Spiritual Experiences and Lessons
I went to a meeting the other night, one I don't normally go to, and the topic was (loosely) "Spiritual Experiences." Now, I came in late to that meeting, so I'm not sure if that was officially THE topic, but that's what I got out of it as I sat through it.
As I sat there and listened to the members talk, what kept nagging me in the back of my mind was one, simple spiritual experience that I get to be blessed with every single day...
I wake up.
In my past, I cursed my life the moment my eyes began to crack open. I hated waking up, I didn't want to be alive, yet I was. It's apparently true, "If you're waking up, God's not done with you yet." In the past, that had always made me angry.
Fast forward nearly three and a half years...
Today, my spiritual experience IS WAKING UP. I get to open my eyes, suck in fresh air, and place my feet onto the ground rather than drop them to the floor, or worse, wake up on the floor, sometimes nude, sometimes... well, just imagine trashcans, food, bottles, and articles of clothing spread across my bedroom floor while I'm sprawled out, er... perhaps don't imagine that... ya, probably better erase that part -- sorry 'bout that imagery... :(
But today, I wake up and I can smile, because I am alive, and even with the aches and creaks in my joints, I can sit up, place my feet onto the floor, and meditate and pray to the Universe of Life and Love. I can BE ALIVE. I can exist.
Today, I get to choose to be sober. I get to choose to help another person. I get to reach out when I am asked for help, and I get to refuse to help if and when I don't want or can't. I get to choose to take an event and make it training, or mope about how it didn't go as expected. I get to.
Anyway, I learned a lesson at that meeting that night, a lesson about who and how to ask and accept a request for assistance...
I had decided to go to the meeting that evening, and normally (especially with the weather conditions in Boise, ID) I would have taken my car. But for some strange reason, I opted to take my truck. Just simply on a whim. I'd been missing driving it, and so reasoned that the snow had melted just enough that I could drive it safely (it's a two-wheel drive if anyone is wondering).
After the meeting, just as we circled to close with a prayer, a member of the group asked specifically if there was someone with a truck that could take them home so they wouldn't have to ride in the slush. No one said anything, so I offered. I mean, why not? I just happened to drive my truck there, the bed was empty, and it wasn't going to take up much of my time. No biggie...
After the closing prayer, I came to realize that I may not be able to lift their ride into my truck on my own. Due to having slipped on ice just a day or two before, my shoulder and back were in pain. To further clarify, I had back surgery a number of years ago, and the cold weather can often cause my back to act up, so I baby it where I can. Anyway, moving along...
Because of this realization, I opted to ask around to see if anyone could help me lift the ride into the truck, and possibly follow me to help me unload it. I hadn't seen said ride yet, so I didn't know how large or small it was, only that it would fit into the back of a truck. I began to ask around, and the first person couldn't do it, as they had people to take home. But the second person told me that they could, so they asked someone else to help them load it, and between the two, it got loaded. I was grateful for that.
Without boring everyone with the details of the events that followed, here's the lesson I learned:
Although it is okay to help someone that is requesting help, I should never ask anyone else to help me help the person I'm trying to assist while we're in a room full of people. For one, it's not fair to the person I'm asking to have to go out of their way and go places they didn't want to go to begin with. For two, I can't expect them to say "No" if they don't want to help, because they were put on the spot, in a room full of people, and they didn't want to look like "the bad guy." I get that. Fair enough.
This was an important lesson for me, because I realized that I really put this person out when I asked them to help me help another person. And to boot, I didn't exactly give them a way out. They were "stuck," for lack of a better way to put it, unable to answer "no" because of all the people in the room.
Regardless as to what my intentions were, I may have really held up something that was important to that person; I was being highly inconsiderate of their time, and that lesson was a spiritual experience in-and-of-itself.
Moving forward, I will help those that I want to help, for whatever reason I choose to help them -- if and when I can -- but I will not ask anyone else to assist me without first seeing what I've got ahead of me, and specifically not in front of a crowd of people; it can put them out when they can't say "No" and it can potentially create a resentment that they don't need to carry. But that's another blog for another day.
Still, I can see that today. I can recognize where I've been in the wrong and take corrective measures for the next time. That didn't used to happen, because I was blinded by "having to wake up and breath." Those were dark days back then.
But today, I get to wake up, sober, and place my feet on the ground, help where I can, when I can, when I want to... or not. And that's a spiritual experience I am highly grateful for. It is something I wouldn't have ever experienced had it not been for recovery. I'm a blessed and grateful man these days.
How about you? What spiritual experiences are you grateful for today?