Sunday Sundries – Celebrations

tumblr_ln3takPnYT1qemrxpo1_500 dyingwontkillyouCourtesy: Dying Won’t Kill You

Another weekend is in the books. Today is day 4 of Nuclear Antibiotic Treatment. I was warned that they are the strongest antibiotics on the market, and they are also doing a number on my innards. I was very sick to my stomach this morning. UGH !!!

It has been an interesting week, and I get glimpses of clarity here and there.

I’ve spent so many months, being all things to all people, to the degree that I forget to pay attention to my own needs, mentally and physically. I’ve been burning the candle at both ends for so long, that the time came when I got knocked out of rotation, because I got really sick.

My doctors warns me to take it easy. “Taking it easy and just being” is difficult when you are always moving and engaged. God, in His infinite wisdom, has done for me what I could not do for myself.

Only this weekend, my voice is starting to return.

I’ve been hitting meetings, here and there, but I am not back to full steam with all my responsibilities across town.

tumblr_m1lyltsDdZ1qgwqw9o1_500 pjbudI’ve been seeing the ugly side of my friends recently. And I don’t like what I am seeing, nor what I am hearing from their mouths. Sitting on Step Seven, God is showing me Character Defects and Shortcomings in the guise of my friends and fellows.

Everybody in the rooms is on their specific journey. Not all men and women sit at the same place on any given day. Some are taking it easy and trudging along as they are able, and for some of my friends, they are judgmental about the status progress of their fellows.

Judgmental enough to state that they have specific expectations of their fellows, and that, if you aren’t in it to win it, working your steps and being On Top Of Things 100% at their behest, that there is a certain price to be paid for lack of action.

And that price is the friendship and attention and care that some may bring others, because they feel as if they need to punish some for their inability to “get things done, on their time frame, to their liking.”

And I the thought came that those same friends who expect so much from others, aren’t even engaged in their own step work, none of them. Every time we bring that subject up, they are all busy.

I don’t suggest any work for any of my guys, unless I am it in myself. And I am.

How can you suggest something for another, and not be doing the same yourself?

A certain man I am working with is trying his best, and it hasn’t been a cakewalk.

But I stick with him, because I have faith in him. My personal motto is “You Don’t Turn your back on your friends, ever…”

Others do not share my vision. Having ongoing conversations with some of my friends, about what I can do, or what I should do, have been fruitless. Several suggestions were floated to try and get a pay out. But some of my friends, are unwilling to devote time to people, who aren’t in the solution, as they see fit. They either don’t have the time, nor are willing to spend the time necessary to see things through. (Oh, that’s too much work…)

After a heated conversation the other night, I spoke my opinion. That did not go over very well.

You don’t turn your back on your friends, ever …

That is treason to the soul.

Over the past month, my phone has rung less than usual. And I find that odd.

While I was here all summer long, keeping the meetings open and serving my fellows along with a rag tag handful of friends, who were not leaving the city, I did my best.

A second group of people were traveling the world, seeing other places, and working out of province. Now we are all back under the same roof. And everybody is where they are on the journey of life, as we speak.

We celebrated six months of clean and sober time last night, for one of my guys. And I opened the meeting and chaired, because our guy who was supposed to be there, was a no show.

I asked a friend of mine for a topic, and she suggested Step Seven. That was a fruitful discussion when all was said and done. The one word definition of Step Seven is “humility.”

When we need help, most of us, don’t realize we need help until it is too late. Or we think that we just could not ask for help, because we should man up/woman up, and do it ourselves. But that’s what our Higher Powers are for right?

Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

Most of us say we believe, but when push comes to shove, we forget our belief.

God, it seems, in lots of cases, seems to step in right when we need it, as we need it , as long as we need it. And that has been the case for my friends and myself as of late.

Tonight, I headed out for the Sunday Meeting. I was flying solo for set up, and I had only one chore for tonight, to give another of my men his first year medallion and cake. He has not had a drink for 365 days. We are all so proud of him.

Another of my friends, a fellow woman of our group, took a 24 year medallion and cake from her sponsor. It is still amazing to me every day, how much our women change when they get “into the work.” This is the model that I use for my guys. Reading the Book, doing steps, calling, tenth steps and honest hard work, really does pay off in the long run.

Many are at the stage in sobriety that they are “willing to go to any length to get sober.”

We hear that line read, every time we hear How It Works.”That if you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it, THEN you are READY to take certain steps.”

It took me almost twelve years in the rooms to understand quite succinctly, what that line really means. Because it happened to me. And it has happened to many others as well.

