Thursday, July 12, 2007
A friend of mine, who is Japanese-American, talks about her Calabash Family - the family that grew out of shared meals and experiences, and close friendships. Calabash Family in many ways is closer than one's family of origin, because of the choice involved. My friend's relatives (origin and Calabash) are Hawaiian, where the expression "Komo E Kaukau" (come and eat) is the mose common greeting you hear. I tell her that they are really all Jewish, like me, because of the food thing. I tell her she's really an Alcoholic, like me, because of the food thing. She says I'm really a JAP like her, because of the food thing.
But so it is in AA - we go to meetings, and then we go eat. We go to coffee. We gather in each other's homes, and we share meals, experiences, tears, laughter, friendship, joy, sorrow, pain, and strength. Meetings? One to one and one half hours per day - all the rest, hours. Friendship has no time limit.
Since I moved to Los Angeles, quite a few of my Calabash AA family from Chicago have died. There was Jimmy F., who died in his car listening to a questionable home run call during a Cubs game - heart attack. There was Mary, and Frank, both from cancer. Rosemary, who had a stroke. There was Alan, who, after recovering from 3 separate cancers, had a heart attack - they say he was dead before he hit the floor. And now Meri.
Today, I have a smaller perspective on the world. I feel powerless, and know that I am a small voice. I am strong within my Calabash, but in a larger scale, I am small. What seems important today is simple: how do I treat my fellow travelers? How do I behave at work? My goal is to be compassionate, kind, and tolerant. To be loving, and to not take myself too damn seriously - Rule 62.
Today, all I am going to do is focus on what is within my control and not worry about what is out of my hands. If I am a positive example, it spreads. That's what these people taught me, my Calabash Family. Be the change I want to see in the world. Be peaceful, be tolerant, be loving, be compassionate. Not so easy, if you're a self-centered alcoholic, like me. But nearly 19 years of recovery has shown me that change is inevitable, and so it has been with all of us who remain sober and useful.
Today, I will not wallow in anger or resentment. Today, I will follow Meri's example of joy in the small things. It's the best I can do, today.