Answers in the Heart, June 15
“The last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Victor Frank
There are days in recovery when life in recovery seems like a bad play we are unable to walk out on. It would be wonderful, if after we’d bottomed out, we started recovery and made nothing but progress for the rest of our lives. Recovery, however, isn’t like that. It’s a day at a time, a step at a time, a problem at a time. We struggle sometimes with no idea of where we’re going. We discover that our brothers and sisters in recovery are fallible, just as we are. Sometimes we want to throw up our hands and say “Is this what recovery is like?”
The answer is yes and no. To modify our unrealistic expectations, change our attitudes, and work humbly on our character defects teaches us how to live life beyond powerlessness. Yes, we will sometimes run out of patience with the process of recovery. But we can never go back to how we lived before; we know too much. We can feel the feelings, yes, but despair and give up for good? Never.
If today is a difficult day, I will still be hopeful. I’ll act as if and have faith that things will get better.
Fifteen years ago today, I got a call from my stepfather saying my mother had had a heart attack and was not expected to live. I rushed with my sister and niece to make the two hour trip to reach her, praying for the chance to make it there, and for her to live. But during our trip, she died and there was no chance to say goodbye. My mother had been my safe haven, that source of love I never had to doubt. I thought I would die from the sadness I felt.
As today’s reading promises, every year my sadness has lessened, my acceptance and understanding has grown, and things have become better. Back then, I could never have said that my mother died so that I could have the chance to begin the healing process from my childhood sexual abuse. Back then I would never have admitted that my mother knew about that abuse and was emotionally incapable of doing anything to stop it. Back then, I simply could not have admitted that my mother was anything but perfect.
Today, because she often told me, “You have to work out your own salvation,” I am in recovery and I am able to say that in dying my mother was saved from the 25 years of abuse she herself endured from my stepfather and she allowed me to begin my own unraveling from a lifetime of lies.
I still miss you, Momma, but I am thankful that I know you in a whole new way, as you are, not as I imagined you to be. You can rest easy that I love you just the same, which gives me hope that I too can be loved, flaws and all. Thank you for the lessons you continue to share even in death.
5 months ago