And so, with a little courage, and faith, we work with newcomers and each other. And we invite them to participate. The odds are against us/them. But there are those few who are ready to step up, because stepping back, would mean much more suffering.

The other line that means the world to me comes from A Vision for You …

“Obviously, you cannot transmit something you haven’t got.”

Wow, is that line packed with meaning. For how many years, did I have to trudge this road, to figure out succinctly, what that meant as well?

I had to practice the work and do it myself, and see the results come. Along the way, I was working with a sponsor who cares about me and is always there, work my own steps, go to meetings, hit retreats, and hone my message, and find that voice that suited me.

And voila … God did for me what I could not do for myself. And the men and women who were put in my path, came for a specific reason.

It has become seriously obvious that some of my friends, in the rooms, are sober, (or not so sober) at the moment,(read: Dry) are sick individuals. My sponsor warns me to steer clear of them, and do not react, and not to say a word.

He did tell me to pray for them for 21 days.

I just cannot understand how friends can turn on each other at the drop of a dime.

I watch them act around each other and myself. I listen to the words that come out of their mouths. This is where my sponsor warns me to be vigilant with my words, thoughts and actions, and to pray. The words are incongruous, and I don’t understand detestable language or action.

Friends don’t turn on each other, friends don’t disrespect each other, and once again I repeat, friends don’t turn their backs on their friends.

Sadly this is going on right in front of us at the moment.

I learned a while back, that people may be in the rooms, and have time, but not be very sober.

We have been seeing this thought play out in open community.

Steps Six and Seven take time to present themselves, at least that is how it happened for me.

The diligence of time, and the grace of God and not drinking, has its perks.

It was a good night, capped off with laughter and lots of cake.

In a few weeks time, I hit the 14 year mark.

One day at a time. And by the Grace of God.

More to come, stay tuned …

Thursday … “Your frothy Starbuck’s Drink …”

tumblr_lg42xmuNRI1qd2c7ao1_500 cutelgbtcouplesBeing married, has its perks … Because there is someone there to make it all better…

The last time I saw the baby, I got sick. That was more than three weeks ago. I thought that it would just be a cold or quite possibly a short lived flu… Wrong !!!

My cold just got worse. And added to that I was taking a new pill, and I could not differentiate whether it was the pill making me sick, or something else. When that question arises, in any situation, one should roll the clock back to the point where everything was well and good. And if you can pin point what it was, at that point that changed, one figures out what to do.

I stopped taking the pill, until I could prove otherwise, that IT wasn’t making me sick. All the while, I am spending way too much money on over the counter medication, cough syrup and other cold ending drugs. I had a problem. The simple shit wasn’t doing the trick.

Being immuno-compromised, you must always fear a bug getting worse. Your T- Cells, aren’t always going to work their magic. Sometimes shit gets past the sensors.

I had a laundry list for my doctor, whom I called first thing when I rolled out of bed.

My doctor is not in his office everyday of the week. So it was a shot in the dark to call and actually get his receptionist on the other end.

I am pumped up on over the counter shit, if I sleep on my right side, I wheeze and cough. If I sleep on my left side, I am clear to go. “problem!!!”

I had things to do and places to go, and there was nobody to do my sober chores for me. I got ready to go, and headed for the Metro. I had to make a trip all the way to the East end, to the inter-group office to pick up chips for my guys. UGH !!!

I had a call into my doctor by that point. He had not called back, so I called him again, before I got on the train, I needed to see him, today, if it was possible. I got the green light, to see him, so I ran my errands, because he was not expecting me until around 4.

I was headed way east, I hit my destination with plenty of time. Then I had to decide what to do next. I was on the far side of the grid which lends the ability to take the green line back into the grid and make a transfer to the line that will take me to the line I needed.

There are four lines … Green, Orange, Yellow and Blue.

carte_metro

Quick Metro lesson …

One the left you see Atwater on the green line. I live near that station. I traveled to Pie IX station on the far side East on the Green line. On the way back, I changed stations at Berri (see big yellow box) on the right hand side. This is one connection point between the two solitude’s, the green line and the orange line.

I needed to make my way to the Blue line, which is a trek up the Orange line to Jean Talon station, upper right hand section of the grid. I made my transit towards that doctors office, Which is on the Blue Line at Acadie.

Because to come all the way home, to go all the way back out was pointless.

I had confidence I would get in today, so I packed a book in my bag.

When I got to the doctors office, it was 2 o’clock. Doc told me not to show up before 4.

