Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Taking Personal Inventory

Leaving a meeting this morning, a woman in a Subaru wagon flew out of a side street and cut in front of me. Neither of us was in any real danger of colliding because I was going slow enough to tap my brakes and give her a wide berth. Nevertheless, out of her driver's side window came the finger, the disrespect. Odd, I thought, since I hadn't exhibited any hostility towards her. She sped off, but I caught up to her at the red light. Just as I was pondering her furrowed brow and rapid hand movements (all evident in her side mirror), she leaned across the front seat and tossed a Dunkin Donuts bag out the window to the homeless man, panhandling, in the wheelchair on the corner. Her gesture (generous in spirit this time) got me thinking about duality, and my own struggle to keep it between the lines of grace and disgraceful behavior.

The lessons in this realm have come fast, furious, and with painful clarity to me in the last few weeks. I have been humbled by the power of one of the so-called maintenance steps on the road to recovery: "Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it." 

As of this writing, I have inventoried, and amended, three out of four blunders---blessedly to women in recovery who understand, cognitively and spiritually, how the program works. In doing so, I have had to examine my motives, and while the excavation process has not been pretty, it has served up profound and far-reaching lessons. The first amend was an overdue acknowledgment that I had failed to communicate my intentions at the group level. This sister graciously accepted my explanation. Next, I made a swift apology for carelessly blurting out information that had been shared with me in confidence. My harm, though unintentional, may have taken the surprise out of a surprise party planned for a loved one. Time will tell if my faux pas caused permanent damage to the friendship, and I must accept the outcome.

The third amend was a true demonstration of how the tenth step works. Several Saturdays ago, I used my concern for a male newcomer to spiritually clobber a woman I have known for years in my home group. I had ceremoniously dressed up a bad motive and masqueraded it as a noble one. Truth is, I stuck my nose into a matter that had nothing to do with me. This woman not only accepted my amend, she hugged me after the meeting yesterday. She told me she loved me. She forgave me, and in so doing, she encouraged me to forgive myself. Growing up in public can be messy, but like this same friend is fond of saying, "I'm not here to save face; I'm here to save my ass." 

1 comment:

  1. I love this one. In Al Anon we learn to behave this way, and the 10th step so far is my favorite. I used to beat myself up every day whether I needed to or not. Now I just make amends. Lovely.