“Millions of years ago, the universe was filled with light elements. Those light elements came together to cook and form stars. And those stars grew into heavier elements, and in time went supernova. And those new heavier elements scattered across space, and ended up in our solar system and became planets. Our planet is made of star stuff, and out of the planet we came to be, therefore we are star stuff.”
How immense a thought is that … We are star stuff … profound !!!
The week is coming to an end. And the weather has changed. It is not so humid as it has been. It was a great night for shirtsleeves. There were a multitude of people out and about tonight. It is the final weekend of the Jazz Festival. All along the Metro stations, the platforms were full, and so were the trains, out and back.
People are eating up this wonderful weather. For as long as it lasts, we will take it, because we know, eventually, the weather will change as the seasons change.
I headed out early. In fact, a bunch of people headed out early, it was a group effort setting up tonight. We sat a good crowd, that was a good sign.
The reading … Brain Power Alone.
To the intellectually self-sufficient man or woman, many A.A.’s can say, “Yes, we were like you – far too smart for our own good. We loved to have people call us precocious. We used our education to blow ourselves up into prideful balloons, though we were careful to hide this from others. Secretly, we felt we could float above the rest of the folks on our brain power alone.
Scientific progress told us there was nothing man couldn’t do. Knowledge was all powerful. Intellect could conquer nature. Since we were brighter than most folks (so we thought), the spoils of victory would be ours for the thinking. The god of intellect displaced the God of our fathers.
But John Barleycorn had other ideas. We who had won so handsomely in a walk turned into all time losers. We saw that we had to reconsider or die.
Listening to all the folks share on this reading brought a multitude of remarks. The most profound was the thought at the top of this post. “We are star stuff.”
If you think you know everything and have all the answers, pondering how the universe came to be in all its profundity, is humbling.
Because what do we really know ? Very little.
And even the best minds of science admit that, even they, don’t know everything, and don’t have all the answers. Some of the stupidest things I have ever heard have come out of the mouths of so called “educated and intellectual people.”
I may not be the brightest crayon in the box. And I know I am not the most intellectually smartest man. I only got so far in my university education, until the point when my intellect could not rise to the occasion.
I learned that I was limited intellectually.
And I know that because of this story.
Growing up I learned many things.
By the time I graduated High School, I was an active alcoholic. And I barely survived. I told a truth, versus cheating, and the one class I needed to pass (math) I was the only one who did not have a copy of the final cheat sheet. So on the last page of my exam I wrote to my teacher that “I was the only one who did not cheat on this exam.” I passed and graduated.
Coming from an alcoholic home, I had little control. I was abused. My father had it out for me. And the only control I had was being able to shut and lock my bedroom door. That was my only safe zone. Until at least my father realized what that meant for me. Because then he took the door off the hinges and put the door in the garage.
Talk about Fucked up …
When I left home, woefully unprepared, I did not do much thinking. I did do a lot of drinking. I did not get much training in thinking while living at home.
I got a stab at learning how to think in dealing with my own mortality. I learned a great deal of things. But it wasn’t until I failed and fell that I admitted I was licked and that it truly was time to grow up, and that took some thought.
At a year sober, I was 35 years old. I returned to university and I worked on a degree in Religion and a second in Pastoral Ministry. It was a success. I spent the better part of seven years getting sober while in school.
Being an older student in a university filled with teeny boppers, and self centered girls who needed to be the center of attention ALL THE TIME, I had few friends. When I graduated the second time, the Theology department BENT OVER backwards to court me to join their department for an M.A.
When classes began the next fall, all of my fellows crossed the bridge into greatness, and EGO and self centeredness.
I did not get that memo…
I knew on the first day of class that I had not risen to the intellectual heights that my fellows had risen to. I was not one of them. Over time, I realized that although I thought I knew my friends, I really didn’t. And they sure as shit did not include me in their bestie club.
I had become intellectually stunted.
There is that all powerful rule in an M.A. program that “2 C’s and you’re out!”
As fast as I was courted into the program, they, (read: the administration) turned their backs on me in an instant. I went from celebrated student to persona non grata overnight.
That was a kick in the rubber parts for sure. And it was a bitter lesson and for a long time a bitter pill to swallow.
But I did not drink over it. I must have missed the memo on building my ego, or becoming better than others, and knowing all things. Because my friends, who became my fellows became Prideful Blown Up Balloons.
And reading this reading tonight, I knew and felt exactly what that meant.
I used to say that in the end, I knew who God is and who God is not. That became my tag line for a long time. But being sober this long, I am not so sure any more.
I don’t have all the answers, and I would not presume to say that I do.
And knowing who God is … is presumption.
And who am I to presume that knowledge. When every day God reveals himself to me in ways I did not or do not expect.
I see God in my friends.
They are kind, thoughtful, insightful and wise.
They are humble, they aren’t arrogant or prideful.
They are far from Prideful Balloons.
We try, on a daily basis to stay “Right Sized.”
I think that borne down to simplicity, tonight’s reading is a warning and a reminder that we need to be “right sized” to be who we are. Because if we become puffed up popinjay’s we will not be who we are or who we are meant to be.
I don’t need intellectual friends. Because NONE of those people are part of my life today. I need sober, right sized friends. And a sponsor who talks kindly and kicks my ass when necessary. And I got it in spades…
More to come, stay tuned …