As is always, I always wait, I am always the last patient, sometimes that is a good thing, because I get ALL the time that I need.

I dressed in my most flashy, long sleeve Sunflower (read:Yellow), shirt.

I get to the doctors office, I walk upstairs, and the office is packed to the rafters, all the chairs were taken and there were men standing up waiting on their wives. In our Greek community, you never travel alone. People travel in packs.

Today I noticed a trend …

As I walked upstairs into the office, it was as if I was walking into a funeral home, being the brightest flower amid a sea of black. Everybody was dressed in black, the men included.

I felt like Luna Lovegood at the Weasley wedding… (10 points if you get that reference).

I had a book, I had a Pepsi, and I had M&M’s … I was good to go.

A few minutes later, I even got a chair to sit in.

I had wanted to ask that question … But it slipped my mind.

I saw my doc. He said I had a little right side pneumonia going on, and maybe a little Bronchitis while we were at it. He gave me some serious Nuclear Fusion antibiotics to take, and sent me on my way.

I left the house at 12:30 in the afternoon. I got home, at was six o’clock.

On the way OUT, I get to the mall, heading for the Metro, and I look up and god dammit, as I live and breathe, there are CHRISTMAS decorations hanging from the ceiling. On the way home, I walk home from that same mall, and wouldn’t you know it, The city has put up the damned flashy light Christmas decorations on the street poles.

Today is November 5th …

Isn’t there something that goes a bit like this:

“Remember, Remember the 5th of November.”

Yeah I will remember it because those damned Christmas decorations are up already !

A long day was had by all.

I completed an entire circuit of the Metro. Feeling strong, I popped a pill and waited for the evening event. The Thursday night meeting. It was time to get back on the hobby horse and give hubby a break, that break being me in the house all the time.

I saw some friends that crossed my path over the weekend, last. There was conversation.

Before I knew it, it was 2 minutes to eight.

I ran back inside, thankfully we had our seats saved with jackets.

Our woman spoke. As she was introduced, she got to the table, and rearranged herself a bit, looked up at us, she took a deep breath, as tears swam in her eyes, and she said the following:

“My husband just walked in the doors!”

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house after that.

In the end we celebrated five and twenty eight years, respectively.

Five years is a good chunk of time, when you get there.

You come in, and you make your months, then your year, and get that medallion. If you stay sober, you get a silver oval chip at two years, that is a milestone for us, because that silver oval two year chip, gets dipped in gold and you get it again at ten years.

The next stop on the time line is Five years. It is the first marker of serious time.

Then you hit Ten years, Fifteen, Twenty, and multiples thereafter.

Last week we celebrated over sixty years in the same room. And tonight, one of the sponsors, thought out loud, to the rest of us … “Who was here sixty years ago?” Our woman has been in that room for more than twenty herself.

We hopped a bus right away, on the way home.

As I crossed Ste Catherine’s Street towards my building, I got into the slip stream of several people, walking in the same direction I was, walking towards my building. Everybody was walking at their speeds, some making ways for others, and some passing others, left or right, giving them wide berths as not to interrupt their gait…

I pulled up, behind a young woman in white “come fuck me pumps…”

She was headed for my building.

Now it either goes like this, One, you have the key to the door, Two, they have a key to the door, or Three, They are going to wait until you let them in the door while they pay not one ounce of attention to you while in the vestibule.

She was aloof and sucking very hard on some kind of Starbucks frothy drink.

She did not, in any way, notice who I was, nor that I had opened the door. She just floated in the door, unaware, while she was sucking on her drink.

We got in the elevator, and she got off a few floors up. Once again, not even a look !

Yes, dear girl in the “Come fuck me pumps” I opened the door for you, and you didn’t even acknowledge I was even there…

UGH !!!

God give me strength…

Thursday – Some People Don’t make It !

tumblr_m187ytnKBN1r3fvxmo1_500 thedarkblueThe weather is definitely cooler. The trees have begun their turns. Lots of yellows in the neighborhood. But I haven’t noticed bursts of color in other parts of my commute, as of yet. I was standing on my balcony today and noticed the trees.

The first holiday of the “2015 Holiday Season” is just days away. I went book shopping the other day and I noticed as I came down the stairs to the check out, that they had CHRISTMAS CARDS, out for sale. We are the beginning of October right now. I stepped up to the checkout and looked at the young lady behind the counter and said …”Christmas cards, really, REALLY !!!”

God Give Me Strength !

I’ve finished my read of The Great Reformer, Pope Francis.

