It’s 5:45 A.M. my time, and after sleeping for eight hours I somehow awoke with all my shortcomings and defects at the forefront of my mind. Maybe I should stop sleeping on my stomach. Apparently, my alcoholism works the night shift as well.
Step Seven: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
I think I surprised my disease this morning. It wasn’t expecting me to actually get out of bed and start fighting. First up: down on my knees. Gratitude list. Acknowledgement of upcoming worries, and the releasing of them to the best of my abilities. Then coffee was made, the Christmas tree watered, dog and cat fed, followed by my retreat into my basement den where I start typing.
It seems I’d prefer wallowing in the anguish I know over working towards serenity. The reason? As far as I can tell, there’s a certain pride in ownership of my crazy. But my crazy isn’t like a summer teenage popcorn flick. It’s a bleak, black and white foreign art film without subtitles. And though it may be constantly playing in the background, that doesn’t mean I have to watch it, or even have the volume up.
So, this morning, for as long as it lasts until I find myself having to do it again (which in no way equals failure), I close my eyes and breathe deeply in and out, love and jazz, and ask Him to remove my shortcomings. When my eyes open, nothing around me has physically changed (wouldn’t that be great if it did?), but my perception has. And, for the most part, nothing’s ever out to get me. It’s my ego believing I’m uber-important; that the powers that be need to keep me down, otherwise I’ll take over the universe.
That’s when it’s helpful to remember my first day of college. Before the drinking but after the leaving of a small town that pointed and laughed at me. Remember the sweet freedom that came with being anonymous? Nobody knew and nobody cared, and the world opened wide before me? Remember how hard it was to get the smile off my face? I’d been given a new lease on life, a do-over that I relished until I drank way, way, way too deeply from the well of freedom. Know this: that feeling’s still totally possible today, considering I live three and a half hours away from the small town, and everyone in my life now is different and new and non-judging. In fact, you could even say loving. So why treat them like the barking animals that roamed the hallways of my high school? No reason, other than my broken brain likes the pain it knows. It’s not a mental rut; it’s a mental cut.
So, with all that said, it’s now 6:30 A.M. and I’m one cup of coffee down, dog at my side demanding scratches behind his floppy ears, daughter singing made-up silly songs and giggling, wife scrambling eggs. Not a bad life, once my shortcomings are removed.
Today: I ask and thank God for the removal of my shortcomings, for as long as it lasts. And when the weeds start to grow back, I pray for the willingness to once again get on my knees.
Because you can’t pull weeds from a standing position.