couldn't wait for them to leave.

As I watched them pull out of the driveway my tears welled up in my eyes and then rolled down my cheeks.  I couldn't stop them.  My throat hurt from suppressing the screams I wanted so badly to shout out.  I wanted to call them and say, "Please, don't do this.  Please, you are making a big mistake."  I had to do it.  I couldn't stop myself.  I picked up the phone and sponsor.

An immediate relief rushed over my body as I heard my sponsor say hello at the other end of the line.  I didn't waste any time.  The tears were flowing as I relayed what had just happened.  I told her I was scared.  I told her I wanted to tell them not to let him move in.  I told her that they asked for my opinion, I gave it and they didn't take it.  I told her I had to do something but I didn't know what to do.

When I finally shut up the phone was silent.  I waited for a couple of seconds.  My sponsor always pauses before she speaks to me when I'm upset.  I waited a couple of more seconds before I said, "Are you there?"  I could almost feel her warm smile as she responded, "Yes, I'm here."

What words of wisdom did she give to me?  She told me, "it sucks but we are powerless over other people's actions".  She said, "we want to get in there and run other people's lives because we think we know better than our Higher Power. It's easy to revert back to things that are "comfortable" but that doesn't mean those things are right.  Now that we know better we can do better".  She said that "it's not always easy to do the right thing".

I started to laugh.  Those thoughts were the exact thoughts I had expressed to my sponseee earlier today.  I said them to my sponsee but I obviously didn't hear them for myself.  I was so overcome by fear that I couldn't hear the words I spoke to my sponsee until my sponsor said them to me.

I'm feeling better now.  I've once again allowed my Higher Power to be in control of my life and the lives of my daughters.  I thought for a minute there He might have needed my help but I think He can handle it all on His own.  I'm sure there is a lesson in all of this; I just pray it's not too painful.

As always, let me mean it when I say, "Thy will, not mine, be done."

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Box Car

This morning, as I was catching up on my blog reading, I ran across this post about The Holocaust that put me back a few years to when I visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC.  I only had an "intellectual" understanding of the Holocaust; it wasn't until I walked through the museum that I more fully understood what others had endured.

All the knowledge of the holocaust I had was obtained by books and history lessons.  I listened as teachers taught about the horrible atrocities and listened when others said that "it never really happened."  I researched the  Holocaust in college so I could write an "A" paper on it.  I thought I knew a lot about what happened in Germany during WWII when Hitler reigned supreme.   I knew absolutely nothing until I walked into the Holocaust Museum.  The museum took my breath and heart away.

Inside of the museum, the events of Hitler's rise to power, WWII and the Holocaust are etched into one's mind by words, pictures and sound.  The stories of the soldiers, the spies, the governments, and the every day people are told in vivid black and white photography; there are no shades of gray in the photos.  I walked through the rooms wearing my leather shoes while looking at the mounds of shoes that were taken from the dead for their leather worth.  I walked through the rooms lit by fluorescent bulbs while gazing upon the lamp shades made from human skin.  Looking through my own eyeglasses, I saw the heaps of spectacles from those who had been annihilated in the gas showers; the rims kept for the metal.  As I walked through the rooms in the museum I was overwhelmed by grief.  These "things," the leather, skin, eyeglasses, were more valuable than the human who wore them.  The museum was consumed by all those who gave their life to build this monument to an era of history that so many wish they could forget.

I walked into the room that held the "symbols" of all those who had to be marked by the beast.  I saw an actual yellow star that had been pinned to a Jew.  I saw an actual pink triangle that marked a human as a homosexual.  I saw other symbols that labeled people as less than human.  I wanted to scream but I remained silent.

The family photos on the wall, the linen tablecloths, the children's toys all took on a somber meaning.  Once items of joy to a family were now memories of things they would never see again once taken from the ghettos. Even seeing each other was a day to day luxury; removed not by death but by hatred which would ultimately lead to their death or a painful memory if they survived.

I walked silently through each room that told the story of human lives until I came upon the train car that transported the "less than humans" from the ghettos to the camps.  My hands trembled as I looked at the outside of the box car.  I read about these box cars.  The history books tell of "hundreds" of people packed into a single car; standing room only, as they rode to their new home in the death camps.  I didn't want to go into the box car but my mind and my feet had already carried me in.

I stood silently as I looked around the small train car.  How could "hundreds" of people have fit into an area that was no bigger than a small hospital room?  How could "hundreds" of people stood for days to reach their destination.  How could "hundreds" of people survived the foul smell of human excrement?  How could "hundreds" of people handled watching those they loved die while standing next to them?  Could I have survived holding the dead body of a loved on up with my own body?