It’s difficult not to love a man who lives simply, loves deeply and wants to bring Jesus to the people in every walk of life. A man who calls us to serve, “the least of these” because we can and we must. He wants to build community across racial, socioeconomic, ethnic and religious borders.

The church has had its stance on several fronts that hasn’t changed since the 1960’s. Some of these stances are never going to be changed, and others, it seems are on the table for discussion.

The Pope came to the U.S. with a specific goal in mind. He stayed away from Hot Button issues, however the Papal Nuncio to Washington, who famously, served in the Vatican during the run up to the conclave that elected Jorge Bergoglio pope. He had a major faux pas in bringing that anti-Christ woman to meet the pope. He clearly failed and we are told may pay dearly for that appearance.

One must admire a man, who has stayed “on message” for most of his priesthood. Prior to the Dirty War, Jorge Bergoglio saw the world in a specific way and he treated his priests and others, in a way that was not so papal. Jorge’s saving grace was his spiritual transformation that turned his world upside down. The message changed. And a man who only served the church became a man who served the people. And that changed the entire ball game.

The Pueblo Fiel, the People of God, are the most important part of church. Without them, there is no church. Francis’ entire ministry hinges on serving everyone. And that goes for everybody. Although Francis has shared certain words on specific subjects, the fact that he welcomes “everybody” is telling. We are all people of God, no matter our orientation, background, sin or omission.

If we don’t go out and love our brothers and sisters, who is going to do that for us ?

You might want to judge Pope Francis on his few words, or on what he might be saying, from behind the safety of Vatican walls, but you cannot ignore how Francis goes about his days and nights, the austerity in which he lives, and the way he sees church, which is a total 180 degree change from the Old Guard Papacies.

It is written that Pope John Paul II was a great man, who certainly had his faults. No pope is perfect, as Jorge reminds us. Nobody is perfect. Only God is perfect. I relate the story on one Christmas, before John Paul II became infirm, a group of Cardinals came to greet the pope and ignored the Swiss Guard standing at attention outside the residence. They did not greet him, nor did they acknowledge him either.

Afterwards, Pope John Paul II came outside and spoke to the young man and had a chair for him to sit down, because the Pope had brought him some food to eat. The guard replied that he cannot sit down, “on the job!”

The Pope replied … Well, I am the Pope, have a seat and eat this treat …

This story is a highlight in Pope John Paul II’s reasons for canonization.

When Francis was elected, he shunned extravagance. He paid his bills like any other priest. He rebuffed the papal suite and rooms to go with it. Like John Paul II who wore hand me downs, and very little expensive clothing, Pope Francis is particularly similar to John Paul II in many ways.

I am highly literate on John Paul II.

Pope Francis lives in Casa Santa Marta in a small 2 room apartment. He shares his meals and masses with those who work in the area, in the Vatican, and the residence. He does his daily prayer and meditation to start out every day at 4:30 in the morning.

He works during the day, and at night, he goes into his rooms and changes into simple street clothes, and goes out to meet the poor, to serve them and to be with them. His outreach to the “least of these” is an example of a holy man who forgoes the trappings of Church, and simply goes out and does what is right.

His concern for “the people” and as well, his Church, is indicative of a man who came to Rome, not expecting to become Pope. He had asked certain people back in Argentina to continue their jobs, that he would be back very soon.

As we know, things change. In a very simple but direct address to the cardinals in the pre conclave meetings, swung the pendulum in his favor. And it was because of that 170 word speech, Jorge Bergoglio became Pope.

He never got to go home again. And after becoming Pope, he still calls his friends, and invites them to visit, and he has brought the world he came from, into the world at large.

Before you judge someone or rely on preconceived notions about Pope and the Church, I highly recommend you read what has been written about Francis. It was a truly enjoyable reading.

**** **** ****

Some People Don’t Make It

Another Thursday and another speaker. This night was reserved for our local DCM. That would be “District Committee Member,” who serves our district of the Island of Montreal fpr the area.

I, for example, hold a position as GSR for one of my home groups. That would be “General Service Representative” The GSR is the go between the group and the district. We meet once a month, to discuss news, hold workshops and do service for our specific groups.

Anyways …

The main message from her tonight was this … We should be so grateful for what we have, and to recognize just what we have in the rooms. That our program is one of “Spiritual Transformation,” that in order to reap the benefits, we heard it again tonight, we must be prepared to go to any length.

It seems the women have the market on this call.

They know what to do, and they do it gladly and willingly.

Some women suffer much more than the men do. And maybe this is why they work it as hard as they do. And some of us men, emboldened by their example have adopted their practices.

