Topic for the week:
“Peace is possible for me only when I let go of expectations. When I’m trapped in thoughts about what I want and what should be coming to me, I’m in a state of fear or anxious anticipation and this is not conducive to emotional sobriety. I must surrender – over and over – to the reality of my dependence on God, for then I find peace, gratitude and spiritual security.” Daily Reflections, p. 197, And Letting Go of It.
Or anger or frustration or contempt or despair. When I’m trapped in thoughts about I/me/my wants/needs/deserves/entitled to’s…well, I’m miserable. And chances are good my misery will slop out onto you. Self-centeredness is sloppy stuff. It complicates everything, doesn’t it? It’s a fascinating thing, having been in the program for a while now, to be able to recognize this about myself thanks to the Steps, not wanting to be mired in my ego pit, and yet, there I be. Eventually, sometimes quickly sometimes slowly, I realize that I’m trying to tread water in quicksand, and I holler for help. Friends in the program, my sponsor, anything from the archives of AA, but the ultimate authority in these situations is always HP, my God.
Example in point: my husband is a depressed, active alcoholic; my sister, for whom I am guardian, is mentally ill and in declining health; my daughter is getting married in September, a ‘destination wedding’ here in WI from their home base of San Diego, CA. Lots of fragile plates spinning on the top ends of thin sticks like some kind of magic trick. It’s my job to keep them spinning or they’ll surely come crashing down and shatter, so spin I must. Right?
Well, no actually, Julie, neither the plates nor the sticks nor the spinning are your job. These are real life people with real life challenges in a spinning, often off-kilter world. My job is to recognize that God’s in charge, not me. My job is to come alongside my husband and love him in the midst of his disease and depression. Come alongside, not push or pull or persuade, but be present and patient, as God is with me. My job is to love my sister just as she is, same as she has always loved me, just as God has and does. My job is to step aside as my daughter and her fiance plan the wedding of their dreams, not mine, hoping only that God’s invited to the ceremony.
When I let go of expectations, when I stop trying to control people or outcomes, which is impossible anyway, and let it, and them, be, I stay out of God’s way. I stay out of my husband’s, my sister’s, my daughter’s way, and leave room for what will be, despite myself. I respect and honor their individual journeys. When I loosen my grip and let go, the tension and stress and anxiety and fear can slip from my grasp. I’m free to pick up hope, trust, and to hold faith that the same God who carries me has the people I love in his strong arms, too. If I pay attention, watch and listen to what He’s doing, I may even get the opportunity to contribute, if He allows it. But I can’t do that if my eyes are always on me, myself, and I.
Let go + Let God = Peace. A simple formula that proves out every time. Please share your experience, strength, and hope on this or anything that’s part of your sober road journey right now. Thank you for the opportunity to chair this week’s meeting.