Friday, December 9, 2011

A parable

There is a field filled with thousands of rocks.  I am told that there is a diamond under a rock so I go out and start turning over the rocks.  I turn over 10,000 stones and may not find the diamond.  If by some stroke of probability, I find the diamond, I may wonder if it was worth the effort.

That is sometimes what it used to feel like being me a few years ago.  I would have many things going on.  Rushing about trying to leave no stone unturned in an effort to get so much done.  It seemed especially true during the holidays.  More things to do, hoping to find a brilliant spot in a day of doing and existing.

This year, I'm not rushing about.  I am going to meetings, going to a few fun events with my wife, but taking care of myself by not overdoing.  We have hosted a recovery luncheon on Christmas day for the last two years. This year, we are going to forego that.  We are tired, don't want to cook for 30 people, and would rather just do something together on Christmas day.  We will go to the parents' house, visit some friends later, and spend the day quietly.

This Christmas,  I don't feel the need to fill up the house with people.  My sponsor says that I am taking care of myself by going with my true feelings.  The true feelings are that a quiet simple time seems like gracious plenty.


  1. I sure do know what you're talking about. I hope this is the best Christmas EVER.

  2. I know where you are coming from. For a long time we did a huge lunch on New Year's day for over 20people. We stopped last year because of my Dad's health issues. It was a blessing that I didn't realize at the time.

    We plan on keeping things simple again this year, not only because of taking care of my Dad and being with him but because we now realize we prefer it.

    I love the contemplative part of this season now that I have learned to slow down, not numb myself emotionally and just think and feel in a quiet, less distracting way.

  3. i think that is a good way to approach christmas...there is far too much running around...and you only have to be a part of it if you want it...

  4. Ah yes, I like this. But there is another parable to do with the field and a pearl of great price. A poem I love, based on the New Testament passage:

    The Bright Field

    I have seen the sun break through
    to illuminate a small field
    for a while, and gone my way
    and forgotten it. But that was the pearl
    of great price, the one field that had
    treasure in it. I realize now
    that I must give all that I have
    to possess it. Life is not hurrying

    on to a receding future, nor hankering after
    an imagined past. It is the turning
    aside like Moses to the miracle
    of the lit bush, to a brightness
    that seemed as transitory as your youth
    once, but is the eternity that awaits you.

    ~ R. S. Thomas ~

  5. I really like the honesty of doing what you think is best for you this year instead of following a tradition just because.

  6. How in the heck does Mary remember all those poems!!

  7. "A quiet simple time seems like gracious plenty." beautifully spoken.

  8. As always, I appreciate your post and photo. Thank you.

    In my case "leaving no stone unturned" wasn't an effort to get things done, but a means to find treasure. Treasure in the form of truth I can count on.

    Recent events are informing me that I have long detested the unreality offered by alcoholics, in the form of lies and deceptions and manipulations and self-service. But while looking for what I can count on, I have to say in the same breath that I don't think I have allowed myself to count on anything. And so the search under stones continued.

    But truth isn't buried under stones, of course. Truth is a phenomenon that clears the field of said stones. Truth is becoming what I look THROUGH rather than look FOR or look AT.

    My little and big spiritual awakenings constitute truth to me. Truth is SO easy and SO obvious and SO pertinent from my higher power, particularly when I'm attentive to my Al-Anon recovery. Which I think of as my restoration.

    Just thinking. Some other Al-Anon ideas apply well here. First and foremost, the notion of survival skills that no longer work. Keep it simple. Mind my own business. Easy does it. Let go and let God. Faith replaces fear.

  9. p.s. I'd like to add that the beauty for me of resting in and relying on my higher power for treasure as I define it - truth - is that it eliminates my being confused and overwhelmed by considering and exploring a million possibilities; that is, it eliminates the compulsion to turn over a million stones.

  10. Learning to go with my true feelings is a skill I can practise. Thanks for this post.

  11. I agree, Syd. The simpler the better for me. Of course a fractured hip has slowed me down but I can live vicariously through all my younger friends if I want the high life.
    It sounds like you are putting the really important things first this year.

  12. Glad you are taking care of yourself on day at a time

  13. I too am taking this season easy. We have a child, but I am not making it a crazy time for him or us. We will decorate as we can. Plenty of time yet. In Germany the tradition is not to bring the tree in until the 24th. Why not us?

    Ah, the gift of time spent mindfully is the most important during this month.

  14. yep sounds very sensible. its hard work preparing for lots of people. There are meetings which are a way to hang out with others if I want to do that too, so no need for making a fuss at home. I like the city on xmas day... very peaceful.. I like the st pauls services.. some telly.. a small amount of food, and walks in the empty city streets..quite surreal.. :) very unfussy. Glad you are able to go with the flow of what feels right this time :) very liberating..


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