Some alcoholics come from alcoholic homes. And others come from homes where they never saw their parents take a drink. Many of us have siblings who drank, got sober, and either by their example we followed in their footsteps, or we got here on our own steam, many of those siblings went back out and paid the ultimate price.

I know, that a good number of our membership have lost family members to the disease of alcoholism. Which makes it a little more personal, why we stick so close to what we have and we go to any length to keep this going, even in the worst of times.

In the end, one of our men took 31 years. There was lots of Cake to go around.

There is only one book I need to read in order to understand where I come from, and quite possibly where I might be going if I stick around long enough to see the miracle happen for myself and my friends.

A good night was had by all.

More to come, stay tuned …

Thursday – Feed the “Right” Fire

tumblr_ntaba8OmhQ1uaouwuo1_500

Our local weather has indeed turned. We are sitting at (10c) at this hour.

Last night it was cool enough to warrant a little heat, just to break the chill. Today, as it happened, I crated the A.C. for the Winter. We won’t need it again this year. It was cool and comfortable all day, but as the sun went down, it was markedly cooler.

I broke out the winter jacket and my toque collection.

It is October already, can you believe it? Thanksgiving is not far away. The second Monday in October, but I always cook on the Sunday. And This year I have a full table, with the addition of Baby Mama and Baby LuLu. Which meant, today, I went to my local butcher shop and ordered a 15 lb turkey that will be in on Monday for pick up.

It was a full day of coffee dates and get togethers. I had more coffee today than I usually drink in a weeks time. My tummy is not happy at all.

We headed out for our usual Thursday fare. And a very good friend of mine was in the hot seat.

I’ve known her since she came in. I’ve been present for her, at several meetings in town. And tonight, we got to hear her share.

Oh to be young again.

It is, on one hand, great to see young people in the rooms. But at the same time, it is terribly sad to know that alcoholism is an equal opportunity predator. I was as young as she, when I came in the first time. But I lacked a lot of what I see today in our young people. And I don’t see it the same way in many people, but there are a select few who, have learned about:

“Feeding the right fire.”

I haven’t heard those words in a long time from any of my friends, put so succinctly.

Once a fire is lit, in order to keep that fire burning, we need to feed it with fuel. And for many of us, as young people, we learned of “fire” and were enamored by it. It was warm and soothing, and in the beginning, it kept us warm and shed light on our pains, and fears.

More like, burned away our pains and fears …

But like many, once that fire was lit, it felt so good, that we heaped all the fuel onto that fire that we could to keep the burn going for as long as we could.

Sadly, in the end, we all came to that terrible “Crash and Burn” end.

Some end up in jail, some end up in hospital, many end up dead.

My young friend, at the end, was lying in a tub of water, a broken bottle on the side, and thinking that she could not go on any longer, contemplated joining the “27 Club.”

Ten points if you get that reference …

Most women I know, when the end comes or life takes a serious turn, they do what comes natural, “they call their mothers.”

That started the ball rolling, not to mention closing up shop, moving provinces, and living under “family rehab” as she put it.

She, like many, fed that fire of addiction to its bitter end. She had to stamp it out, once and for all. And she needed help. Months later, she came to us. Now she is one of our gang.

A beautiful young woman of courage, faith and beauty.

She talked of spirituality, that which she chooses to call God. And she warned us tonight that recovery is no laughing matter. And is not for the feint of heart.

Shit is going to get real, and it is going to take work.

Those who begin and end their days praying and meditating, interspersed with meetings, inventories, sponsors, and sponsees down the line, learn about the “Right Fire.”

Spirituality is a fire, that when lit, will warm our hearts and keep us warm in the cold. Because alcoholism is a cold and patient predator. But if we learn early on, what that fire means for each of us, that becomes powerful, personal flames.

Today we feed the Right Fire. And we do what is necessary to keep that fire burning.

Because we all know, each of us, what it felt like to get burned from the inside out, gong down in a hail of drugs and alcohol. It wasn’t pretty in the end.

But as young people, we get sucked into bad fire, and once sucked in, we are on for the ride until it kills us.

Thankfully, our young people lived through burning destructive fire.

Now they are here, safe, clean and sober. They never have to go back.

The rooms might not have been where they really wanted to end up, but for most, I can safely say today, was the best choice they have all made in their lives.

And I get to know these young people.

The best part of my community is that young people are so glad to have us.

That thanking hug was the best part of the night.

Not to mention giving my number to a man, on his valiant return after a slip.

Pray for him.

