Personalities Before Principles

The meeting was almost over when I pulled into the clubhouse parking lot. I stopped, turned off the engine and stayed in my Mescalade.  

I watched as the first trickle of folks left the building. Then, I got out of my vehicle and made a bee line to the coffee urn.

He was still seated at the end of the table closest to the refreshment counter. Surrounded by more than a few newcomers, he was gregarious and generous with his opinions.

He offered his hand, the one covered with a black medical brace. I shook it and said, “Good to see ya.”

I poured a cup, grabbed a box of popcorn, walked out the door and took a seat on the front porch. 

I placed my coffee and popcorn on the railing next to me. Then I pulled my phone from my pocket. 

I was scrolling through my messages when he walked past me. He tapped the deck with his cane. 

When I looked up at him, he said, “You’re strange.” 

When my eyes went back to the screen, he repeated, “You’re strange. You walk in late. You’ve always got your nose deep into that phone. I can’t figure you out. Can’t figure you out.”

I shrugged and said, “It’s not your job.”

“My job?”

“To figure me out. Not your job.”

“But why?”

“Why not?”

He shook his head and scuffled through the gravel to his car. 

I was responding to an e-mail when he shouted, “Why are you wasting your life on that goddamn phone?”

I shouted back, “Man, go home and take your medicine. You’ll feel better.”

“You judging me coz I’m using medical marijuana?”

“I don’t care about marijuana.”

“It’s pain management. It works for me.”

“And my phone works for me. The same fuckin’ way. It’s my medicine. My pain management.”

His final words before he crawled into his car were, “Judge not lest ye be judged.”

I stared at my phone another five minutes. 

I stood and walked into the clubhouse for another cup of coffee. 

When I returned to the porch, he and his car were gone.

 

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July 28

REFLECTIONS OF A SOBER CHICKEN THIEF- published by Nothing Changes Press

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Thought For The Day: I’ve got no time for quotes today. No time. I was called to speak today. Not called by God…by another person at the meeting. The topic was the Fourth Step. I don’t remember what I said but I don’t think it had much to do with the Fourth Step.

Reflection For The Day: At least three people walked out of the room during my share. Sons of bitches.

Prayer: Please keep their asses in their chairs till I’m done. Just coz I don’t know what I’m talkin bout doesn’t mean it isn’t divinely inspired.

But Isn’t That Beside The Point?

When I was first told not to pray for things that would benefit me, I thought, “No problem.”

I had never prayed for myself.

When I get was a kid, scrubbed and reverent, I always prayed for others.

When I had no faith, no God, I prayed for others.

I never bargained, “If you get me out of this, I’ll…”

A selfish petition was a sign of weakness as far as I was concerned.

Besides, I didn’t want nor did I deserve a goddamn thing.

I was a drunk.

Then, I dried out. I sobered up.

Then, slowly, I began to recover and stumble my way through 38 years of a drug free life.

Good things came my way. Things not on my prayer list.

Good people called me friend. But I didn’t pray that they like me.

Good women loved me. But I didn’t pray they’d hold me.

I had a 27 year career helping others. But it wasn’t the answer to my prayers.

Years 25, 26 and 27 of that job were awful. But I never prayed to find a way out.

However, every day of those 27 years, I prayed for others and asked the God I understand to be God to allow me to be of maximum service to others. To help those who are still sick.

So, I guess, in a way, I prayed I’d receive something…patience, understanding and tolerance.

I was told I could pray for myself if others would be helped.

And that’s what I did for 38 years, help others, and, in the process, a whole world opened up to me.

A wonderful world growing more wondrous each hour, each day.

A wonderful world that started spinning so fast it made my heart sick.

I don’t know why.

I think I have some regrets.

I think I’ve made some mistakes.

The biggest being I’ve neglected my self in some way. At least, that’s what I think.

I asked some one today, “What do you think?”

And they said, “If you pray about it, you’ll feel better.”

Early Morning Meditation 

I’ve always been able to “empty” my mind.

It started when I was a kid. The Old Man would stumble in around 3am and Mom would be in the front room waiting for him. Waiting so she could tell him he was  a “drunken son of a bitch.” 

And he was. 

And he knew he was…but he didn’t like hearing it. 

And, why she always picked the pre-dawn hours to tell him the very thing he didn’t want to hear, I have yet to figure out. 

And, why she’d always act surprised when The Old Man would shout, cuss, scream, and throw furniture across the room, was also beyond me.

When, I was eight or nine, I’d get out of bed and try to stop my parents from hurting, sometimes, perhaps, from killing each other. By the time I was ten, I had given up on them. Yeah, by then, I’d just stay in bed, close my eyes and turn “it” off. 

The noise.

And it worked.

Years later, some one told me I was a “natural at empty mind” technique.

He called it meditation.

I called it survival.

What I Think And What I Say

Surrender. 

Selfishness. 

Self-centered. 

All those “S” words 

assaulting my ears 

this morning. 

Then 

there are 

those damn 

“Dees.” 

Denial. 

Destroyed. 

Diseased.

Hot 

Yellow 

Highlighter

Horseshit

Hold 

On 

Why 

Am 

I

Talking

This

Way

About

Myself

Today

     ?

What Am I Missing Here?

I’m not sure where to begin. 

He’s saying, “I’ve had a long standing argument with God.”

“Okay,” I say.

“What’s the big deal?”

He says, “What’s the big deal? What’s the big deal? My life’s supposed to be a sacred journey.”

“Who says?”

“Heard it in a meeting. Don’t remember who said it. But I liked it. Thought it was good shit for me to hear.”

“So what’s God say about your journey?”

“Wha…? I’m not crazy, man. God doesn’t talk to me.”

Feel Free To Return The Favor

I can’t really say I remember the topic of this morning’s meeting. I was too busy working on a poem for some blog school. I just signed on so I could get back to writing poetry every day. And it’s been good though this “pasting” business from the smart phone has been a challenge coz I’ve had to learn as I go….to work, to pick up Joey from school, to my regular gig, to my pick up gigs, to Grocery, drug and department stores….yes, learn as I go and the only time I sit for an hour and write is in the morning, at the meeting.

Oh, yeah, it was on character defects and character assassination. I said, “I possess the former over flowing and I engage in the later more than I like to admit though it will be obvious to anyone wanting to stick around and eavesdrop on me after the meeting. I’m the sign you see displayed on vacant construction sites asking you to “Pardon Our Progress.”