Friday, April 13, 2007
I went to the first speaker session at 8 PM last night. The roundup is being held on an island that has a lot of resort homes but also has the feeling of a small town. It definitely is one of my favorite places to visit. Beautiful old trees, the ocean right there, and not too many McMansions.
There were a lot of people outside talking and smoking when I got there. My sponsor knew several people so I was introduced. For a moment, I thought that I might be at a work conference because except for the location, number of smokers and the dress, everyone was wearing name tags and talking in various groups. The major difference was that you could meet someone at this meeting and not be asked "Well, what's your specialty?" or "Did you see the paper by .....". There was no posturing and arrogance. I felt comfortable and glad to see so many happy faces.
The speaker was an ex-cop from South Philly. He was engaging and funny. For me to consider some of the things that he has done and to be able to speak and mostly laugh about them, well, it is just hard to imagine. He had a defiant and difficult past, all of which seemed to revolve around fear and not fitting in. These are common themes that come up over and over again from listening and reading. They are the basic behavioral foundation for so many people in AA and Al-Anon. How he came to surrender and eventually work through the steps and traditions seemed a miracle considering his circumstances and how far down he had gone.
As I listened and absorbed, I thought what a courageous thing to be able to stand in front of so many strangers and bare your soul. It's still hard for me to speak about some things without a great deal of pain. Laughter will hopefully come some day but for now I'm just satisfied to be able to talk in my meetings. I've had to talk in front of big audiences before but not about anything personal. It's always been impersonal and factual. Speaking to impress and having to have answers to questions asked was how I gave a talk. I was at least very willing to admit when I didn't know something.
What I know now is that I'll never have all the answers to the important questions. I've not ever known all the answers to many of the hypotheses that I deal with in my work. How can I ever hope to provide even the remotest of answers to the questions that I've sought all my life? There was a speaker at a work seminar the other day who urged those attending to provide information from our research with more certainty. Many of us were wondering how we can do that when every result that we get just leads to more questions. I think that is what the program does also. We may think that we are secure and well-fixed in the program and then something will come along to show us that we don't have all the answers. It's the HP's way of keeping us humble. The wonderful part about just living in general is that if we accept that we won't ever have all the answers then we are so amazed when we hear something that adds a bit more knowledge. I've always said that if I ever stopped learning, then it's time to hang it up. I'm looking forward to absorbing more knowledge about "how it works" as the roundup continues.