Feed the RIGHT fire within …

Thursday … “Siempre Adelante …” Always Moving Forwards

20140127-pope-x624-1390859938Tonight, Pope Francis is in New York City.

“Siempre Adelante …” Always move forwards,

is a motto Pope Francis has shared for years and years.

I’ve listened to what Pope Francis has said so far. And he has stuck to a theme, a Catholic Theme of being “Our brother’s keepers,” “Charity,” “Being good stewards to the earth,””Respect for life,” and that we should go out from our homes and serve the least of these with all that we have, because as Christians, we are called to serve.

Along this process, I am reading, “The Great Reformer,” about Pope Francis.

Last night, as I was reading, I came across a sermon that the young Archbishop Bergoglio was giving to the church in Argentina. And I found that the message he was sharing so long ago about people, the “Pueblo Fiel,” and what a nation must do to build up its people, to care for the poor and to take care of the world, is the very same message Pope Francis has spoken in the U.S.

Along with his words, are words that come from politicians, who believe they know something particular of the Holy Father, and they speak with indictments against him. One Marco Rubio says that “The pope know nothing about the poor, and also that he wasn’t a scientist, so should keep his counsel to himself.”

I beg to differ…

Jorge Bergoglio was a Jesuit who worked in the Jesuit order for his entire adult life, until he left the order upon assuming the Throne of Peter. He worked in the slums of South America, with the poorest of the poor. Many Jesuit priests worked with the poor, much to the consternation with the church hierarchy, and at one point, with Jorge Bergoglio himself.

Which leads to the term the Pope of the slums …

Jorge Bergoglio is also schooled in science. He is very well learned for a pope.

It was the issue between many of the priests who worked in the favelas, who thought that their work was too important to be stopped. And two priests lost their licenses and ended up being kidnapped by the guerrillas and held captive and tortured.

When American politicians speak about what THEY think is the truth about the Pope, and try to indict him, those men should really shut their damned mouths.

There are common themes that Pope Francis repeats over and over again. They are themes that were born when Francis was a young Jesuit. And as he rose in the ranks of the church, his influence only grew. And the words became flesh for him, in the way he worked so hard for the “pueblo” and what he saw as justice, charity and peace.

We could all learn a little about the life of Francis, and what he sees and believes as important.

But we need to dig a bit deeper to learn that knowledge. The papacy of Francis is still young, but there is a wealth of words written about him, if you know where to look.

I think the themes of Charity, Love and Caring for others is universal. In his speech to Congress today he quoted the Golden Rule …

“Do unto others, as you would have them do unto You.”

**** **** ****

It has been a challenging few days indeed. I work every day to be present and accountable; consistently. If it were possible, I could use a few more “me’s” right about now.

I had a conversation with a friend the other night. And I am confused as to why people are the way they are. I am powerless over people. And sometimes I place unattainable expectations on them, knowing, that I am flirting with stupidity.

To this end, still, people continue to astound me with their selfishness and self centeredness.

I am not preaching from some lofty perch, like God. And I am surely not arrogant to think I hold sway over anyone except myself. I hear my friends speak words, and they don’t ring true. I have implored my friends with things to do. Certain, Specific, things that need to be done.

We must succeed, or else, great failure is at hand.

We must go out and serve our brothers and sisters with all that we have, if we are able. I am able, and I devote serious time to that outreach work. The more I talk, the less goes into action, by any of the people I need to act. Before I speak, I consider my words carefully. And the other day I found an opportunity to talk and I did that. Hoping that it would bring results.

I am saddened to say, nothing has changed.

I was talking to my friend and I told her my story. Well, one big story. To demonstrate where I learned to be present, accountable and consistent. And she does not dispute my abilities.

But she said to me that There is only one of me. And she fears that I will burn out and go away when I have had enough. I’ve learned that lesson, I am in it to win it.

But she is of the mind that every human being needs three Strong, Present, and Consistent people to guarantee their survival. She doesn’t have those three people. She has me and one other woman, who’s mother is suffering with Alzheimer’s Disease, but when needed she shows up and attends to what needs to be done. The other couple of folks, are unreliable, and inconsistent and can’t be depended on, not for lack of trying, but the lack of desire to be 100% present.

We all have lives. But one of our number is in dire need of support and I do not know what to do for her but to repeat, as often as I can, that right now, I am here.

I fear that message isn’t going to be enough to ground her permanently.

If I can’t get any other players into the game, and things don’t start looking up soon, my friend is going to pack up herself and the baby and go back to New Foundland. Forever.

