Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Blazing hot little pains

This has been a great couple of days.  I shared my story at my home group meeting on Monday and picked up my six year medallion.  We shared watermelon after the meeting.  This group is truly home for me.  I am glad that I have made such good friends there.

Yesterday, I picked up one of the fellows that I sponsor and brought him to the house so that we could have an "intensive" day of working on the steps.  He lives far out in the country on another island.  By boat, it would be an easy distance, but by car, it takes about 40 minutes.  He is 19 and his parents only have the one car.  He also has no driver's license because he has not yet gotten a visa.  His story is one of tremendous struggle.  Suffice to say that he has endured so much to be in this country.

I picked him up around 9 AM, and we spent the day doing work on the first two steps.  We took breaks for lunch, to walk around the property, and for dinner.  He loved the dogs who were enjoying seeing someone new.  They recognize a good person instantly.

The day was intensive, but we had a good time sharing and talking.  I can tell that this fellow is so willing and wanting to have peace of mind.  After dinner, we went to the 7 PM meeting where he was warmly welcomed.  I hope that we can do something similar each week because nothing is better than two people sitting down together and talking.

My wife said later that I was going to help this young fellow to open up and grow up.  My goal is to be a friend, a listener, a traveler with him.  Our interaction benefits me as much as it does him.  And that is priceless beyond words.

I am reminded this morning that amidst the pain of life there are those blazing hot moments that make everything worth while.  I remain the optimist in this life, but I understand the sentiment below so well.

"Sure, we'd faced some things as children that a lot of kids don't......We still hadn't learned, though, that growing up is all about getting hurt. And then getting over it. You hurt. You recover. You move on. Odds are pretty good you're just going to get hurt again. But each time, you learn something.

Each time, you come out of it a little stronger, and at some point you realize that there are more flavors of pain than coffee. There's the little empty pain of leaving something behind - graduating, taking the next step forward, walking out of something familiar and safe into the unknown. There's the big, whirling pain of life upending all of your plans and expectations. There's the sharp little pains of failure, and the more obscure aches of successes that didn't give you what you thought they would. There are the vicious, stabbing pains of hopes being torn up. The sweet little pains of finding others, giving them your love, and taking joy in their life as they grow and learn. There's the steady pain of empathy that you shrug off so you can stand beside a wounded friend and help them bear their burdens. 

And if you're very, very lucky, there are a very few blazing hot little pains you feel when you realized that you are standing in a moment of utter perfection, an instant of triumph, or happiness, or mirth which at the same time cannot possibly last - and yet will remain with you for life.

Everyone is down on pain, because they forget something important about it: Pain is for the living. Only the dead don't feel it.

Pain is a part of life. Sometimes it's a big part, and sometimes it isn't, but either way, it's a part of the big puzzle, the deep music, the great game. Pain does two things: It teaches you, tells you that you're alive. Then it passes away and leaves you changed. It leaves you wiser, sometimes. Sometimes it leaves you stronger. Either way, pain leaves its mark, and everything important that will ever happen to you in life is going to involve it in one degree or another." — Jim Butcher


  1. Well, that all may be true but I sure do my best to avoid pain WHICH I REALIZE STIFLES GROWTH!
    So you gave me a lot to think about today.
    Thank you, Syd.

  2. so cool that you are there for this young will def be a guiding force in his life...awesome man...

  3. Hi Syd, just back from camping. That young guy is so blesed to have you to guide him . . . and vice-versa.
    I love the passge you quoted . . . very true. I guess I need to "man up" and feel some pain.
    Missed being here x

  4. It is so satisfying and calming to help others, I believe. Like you say, we get back more than we give! Lately, I have gotten tired of telling my story. Or I should say, tired of rehashing it over and over.

    Then I remember the people who helped me, who did not tire of telling their experiences.

    I think you will be a good guide, friend, mentor to this young man. You are kind and patient.

  5. That's really cool. It's great that the 2 of you can be there for each other, each helping the other in different ways.

  6. Thank you so much for that part on pain. I needed to hear that today.

  7. Amazing piece from Jim Butcher...
    My spiritual teacher says pain is a gateway to higher consciousness. It had to be so bad I didnt have a choice but to either show up for my life or live in fear and more depression. I just couldn't imagine it getting worse for me.

  8. I had a therapist who would say,'If it doesn't hurt, it's not working!' That quote from Jim Butcher is so powerful.

  9. Syd congrats on the 6 years! I think the best part of what you do is the giving of yourself to others. You are also a role model to many newbies. I hope your friend succeeds and thrives!

  10. Congrats on 6 years! I think I have known you for most of that.

    That young man is so fortunate to have you to sponsor him. What a wonderful way to go through the steps. He will remember it for the rest of his life.

  11. You can't direct someone to places you have never been. I think it a safe assumption that over the past 6years you found your comfort and your peace and...well you can figure out the rest.

    Pain is a brutal master-never actively sought it out, though it certainly found me easy enough. But then came the day that I realized a scarred heart is not a flawed heart. a stronger and wiser one, not so soft, maybe but still beating to the metronomic rhythm of my own life.

  12. Congrats on 6 years. This was such a good read. So much truth. Those little pains are, hopefully, the impetus for our change. I'm glad you are willing to share your hope, strength and experience. :)

  13. Thanks, this is just what I needed today. Reminds me of the first Noble Truth from Buddha: Life is suffering. But that doesn't mean its not good.

  14. Great read Syd,

    It's important to make the younger members feel welcome. I found the rooms of Al-Anon when I was 26. I walked into that open meeting one of 3 men among 30 women and the only person under the age of 50 :). So it can be very intimidating and I'm glad you've been able to guide him along in his recovery.

  15. You're a good Al-anon soldier, Syd.

    Congrats on year 6,,keep coming back.

  16. 6 years ! You write like it's been 50 years ... such wisdom.
    I can certainly agree that life is a puzzle but somehow the pieces seem to fall in the right places if we give it a thorough search.

  17. Waiting is a spiritual experience. Pain is a powerful teacher. Gratitude is a journey into self discovery. I love this journey into serene discovery. It's wonderful to visit you again.


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