old (2008), Uncategorized

grace is not gone

It occurs to me not infrequently that it is by refusing to compromise myself for love that I receive more of what I want and need. Begging has never gotten me anywhere, or at least nowhere I wanted to be, and growing hoarse screaming that I deserved better only left me voiceless. Love is a policy, not a feeling, I heard years ago, a line in a movie, but it is only the past nine months that has me understanding what it means to do things not because I want to but, instead, because they are the right things to do. And in doing the right things, I become the sort of person who wants to do them, finding what I’ve been seeking by doing the least intuitive things, which then become habits.

Early in recovery, the Prayer of St. Francis resonated with me, though I couldn’t say why, then nor now. I do know, though, that as my nine-month milestone looms, I have learned that

it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned

because that’s just how it works. I cannot articulate any logic that explains why being selfless has given me everything that motivated my previous selfishness, nor can I explain how offering love and forgiveness and compassion to others has allowed me to receive those same gifts. Also: I do not know how it is that I practically crawled into a church basement almost nine months ago and today I can walk with my head held high and fall asleep every night knowing that — at least for the past 24 hours — I have kept my side of the street clean.

I am often asked how, why, and when these things happened, and I am not lying when I say I do not know. They just have. And that’s what the miracle is, I think, of which countless people in the program speak: that grace enters our lives when we least expect it and, even better, it sneaks in through the cracks we didn’t even know existed when we aren’t even paying attention. Undeserved blessings are neither a fantasy nor a myth; I know, because they enter my life every single day. Namaste.

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