Sunday, March 16, 2008

group hug

I was asked by the leader of the 12 step group I'm a part of to share my story with the group-my recent history anyway. I belong to a group called Celebrate Recovery, and we do definitely name our Higher Power as Jesus Christ. It's been an interesting journey, a hard one in some ways, but one that isn't over yet. Coincidentally, or not so, my sister called me the other day and said she had been asked as well. She lives in Tulsa, OK, and was asked to address her church's congregation at large on Easter Sunday, which means 700 people and two services. I do not have to do that! She was asking me what I thought about what to talk about, and gave me her ideas. I think we came to the same conclusion independently-that you cannot live life without the help and support of other people who love you unconditionally.

My older sister and I are very close, even though I have three other sisters. Our bond is special because we shared a significant part of our family's history together and not too far apart developmentally. At that time period I think families tried to stay together and put a good face on for the world, even if there were severe problems within. The only thing Cleaver about our family was our lawn in summer, after us girls took turns with a two-wheeled push mower going up and down the grass like tag teams. My father refused to get us a power mower. He was an obsessive-compulsive with a drinking problem and who quadruple checked door locks and drove down the wrong side of the highway at times. I know my parents loved me, but the philosophy was basically that everything that happens to us stays within the four walls of our home. And some of it really, really should not have.

I thought the disease of alcoholism would escape our family and my children, but it did not, as well as the coping mechanisms and behaviors I learned to deal with my dad. My son's incarceration turned out to be one of the greatest mercies I've ever experienced. Because of that, he is still alive and forced to face his own habit in the most public way possible. It's undeniable, and after having lived with denial for my entire life, I can tell you that is a gift. I came in contact with my 12 steppers, who have saved my life, too. I was still operating in behaviors that I had no business being a part of. What I lost in childhood and gained back in group was my identity. I think my parents only knew how to handle a child from Pleasantville, and got a Gothic hairshirt deep-thinking and brooding loner who was constantly making messes and feeling things I could not articulate for fear of the reaction.

What I have learned in group is to accept and realize the miracle of the human condition. God didn't make perfect people. He made people to love Him and each other, because not one of us is complete without that. We all have giftings, missing parts, idiocyncrasies and weaknesses that suddenly, like pieces in a puzzle, fit into the people and places to which we truly belong. The scriptures say "bear one another's burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ". My "groupies" do that amazingly, as do other people I'm meeting along this road. I'm thinking to start out my own story with the four friend in scripture who poked a hole in the roof of a house and lowered their paralyzed buddy down right in front of the Lord Himself, and it's no wonder love like that created a miracle.


Post a Comment

<< Home