I don't know how long I stood there.  I don't know when the tears started to flow from my eyes.  I don't know when I began to hear the screams of the children crying out for their mothers and fathers.  I don't know when I felt the heat of the ovens. I don't know when I started to smell the rotting flesh.  I don't know when I started to feel the ashes from those men, women and children who were burned in the ovens fall on my flesh.  I don't know when all those sensations started but they stopped when I opened my eyes.  By opening my eyes I could stop all those feelings but those that endured the reality could never open their eyes and make it all go away.

I know some would like never to hear of these atrocities.  I know that some wish they could forget.  Maybe I have the luxury of being able to remember because I would never have been told to wear a yellow star or another identifying mark that would separate me from others.  I would not have been herded into a box car to be driven to my death.  In that time era, I would have been safe from the harm these people endured.....but what about the future?

Friday, February 10, 2012

"God helps those....."

Do I believe in a Higher Power because I think he can make my life easier?  Do I pray and mediate only on the material things I want Him to provide for me?  When I go to my Higher Power in prayer, do I even ask for others?

I have always believed in God but I kept Him in a box.  I had a narrow view and understanding of God but thought I knew Him intimately.  Until the effects alcoholism brought me to my knees, I only had a slight understanding of the Him and His abilities.  I believed the miracles that God performed, but I worshiped the miracles and not the Deity who enabled them to be performed.  I began searching for the miracles and not the relationship with a Higher Power who cared for me.  I stopped to worship the "sign" but never attempted to continue on the journey. 

In times of trouble, I never rested in the arms of my Higher Power, I always helped Him do for me what He could not quite accomplish on His own.  After all, "God helps those who helps themselves."  When I could no longer help myself, when all of my strength in conquering a problem was exhausted, it was then that I "allowed" my Higher Power to take over without my interference.  It was only in utter defeat that I let go of my problem and "allowed" a Power greater than me to take over.  Did I do it because it was the right thing to do?  No.  I did it because it was the only avenue left for me to take.  Now I am more apt to believe that "God helps those who can't help themselves."

Today, I woke up very humbled.  I am once again unsure of my relationship with my Higher Power. Please don't get me wrong.  I am sure of the relationship my Higher Power has with me, I am unsure of mine with Him. I do not want to be the person who goes to prayer and meditation because I want "things."  I want to go to prayer and meditation to have a greater and more intimate relationship with a Power greater than myself.  I want to be able to say from deep within me, "Thy will be done."

Saturday, February 4, 2012


Many years ago, my mother would go to the nearest charitable organization about once a week and play bingo.  I thought the allure of playing bingo was the prospect of winning large amounts of money which is what brought the players back week after week; and for some that probably is, in fact, just the case.  As I look back on why my mother played bingo, I'm not sure that was her motivation.  She never complained about not winning money and when she won, she used to call it a "bonus."  I've been thinking about my mother a lot as of late and for some reason I started thinking about her bingo practices.  What was the allure of bingo for her?  

Last Saturday I called my brother and asked him if he'd like to go to bingo with me.  He chuckled at first and made the reference to mom and her bingo days.  After reminiscing, he said he'd like to go but he was in the middle of painting and he couldn't go that day so we made a date to go on Thursday.  I was excited and I gleefully told my daughters who in turn playfully ridiculed me about playing bingo.  "What are you Mom, like 80 years old?"  

Thursday arrived and my brother picked me up a little early so we could buy the necessary equipment and hopefully find out what we were doing.  It had been over 30 years since either of us had gone with our mother (at her request) to play bingo.  While waiting for the games to start, we studied our cards and tried to figure out the complicated game of bingo.  The woman sitting next to us must have been able to tell that we were new to the intricate dynamics of playing bingo so she graced us with her knowledge happily.  She was so happy to enlighten us with her bingo knowledge that neither my brother nor I felt it necessary to tell her that we had played bingo before; besides, we did need a good refresher course.

My brother and I must have looked like little children playing in a sandbox for the first time because another woman who was sitting near asked us if this was the first time we have played bingo.  After some light conversation with her she finally said, "It's good clean fun."  I agreed.

The games finally started.  I watched my cards, I watched my brother's cards; he watched his cards, he watched my cards and the ladies on either side of us who were playing multiple cards themselves watched our cards too.  We didn't win.  We didn't come close to winning.  So, why do I want to go back?

I learned that my mother was right, winning money would have been a bonus.  I want to go back because bingo allowed my mind to stay in the now without cares or worries of the past or the future.  Hmm, is bingo a form of meditation to me?  Was it a form of meditation to my mother?  I wonder.........