I learned yesterday that my former nanny and her husband were the ones hit by the driver in Oak View on Friday night. It was an awful accident and they are lucky to be alive. However, they are badly mangled and not out of the woods. My mind will not let go of the accident and keeps replaying it over and over again like it is trying to solve a puzzle. And I think the puzzle is why does God allow horrible things to happen to the best people?
And age old question. And probably the question most likely to lead us all away from faith, belief and trust in anything. I know I was there a little yesterday. I mean these two people are the best, kindest, most loving, giving selfless people I know. They care about others. Show up for others and spend the whole of their lives adding to the lives of others. It is just who they are. I am not sure what I did to deserve having them in my life, but I am grateful and humbled.
And just like that, everything in their lives is changed. The driver that crossed the double yellow line and hit them is gone. They are hopefully on the long road of recovery. And I am grappling with my anger, frustration, fear and resentment that this happened to THEM! They didn’t deserve this and I am pissed that they are now having to deal with all of the recovery and pain. And I am afraid.
So I was a mess again yesterday. It all feels like too much going on in my life. My dad’s dementia worsening. My mom’s recovery, while going well, has its own demands. There is a lot going on in my life right now and this feels like too much.
So I was not in a good space last night. And as I write this, it occurs to me, that it is likely paining me so much because I am making this about me. When in fact, none of what is happening has anything to do with me. God, fuck, I am self centered. Truth is I am fucking lucky that none of this is happening to me. It is happening around me and that is something to be grateful for.
And I can see that it is now my turn to give back. To my parents. To Maria and Romiro. They are all going to need a lot of care and I can give it. I have it to give. Even though I feel upset and scared and tired. I can take care of myself and still take care of them.
I prayed and talked to God this morning and told him how pissed off I was about the swirling vortex of shit going on right now. Of course, God said nothing back. Which only kind of pissed me off further.
And then like a bolt from the blue it struck me, just what I wrote the other day. It is all ok, even if it doesn’t feel ok.
Feelings are not facts.
FEELINGS, ARE NOT FACTS!
Fuck, how many times am I going to have to learn this fucking lesson? Well, today, at least one more time!
Even though a lot is going on, it is all ok.
My mom is recovering really well and that is progressing nicely.
My dad seems to have accepted his place right now and isn’t railing against it, he isn’t in pain and he isn’t even asking to come home anymore.
Maria and Romiro was ALIVE! They are being cared for by professionals who know what they are doing. And hopefully, with a lot of prayers, love and care, they too will be ok, eventually.
All of the above provide me, who is over here taking care of myself and my life, an opportunity to get out of myself and help others. And that is why I am sober. That is why God saved me in the first place. I was not saved to have this great life so that I could be happy. I was saved because God thought that my salvation might benefit others.
Why is this so hard for me to remember???
All that happens isn’t about me. It often has nothing to do with me and it is only my alcoholic brain that tells me otherwise. Life is happening. Horrible things are happening and they most often have nothing to do with me at all.
So I will ask for prayers for all these people I love. Maria and Romiro have become family to me. I love them. I am worried about them. And I am willing to be there for them to help in any way I can. Today, I can ask for your prayers. A minute of your time to pray that they be spared some pain, that there burdens lightened a little.
A prayer for my daughter who is being hit hard with all of this and loves Maria like a second mother.
A prayer that my dad have a good 79th birthday today.
A prayer that my mom continue to heal and recover and be given the strength to help my dad.
A prayer that all those being suffering in the world right now, be granted love, peace, relief from suffering and some joy.
And in relatively short order, I am not so pissed at God. I do not know why this happened. Any of it. It is just happening and I am able to handle it and deal with it. Because I am here, relatively sane and able bodied.
Sometimes, awful things happen to the best people. I am never going to know why. And it will likely make me mad to even go there. Instead, I have to pray for acceptance for the things I cannot change. And find the willingness to get out of the fucking way, move away from my self centeredness and selfishness and move toward service.
It is always about service to God and my fellows. And my fellows change. Sometimes it is people in need of recovery, sometimes it is my family, sometimes it is my friends. Sometimes it is the animals of the world. Sometimes, it is a random stranger on the street. Regardless, it is always my privilege and honor to be called upon to serve.
It is likely never going to always feel like an honor. Sometimes, like yesterday, it is going to feel like a burden. But, one more time, I get the lesson that things are not always what they appear to be...life comes at me in real time, with real issues and problems. That is just the way life is. But so long as I am here, I get to show up. I get to give what I have to give and on those days (last night was one of them) I get to be a mess and let someone else be of service.
My friend Elisa sent my daughter and I food. And I let her. I accepted the help. Here I was feeling so overwrought and she offered and I didn’t want to accept her kindness because that is so hard for me, to accept help. I need help, I want help but I send it packing when it arrives. But I didn’t last night. I let her help me. I let her in and was willing to be vulnerable when every fiber of my being didn’t want to. I was able to say:
“I am in pain and suffering. All that is going on hurts. I feel defeated and low and scared. I do not know what to do.”
And she couldn’t do much but she listened and then sent us food. And it was amazing. It was so kind. So I kind of bathed in her kindness last night. Allowed myself to be cared for and got to touch in on that place inside me that still, despite years of fucking work, still does not feel worthy of being seen, cared for or loved. Fuck.
But there is was again last night. Me wanting to be angry, pissed and enraged by the injustices of the world. When in truth, it is just life, unfolding. All of it. The beautiful tragedy that is this life. Amazing highs and devastating lows. All of it, is life. And, I am fucking privileged to still be here to live it.
So today I ask for prayers for all of us. That we all be granted passage to a more kind and compassionate place. That we send food to those who could use the help, that we take a moment to listen to care about those about us. That we stop and take a moment to send love out there to all those beings caught in life’s hardship right now.
And for myself I am going to tend to this harden place inside my chest that causes me to feel like I want to shut it all down. To close off, to prevent more injury by sealing myself off from others, from loving people, from being afraid.
All of this is happening for me. Helping me crack open my heart a little more, pain included, to love more fully, completely and with more grit and determination. Loving when things are good is easy. Loving when things are hard, requires more. Often feeling like more than I have to give. But that is not why I believe I was spared the alcoholic death, God saw something in me that was useful. And so I got another chance at living. And my best use of that life is in service to those about me. To love, to serve, to give, to show up. To be whatever I can to whomever I can, day after day, despite all my shitty feelings.
Life is hard. This time right now for the world is hard. And I get to make a choice, be part of the problem or part of the solution. This is my choice today. I will let go of all my feelings of unfairness and resentment because they only lead me to a place that I hate. The bitter morass of self pity, which can only ever lead me to a drink and self destruction. And that seems like a really shitty thing to do with this second chance at life that I have been given.
So I leave you with this:
Just as I wish to, may you be safe, may you be healthy, may you live with ease and happiness. May you be free from the suffering of your own making and the making of others. May you find willingness to give instead of take, to love instead of hate, to be present instead of numb. May we all see that we are here, living, and that is the foundation of everything.