Thursday, January 8, 2009

God spoke to me through the radio...

This story is true, allow me to preface by saying I was a deeply unreligious person before tonight.

God came to me tonight…he was in the radio…

Let me begin at the beginning

I was discussing something with two of my counselors at IOP tonight. IOP is an addiction recovery program which I enrolled myself into after my life became a downward spiral. I thought that my life had become so bad largely because of my use of pot. Tonight we ended up discussing something I thought to be very different, but I discovered it was the same. We were talking about my former girlfriend, Rachel. A girl who I was so crazy about that at the age of 18 I was ready to marry her…we had made plans to get engaged two years after and married two years after that. A girl I was so crazy about she could have slapped me across the face, kicked me in the nuts and my only reaction would have been guilt that I had done something to warrant that reaction and the first words out of my mouth would have been, “what did I do?!?” She cheated on me. With my best friend, Neal, a man I consider my brother. I went running back to her, four times. Each time, she broke up with me, even after the last time when I warned her that I did not want to date her again because I could not deal with breaking up with her again.

Today something interesting happened, I found a sponsor and as it turns out they know a girl who lives in Madison, literally five minutes away on bike. Finding both people was an extraordinary coincidence. Oh and my phone has been fucking up lately, I couldn’t pick up a phone call from anyone, I had to call them back…man that was annoying. Later, as I was discussing my issues with Rachel with my counselors one of them said to me, “I know your not a religious person, and you may be offended by me saying this, but maybe what happened between Rachel and Neal was your higher power looking out for you because you needed a fucking boulder dropped on your head for you to see.” I used to think that Rachel was my gift from God. I know now that when I thought that God must have nearly shit himself. I am thankful, although it fucked me up so bad for years, that it happened because I may have been planning my wedding right now, to a woman who I cannot be with.

They reminded me that insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. I expected that Rachel would not be a thorn in my mind although I knew different. They convinced me to not meet with her that night, and I prepared to drive home…feeling more depressed than I did on my first day of recovery.

I didn’t drive home. I went to meet my brother in law at a bar. I didn’t intend to drink but he offered me a great beer. I had not taken more than 4 sips of it when Rachel walked in. I politely grinned and bared it and made polite conversation until she finally left to meet some other girls. I sipped on that beer for a few hours and eventually left at midnight, feeling a little better.

I walked outside and started to feel bad again. Every step made me feel worse. As I sat down in the car I felt depressed again. As I drove down harden street I thought about calling her. I thought to myself, I really don’t have anything against this girl, why shouldn’t I go be with her. I knew there would be sex in it for me if I did. A little voice in my head said “where did your resolve go? It was so strong not half an hour ago! You know, you can convince yourself of anything...” I pulled the Circe out of my pocket that reads “Insanity is…doing the same thing OVER AND OVER AGAIN…expecting different results.” I read it a few times and held it in my hand. I felt more depressed than ever. I said the serenity prayer to myself. I had been saying the first part of it for the last few days…the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. That had helped me alot. Today, for the first time not in a meeting, I said the entire prayer. “God, give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the COURAGE TO CHANGE THE THINGS I CAN, and the wisdom to know the difference.” I yelled the parts in capitols to myself as I drove. Something crossed my mind that Katie said earlier that night, God will always give you a way out. I felt a little better already.

Then something really strange happened. I’ve been listening to the same radio station so much I’ve nearly memorized their play list…it isn’t that long. They played a song they had never played before…Chicago – Saturday in the Park. Its one of my favorites, I like to play it on the piano. Let me share the lines, which today meant so much more to me.

Saturday in the park
I think it was the fourth of July
Saturday in the park
I think it was the fourth of July
People dancing, people laughing
A man selling ice cream
Singing Italian songs
itse barre, itso nate
Can you dig it? yes, I can
And I’ve been waiting such a long time
For Saturday

Saturday in the park
You’d think it was the fourth of July
Saturday in the park
You’d think it was the fourth of July
People talking, really smiling
A man playing guitar
Singing for us all
Will you help him change the world
Can you dig it? Yes, I can!
And I’ve been waiting such a long time
For today

Slow motion riders fly the colors of the day
A bronze man still can tell stories his own way
Listen children all is not lost
All is not lost! NO NO NO!

Funny days in the park
Every days the fourth of July
Funny days in the park
Every days the fourth of July
People reaching, people touching
A real celebration
Waiting for us all
If we want it, really want it

Can you dig it? Yes, I can!
And I’ve been waiting such a long time
For the day

I screamed, literally screamed, into the roof of my car. “THANK YOU GOD! THANK YOU GOD!” I turned the music up so loud it hurt. I heard the words for the first time although I had heard it so many times before. Can I dig it? YES I CAN! Will you help him change the world? YES! I was waiting so long for the Saturday that didn’t come, but it was there all along. Every day IS the Fourth of July! All is not lost! If you want it, really want it! And I've been waiting so long for the day…

Then as the music was playing I felt my phone vibrate, I looked…it was Rachel. I didn’t turn down the music, I couldn’t. But I resolved to answer and tell her I couldn’t turn the music down, I didn't know what to say to her, I was a little afraid I would let her convince me to go back to her. I hit the “accept” button...

Nothing happened.

The phone kept ringing. My phone wasn’t allowing me to take calls. I could have called her back but I had no desire to. I remembered my resolve I had been so quick to convince myself didn’t exist. I don’t owe her shit. I don’t have to call her back ever again. She called a second time and I laughed. The song ended but I didn’t feel depressed anymore. God wouldn’t give me anything I couldn’t handle. He had do drop a rock on my head to show me she wasn’t the right one but I hadn’t seen it then. He had to bring me to the point of not being able to eat without smoking pot so I would go to IOP and learn to really see my problems, not just run from them. He gave me so much but I didn’t see it. Suddenly, I saw it all, clear as day. There it was, there it had been, all along.

When I was at the brink of destruction again he played me a song, and gave me a helping hand.

God talked to me tonight through the radio.

Even in the greatest disaster, there exists a perfection…call it anything you want but I will call it God.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Something to think about.

By July 20, 1944...

There were 15 attempts on Adolf Hitler's life from his own troops.

Nearly 5,000 people were executed attempting to end his reign of terror from the inside.

January 1, 2009...

Conservative reports (requiring two official reports of death) place the Iraqi civilian death toll at 98,000 innocents. Other estimates, most likely far more accurate, place the death toll between 733,000 and 1,446,000 civilian casualties.

The individuals within the Iraqi Ministry of Health attempting to discover and publish the true death toll have been threatened under penalty of death not to publish their information. The director of the Baghdad morgue has fled the country as a result.

Even the most conservative estimates place the killing rate at 120 per day. This number is double the number killed in Saddam Hussein's last two years in power.

So now I ask you, how many of you were willing to pay the ultimate price, as 5,000 brave Germans were in 1944, for what is right?

How many of you were willing to pay any price?

The true horror of Hitler's reign was not in the sick and intelligent lunacy of one man, it was in the many thousands who were unwilling to fight against it. Too few were.

Now how many of us are guilty of the same?