Wednesday, October 06, 2004

If You Want To Hear God Laugh . . .

[I'm back! This is the first new blog I've had a chance to write since my open heart surgery September 23rd. Many thanks to the mysterious Regina, who, on top of everything else (which included a three-hour round trip to the hospital every day) managed to pull something from my notes to post here each day. I am a long way from being back to work, but I wanted to get today's blog out because I have some good news which I'd like to share.]

If you want to hear God laugh, make a plan

There were two things: The Prayer and the Plan.

First, the plan: There's an NA retreat (the Miracle) I go to every year because it's an important part of my recovery, I love the friends I have there, hence I always look forward to attending. Friday Sept. 17th, I put my plan in motion, arrived at the Miracle, and had a fun, very important opening day. Then came Saturday.

Midmorning Saturday, I was attending a meeting when I realized that I had forgotten something up in my room. I left the meeting, got about three quarters of the way up the stairs and, to my dismay, ran out of air. I was out of breath, told a couple of friends, and they sat with me while I tried to make up my mind what to do. A half hour or so later, I still hadn't gotten back my breath, so I asked my friends to take me to the Maine Medical Center in Portland, which was nearby. My Plan had a hitch in it. "Why now?" I asked HP.

The Prayer: For many years I have been plagued with intermittent bouts of profound weakness and fatigue that doctors simply couldn't diagnose. The weakness was so profound that, at times, I literally could not get out of bed, much less work or otherwise function. These bouts were so abrupt and unpredictable that in the middle of a ski run the fatigue would hit and the next thing I knew I'd be doing turns on my face. These bouts were so frustrating that anger and bitterness eventually evolved into tears. I had been tested and treated for everything and nothing worked.

On the morning of the 17th of September last, I was in the middle of a mild version of this affliction. I was taking our dog, Ti, out for his morning bladder gladdening. Ti wanted to go up our road, which begins with a bit of an uphill grade. I couldn't make it up the hill. Again I broke down in helpless frustration, but I also prayed to my particular HP for an answer.

The answer, it turned out was multiple blockages in a heart that was running at about 20% efficiency. Personally, I think 24 hour service is pretty good. But, as I was being carted off to the hospital by my friends, I had asked why that particular day, which was right in the middle of a retreat I had so looked forward to attending. The answer came to me several medical tests and operations later: At that particular moment I had been close to the Maine Medical Center, which includes one of the two best cardiac units in the United States.

Right now I am more weak and tired than I have ever been in my life, but I now have hope that once I regain my health, health is what I will have.

So, you don't believe in prayer? Well, personally, I'm having a tough time calling this crap coincidence. It doesn't matter. As an old-timer in the program once said to me, "You don't have to believe in this shit for it to work for you. All you have to do is do it."

Thinking of getting clean? Having a tough time humping your stuff through Step Four? You're up against it, you're all out of answers, and you don't know what to do? There are answers out there and they are patiently waiting for you to ask for them. And, no, you don't have to believe in the power or the process.

Prayer is like electricity. You don't have to understand or believe in electricity for it to work for you. All you have to do is turn on the switch.

Barry B. Longyear

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