I don’t know what else to do. My words fall on deaf ears, and my friends are unable to rise to the occasion. And that IS a problem, that I have no solution for.

In the end, I am only one man. I am not God and I can only do so much.

**** **** ****

I drank, I stank and I sank …

That is the short version of the share we heard tonight.

One of my friends spoke tonight. It was simple and to the point. In seeing another alcoholic drink, get drunk, loose his family, his job, his home and end up sleeping in the park, our man got sober.

Coming in, at first, he believed we’d all be brown baggers, dirty clothed, and sleeping in the park, but much to his surprise, we were happy, clean and well dressed people who welcomed him.

It was the commonality, the identity, and the honesty that kept him.

And for more than twenty five years, our man hasn’t had a drink since.

Tomorrow is Friday. We’ll see what that brings with it.

More to come, stay tuned …

Sanctuary – There are so many facets

je suis europe

If Jesus walked among us today, what would he say about the state of the world, as we are seeing it right now? Would he be angry, Would he agree with the way the world is reacting to the “least of these” Would he say that we need to buck up and do what is right in the eyes of God ?

Hundreds of Thousands of human beings, (in Europe they call them just “Migrants”) this word does not do justice to those who are, for all intents and purposes, “the least of these.”

In the Middle East, there are problems that are way beyond the abilities of nation states to change, stop, or even make a dent in. I don’t talk about the Middle East, because it is not my area of study. Religion and Theology are my areas of study.

Radical Islam, is entrenched in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and other nations. This is not new news. And the battle between Islam and the rest of the world has been going on for centuries. The Caliphate would like you to believe that it is their goal to convert the infidels to Islam, so that we would pledge to the powers that be, our allegiance. And they would occupy the world unchallenged.

The rise of Isis, is a blight on humanity. We have had many chances to stop them. We have wasted every chance we have had to stop them now. We can’t just bomb them out of existence, because of the human shield factor, protecting them from further destruction.

As they moved in, the people began moving out. What do you do with all the people who had been settled in one area of the world, when they leave that area in search of sanctuary somewhere else? What do you do when an entire portion of the world’s population decides to get up and go somewhere else, because of terrorists and Islamic murderers are killing them and others with impunity?

So we have hundreds of thousands of Muslim human beings, seeking sanctuary in Europe. A place, light years from where they have come. We have nations of religious men, women and children on the move.

Islam, as a whole is moving from where they were, to where they want to go.

How do we accommodate these people?

Religious sensibilities say that, well some say that, we should not allow them sanctuary in Europe, that they must go home, or at least go somewhere else, any place else but here.

Because that would upset the fine balance of religion, sectarianism, and ethnic diversity.

You just can’t allow a population to be invaded by another religious faction into a world that may not and probably certainly will not accommodate them.

There is a definite religious divide here.

We must remember that beneath the label of Muslim, these people are Human Beings first.

We cannot allow the world to minimize them into the category of Migrants.

If Europe thinks they are under fire, and they are, we need a new game plan. These human beings need safety, they need sanctuary and they need peace. They need homes.

And that costs money, money they don’t have to spend, nor do Europeans have themselves to give to the poorest of the poor. It just does not work that way.

In the end someone is going to have to pay for this massive human migration. And on whose doorstep do you lay this burden?

It is an impossible question to ask.

But we have been seeing for months, men, women and children are dying by the thousands on rickety boats trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea. This is a tragedy of immense scale.

These people have nothing to go back to, nor return to the homes they once had, because of the radical ideology of terrorists, and their cut throat way of life. Where there once was the cradle of creation, there is now a wasteland of destruction.

When do we say that we have had enough of this and we set a new goal in mind to rid the world of this scourge on humanity, and we take them out, once and for all and we eradicate them off the face of the earth by any means necessary.

But to do this would incur certain collateral damage on a grand scale.

What do we do with all this land that is now populated by insurgents? They are killing indiscriminately, Westerners and their own. They have gone as far as eradicating historical sites off the face of the earth, because they are in congruent with radical Islam.

Migrants are human beings, no matter what religion they profess. Thousands upon thousands of those human beings are children. Are we going to deny them a future because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time? What are we supposed to do with these families, searching for sanctuary?

Can we afford to slam doors in their faces and build fences to keep them out ?

We can’t surely repatriate them back into Syria or Iraq or other Islamic countries that have forced them out with no real place to go.

They say that this “migration” is the largest migration of people we have seen since World War II.

