On a clear morning

Amazing. You give me hope. Thank you.

In Others' Words...

Can you imagine the hopelessness of trying to live a spiritual life when you’re secretly looking up at the skies not for illumination or direction, but to gauge, miserably, the odds of rain?
Anne Lamott

I lived in Seattle for more than a decade.  When you live in the Pacific Northwest you develop a nuanced relationship with the weather. Most people seem to have the impression that it pours there all the time.  Not so, PNW rookies.  Not so.  It rains a little bit almost every single day for nine months out of the year.  Lots of gloom. Meteorologists in the Northwest are prone to saying things like, “It’ll be a brighter grey today.”

I always loved that.

As usual, this morning I woke up long before the alarm at what Favorite is prone to calling, “stupid o’clock.”  I stretched.  I waited for my eyes to focus and adjust to…

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ghostlines

There are marks that leave their legacy on our life.

We can grow and outgrow, improve ourselves and even be healed to the extent that we provide for our families and contribute to our communities….thanks be to God, but…

the ghostlines remain.

The unseen patterns and lines etched into the canvas of our souls are there.  Our changes in behavior and thought may remove the black lines, however,

the original marks will forever be there.

Indentations that, sometimes loudly, sometimes almost without perception, call us to not forget….

from where we have come.

I was born and raised in a farming community.  When I turned 12 tender years of age, that community was forever changed by IBM.  It became a bedroom community for those commuting from the great city of N.Y.

And along with all the sophistication and knowledge came the judgement on those who had made their simple home there for the years gone by.

We were the “uncultured”; the folks that didn’t matter much.

We weren’t in their circle.

Deemed the “lesser” folk.

My best friend had moved away and my parents were divorced.  My mother worked.

Hard.

We were left alone.  I was alone. Left to ourselves.  Left to myself.

In retrospect, we were feral children.

That’s what we were.

At the time, all I felt was freedom; the times were the late sixties.

What I felt at the time was not what I thought.

It wasn’t freedom.

It was fear.  It was pain.

Unprotected.

And lost.

I’ve come far beyond those pain filled times, however the deep seated feeling that I’m somehow less than, remains still…..even now.

Those are some of my ghostlines-  I know them for what they are.

I know they are ghosts….

but

they still and will always have power over me if I allow them.

I’ve had a couple of restarts since my last post.  Something happens when I address my sober time as counting days, weeks, months and years… it always has.

I fall.

Time is a funny thing for me in sobriety.

I pray that with time, I’ll have the ability to celebrate mile markers with everyone else…

for now-

I was sober yesterday, I am sober today and by the grace of God, I’ll be sober tomorrow.

 

dear neighbor

You don’t know me.

I don’t know you but I know who you are.  You dated a friend of mine a while back and I witnessed the happy pics of you on Facebook when you were together.  They were pics of when you were dancing at the old hotel in town.

You looked beautiful.

I could tell that you were a drinker because, well, it takes one to know one;  but it wasn’t obvious.

I know things didn’t work out and you are in the same situation you were before, which wasn’t good or healthy.  I’m sorry and I so want to reach out to you.  Things…relationships, work, life in general….everything can be different.

You are in my prayers and if our paths cross again and you are sober I have promised the Lord that I would offer my hand.

In the meantime, I thank you.

You began to enter the cheese shop but stopped short.  No, the package store is next door….you realized it but not before my glimpse of you left me dumbstruck.

It was about 5 o’clock “happy hour”…

You looked as if you just got out of bed.  I couldn’t tell if your cheek was black and blue or if it was a last-minute smear of blush to try to look “presentable”.  You had a smile on your face that didn’t match your appearance.  It was more of a grin divorced from reality.

It broke my heart.

I know you won’t remember coming out for more.

I’m truly sorry…..

but

I have gained from your misery.

You have unknowingly made me stronger….

your face is etched sadly and forever in my mind.

There but for the grace of God go I.

from papa francis

The Hope of Easter

We, like Peter and the women, cannot discover life by being sad, bereft of hope.  Let us not stay imprisoned within ourselves, but let us break open our sealed tombs to the Lord- each of us know what they are….so that he may enter and grant us life.  Let us give Him the stones of our rancor and the boulders of our past, those heavy weaknesses and falls. Christ would like to come to take us by our hand out of our anguish.

 This is the first stone to be moved aside this night: the lack of hope which imprisons us within ourselves.  May the Lord free us from the trap. From being Christians without hope, who live as if the Lord were not risen, as if our problems were the center of our lives.

