Thursday, July 30, 2009

Knowing Jim the way I do he would tell you, "I like Wednesdays, of course I like any day I get up. I also like Tuesdays and Thursdays; my tennis days. Saturdays and Sundays more tennis, occasional church and travel to Nashville to visit the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Mondays are catch up around the house day. But getting back to Wednesday the highlight of the day is going to the noon meeting followed by a meditation group."

The AA meeting and the Contemplative Prayer (meditation) group held in the same church are both spiritual (non-religion bound). Steeped in the way of the Higher Power and God as 'I understand God", Jim and I lean toward simplicity in our spiritual life. We definitely flinch at any religion claiming they have the only true way to God.

After all the churches I've attended and the books I have read since getting to know Jim, I have come full circle and agree to what Johnny, Jim's first sponsor, suggested to him. "Keep it simple, your problem is you think of God as out to get you or that God doesn't exist at all. Why the hell don't you just pray, God if there is a God help me? Then sit down, take a quiet time and just listen and don't be surprised if the voice you hear simply says call your sponsor or get off you butt and help someone else."

Johnny was always eager to share his understanding of God.
" It was in the first weeks of my last drink.(1954). I was standing at the window of my skid row room in Chicago.I was playing in the dust on the window sill waiting for my ride to an AA meeting; thinking how in just these few weeks how my life had changed. I knew my life was finally headed in a different direction. As I formed the words Good Orderly Direction, it became immediately evident to me. This new direction in my life was God; Good Orderly Direction."
Johnny was the product of simple mountain religion, I in turn was the product of thirteen years of formal religion training. Johnny's wisdom far exceeded my education.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Just for today--the long haul

Went out running this afternoon. Ran into Jim as I usually do. Love to run. It's a great time apart, alone with my Higher Power, just flimsy shorts and running shoes. Almost naked before God and man. It's my time for meditation. Good for the soul and pretty good for the body also. Dr. Sheehan, a heart surgeon and running guru back in the eighties and nineties had this to say about his daily routine. " The first three miles of my run is for my body, the second three are for my soul." The good doctor like myself and Jim found ourselves bankrupted, physically, mentally and spiritually in midlife. When he came to that turning point, he recognized how powerless he was, cried out for help, surrendered, changed his life and was running marathons into his sixties. As he went around the country lecturing, his pitch on health and running emphasized that it was a spiritual journey contingent on daily maintenance. He urged everyone to stick with a daily routine as it would serve them well for the long haul. The first time we heard him speak we were hooked. We ran our first marathon at age fifty.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hi all
My wife and I spent Friday night and most of Saturday with friends Bob and Carol, at the their mountain top home. Their home is nestled amongst firs under a canopy of blue sky and a short path down to the lake. The place is a picture postcard of paradise. The only sounds are the cicadas, the birds and the rustle of the trees.
After paddling around the lake we picked cucumber, tomatoes, and green beans out of their garden for our supper on Friday. The next morning with coffee mug in hand we would again visited the garden for our breakfast fare of blueberries, strawberries, blackberries.
We and our friends have much in common. We savor the simple life, the fellowship of AA and our gratitude for our Higher Power and His/Her grace in our lives.
I asked Bob. "How's your son doing?"
"Still sober, going to meetings, has a job and is paying off his court costs and his bills. Been a year now that he's out of treatment. He still has a number of hoops to go through and he turns thirty soon. But....well... we'll take it one-day-at-a-time" We're going to Family Anonymous; it's been great for us."
I agreed. "One-day-at-a-time. My wife and I had felt the same way when our son had returned from treatment."
Our son a paraplegic , age 45 died an alcoholic death in a Tampa emergency room four years ago
God's will, not mine.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

First Half-Second Half-Jim's story

Much has been written about life's journey and our passage through two stages of life. The objective of the first half of life is all about the development of the ego. We sprint into life urged on by society and family to achieve, to succeed. Our collections of top grades, the biggest houses, the fastest cars bear witness that we can do it. We become first rate doers. While we appear to all the world to be successful, why is it we feel incomplete, our life's hollow? We feel there is something missing because we have fed only the ego, the false self. We have neglected the true self, the soul, the being not the doer. For healthy development we need both the ego and the soul which demands the constant practice of maintaining a balance between the two.
We come to a turning point. For some of us its a natural thing, followed by the red convertible, career change or insight into what is important in our lives. For others we need a two-by-four across the side of our head. A traumatic experience of powerlessness over our compulsions and addictions, that our life is a complete mess. We ask for help to save our butts and end up saving out souls. We discover we are not god and so begin the search for a Higher Power.
My friend Jim is one of those who needed the two-by-four.
I'll let him share with you on his journey in subsequent blogs.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Softball and Blogging

I started my blog on Thursday of last week and then drove to Nashville to participate in a Super Seniors Softball Tourney Friday. Played six games in less than twenty four hours. I have a routine of playing tennis three times a week and run but haven't played softball since in my twenties. I came back exhausted, full of bruises and a pulled leg muscle. We finished in second place. On the surface it sounds innocent enough but it begins to sound a bit foolish when I tell you my granddaughter and and my great granddaughter were in the stands cheering me on. The neat thing was being so grateful for such a wonderful weekend and joyful that I have been blessed in order to do so. Now---all brag, I hit safely 18 out of 21 times.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

First Post

This is my first posting. Its exciting and a bit scary, but here I go.
I would like to say I'm just diving in but the truth is my agent urged me
to "start a blog" months ago.
Now that I'm over the first hump I plan on posting at least twice a week.
Hope you will join me.