This human migration is just that, A HUMAN MIGRATION. These are people. People who should be afforded the right to find a home somewhere where they will be safe, and be able to prosper and live without the fear of radical murderers coming to kill them.

But there is just so much space in other parts of the world. What do you do when you add tens of thousands of humans to already existing populations of people all over Europe ? Where do you put them, where do you make space for them ?

The next question is … “Who’s going to pay for all of this ?”

They say that You can’t get something for nothing in this world. Security comes with a cost. And we know, world-wide that millions of people live in “Insecurity and Poverty.” Now we have these humans migrating someplace else, who have nothing and carrying what they can on their backs.

Can we say they are the poorest of the poor? Having been forced from home only to go on the road to hopefully find someplace that will take them in ?

How far does hospitality reach? And are we obligated to extend the hand of hospitality to anyone who shows up on our door step? North America is safe in that we don’t have to worry about the European migration. We do have to worry about the migration on our southern border of the United States. That is an entirely different thread…

So many people with nowhere to go, trying to find sanctuary.

If we want to stop this migration, we need to step up and STOP the war and conflict.

But in order to stop this scourge on the earth would need a decisive attack plan, that seems to me, there is only one way to eradicate them off the earth. But this plan would certainly incur massive collateral damage. It is the only way to really know for sure they are gone is to wipe them off the earth with the only tool we have that would certainly do the job, because we have used it before.

But we swore we would never use it again. And right now the world is in consultation in making sure that certain countries enter non-proliferation treaties.

Then we get the shit end of the deal, that if we use this tool, that land would be unlivable so who ever is left, we would need to find a home, along with the millions of people who are now displaced.

This is a No Win Scenario …

There is no winning any route we take to stop the violence and repatriate human migrants from Europe, back to where they came from.

The worlds nations do not have the balls, nor inclination to do anything substantial that would stop the cycle of violence. We’ve allowed violence to disrupt an entire section of the world.

We’ve not done anything to make it stop. And this is a no win scenario.

These issues are fraught with complications. This is just scraping the surface of what needs to be done for the least of these at the moment.

More to come, just not tonight.

Stay tuned …

Thursday – The Blank Page Syndrome

sidneysheldonThe weather has been stellar these past few days. It was breezy cool this evening when we left for the meeting. Lows will be steady in the teens for the next week. It will be a full weekend, with the best night of the week tomorrow and the walk home, which I look forward to.

Saturday is going to be warm and sunny, which will be good, because the area is hosting a Sober Family Day on the west end of the city at the Loyola Campus of Concordia University. I got a free ticket tonight from a friend, so I will be going with Baby Mama and Baby LuLu.

For the past two weeks, I have made some significant progress with the baby. For a long time she would not let me hold her, and she would always want to be with mama, but as of late, she is coming around to me, little by slowly. She is happy when I visit and she is engaged and when I visit she goes nuts with her books and stuffed animals, passing them back and forth between me and mama. Wednesday nights, I carry over and cook dinner, this tradition was to make sure that they eat a good meal during the week, and to allow the baby to get to know me.

On Tuesday I was over for a bit before the meeting, and when it was time to leave, I put on my backpack and started for the door, LuLu took both mama and I’s hands and she walked us both to the elevator. That was the first time that she was comfortable holding my hand. And the last week, baby LuLu even lets me hold her, and she stays … that is big !!!

It’s all good.

I’ve begin writing this week. It is sometimes intimidating when you are looking at a blank page, because you need to write something, and sometimes I need to think about how I am going to write and about what. I have my outline, and there are stories that are on the surface, that I can write about. They are not necessarily in outline order. So I am collecting word documents on my desktop of the stories I can comfortably write about.

I still need to talk to my aunt about some things about the family portion of the story. I don’t want to end up telling a story about speculation, but of facts. I need to take care of this sooner than later.

Tonight we heard a friend speak.

They say, that if you stick around long enough, you will eventually hear someone tell your story. I think we hit that marker tonight. This lady friend, has been sober a while, and I had never heard her share, but she hit many familiar topics, and had several similar experiences in her life that I had in mine. She has had her process growing from a drunk into a woman who has emotional sobriety.

I did not get to speak to her after, but I will chat with her when I see her over the weekend.

How do children who grow up in negative homes grow up into mature, emotionally sober adults when we carry around negative baggage from our parents? She seemed to have conquered that dragon, as I have my own.

Like our thanker said tonight, our parents, who told us we were mistakes when we were kids, we are all grown up now, and we should thank those adults because we are beautiful people. And if it were not for them, we would not be here.

It was a good night.

More to come, tomorrow night.