We see and will continue to see problems both within and without.  They will always be there. But today it is important to shed the light of the Risen Lord upon our problems, and, in a certain sense to “evangelize” them.  To evangelize our problems.  Let us not allow fear and darkness to distract us and control us; we must cry out to them: the Lord is not here, but has risen! (Lk 24:6)

He is our greatest joy; he is always at our side and will never let us down.

AMEN.

Image credit: my darling neice in CA.

taking a break….

Only from posting. Not sobriety.

I need to do some writing that is not appropriate for Withoutthewhine.

I will, however, continue to keep up with all you wonderful and supportive people.  You have given me strength…strength I didn’t know I had.

I have had some revelations in the last few days which I need to deeply explore.  All good but complex which leave me elated but confused…

Quite a bit of work comes with acknowledging addiction.

Mine has to do with “self” which became very confused as a young child.  As much work as I have done on myself (which is part of the problem..because it perpetuates the self) … the letting go, dying to, and moving on to an “other-oriented” form of relating has not come easy.

I’ve tried.

I’ve known what it should look like.

It just never came.

And I continued to blame myself.  Never cut myself a break. Relentless beatings.

I think I am finally discovering compassion  for myself.  The self pity is absent (for now). Thank God.

I would like to feel a connection (compassion) for those in front of me.  I would like to enter with them into who they are.  Their life, their experiences, their pain.

Not feel I am separate, apart from, below or above them.

Just one among them.

We all have terrible struggles. I am no different.

Pain.

 Why pain? I don’t know except that most of my life that is what I’ve experienced.

And it’s not so bad. Really. It has brought me be closer to Him.

One example I can give you is I have always been very private, unless I thought I knew you-and that was a very selective process on my part-one in many cases I was wrong-  so emotionally I would end up giving you details you shouldn’t be privy to.  I would put up walls with everyone else, even before I knew what was happening.  I’ve missed out.  How many people I’ve perceived as unworthy of me….or who I falsely perceived, in probably many cases, thought I was unworthy of them.

I’ve always thought I just couldn’t handle being with people for an extended period of time.

What I realized today is that my walls were draining me.  Are draining me.  It takes much more energy to hold back the connection than it does to let it flow.

I am afraid to let it flow- that is what I need explore.

When I can finally come to realize His love for me is insurmountable…even in this moment- just as I am with all my imperfections and flaws….only then in my coming to terms with this will I have the ability to pass it along.

Real love is a choice. Not an emotion. The willingness to set yourself aside to be fully present to another.

You can’t give what you haven’t received.

Please Lord, please help me receive.

And more important- help me to give to it away.

To find the balance.

march madness

Not talking basketball here.

I am certifiably crazy in March.  Every freakin’ March.  I can handle January and February but by March I am nuts.

And that is when I have a steady job and my teeth aren’t falling out of my head and blah..blah..blah.

So, since my divorce and stints on the psych ward in 2009 and 2010, I’ve had a 6 year reprieve.  Now the crapola hits the fan.  Started over Christmas.  And continues.

Struggling with thoughts.  With emotions.  Struggling with Him.

Just plain struggling.

To drink.  Or not to.

Doesn’t seem to make a difference….

But I know better.

It does.  It makes all the difference.

Not drinking is the key.  To get through all the mud and molasses.

And come out better on the “other side”.

Lent.

I feel as if I’m faced with a lifetime of failure.

But I know that is the dark side speaking to me in my time of weakness.

It’s all self-centered bullshit.

Pardon me, but there is no other word right for it.

Looking forward to the light.

Grateful.  Yes, grateful. To be sober.

In spite of myself.

Thanks be to God.

3/17…otherwise known as

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Ya, well.  It’s never been one of my favs. Even in my most devout drinking days it was just a lackluster day.  I guess I could use that to my credit.  I would only go so far to find an excuse.

I do have a bit of Irish in me though.  I know by my temper which I think has gotten a little milder in the last few years however, I’ve been single so…..maybe not.

Still don’t feel like writing.

Just stopping by.

Celebrated St. P. Day by going to morning mass, work, the fabulous parish fish fry dinner and The Stations of the Cross.

I’ve been praying and asking for a lot this Lent.

Mostly to learn how to love.  For real.

Really love.

The way He loves.

You and me.

And to stop judging.

Myself and others.

Grateful and sober.

Thanks be to Him.