One of the great gifts the summer has brought me is attendance at some Al-Anon meetings near where I live. As many of you know, it is in these communities that one finds a language and a structure and support to grapple with the difficulties of loving someone who has the disease of addiction.
I am a rank newbie, but early on the power of the Steps (the same as in AA) was apparent. And then some. To wit: I puzzled, initially, over the step about making amends to those we have hurt. Hey: Isn't that step mostly for the people with the addiction? Or so I thought, reasonably.
And yet. Once I sat with that uncomfortable step, wanting to put it back on the AA shelf for others to work on, it opened up to me; it widened. It said to me: "OK, you who love metaphor... why get so literal now? No, thankfully, you have not hurt someone because of your drinking, but making amends... well, that is a question for everyone, including you. Think harder before you palm this step off onto others."
Hmmm. The first thing I then thought of was the hurt and misunderstanding of silence... of omission. Of the dropped ball. And I thought of the many folks--friends, relatives, clients--who, in this past year of busyness and family health issues I have been too busy to just call and say hello and spend time with. Sheer time... that ongoing promise of summer.
Not big flagellation here, but that gentle yet persistent realization that I needed to be heard from; I could not wait for when I had "enough time"-- for that day would never come. I knew that I needed to make amends for being out of touch, one person at a time. It is slow going. But I have started.
In my first blog on Pentecost on this site earlier in the summer I wrote about the Pentecost "Spirit of Truth" and how in Greek the word for truth literally means "unhiddenness." Sometimes what is hidden is us--from ourselves, from the people we love, from God.
So in the spirit of widening this question out to include all of you... in the spirit of the summer assignments of our childhood... is there someone who the Spirit of God is saying to you: Find them. Reach out. Call. Write. Does a name or a face come to mind? Is there a movement within from your soul towards another's?
At the Marble event a couple of weeks ago called "Summer Camp for the Soul" a participant told the very moving story of two sisters, reunited at the deathbed of one, after years of silence and feuding. The dying one said to the visiting one: "I have missed you."
Who are you missing? Who is missing you? Make the first move--that, too, is Pentecost.