...and every sinner has a future. (Oscar Wilde)
I like that. We have a sentence in the BB that says “We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.” It took me working the steps and a few years recovery before I appreciated it. I wallowed in being a SINNER. The truth? I was probably just a SinnEr. Maybe sometimes a SInnEr but not a SINNER.
I’m not a saint today, either. Better but I still have sinNer days. “A saint, I ain’t,” as one long-timer in AA used to say. I have a reasonable assessment of my past because I worked a 4th step on it. (Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.) I’m such a big, fat liar that it took me 3 runs through the inventory business before I could turn out something that didn’t read like a Harbor Playhouse melodrama.
Once done, I have a pretty good idea of where I’ve been and a fair gauge of where I stand in the Badness hierarchy. It also gives me a little light on where I’m going, but I don’t know the future. I can’t shine a light on the future and what tomorrow holds.
In the past, I used my imagined future to stay rooted in my rot. I watched my dad struggle with Alzheimer’s and two husbands suffer from cancer before their deaths. That old fatalistic “Life’s a bitch and then you die” justified doing whatever whenever forever. For me, mentally imposed inertia is incredibly resistant to outside forces of change. What a waste of the present that was!
I try not to squander the present day. I have let fear and resentment dog my every step; I’ve let the past tether me, keeping me in yesterday more than today. I may not know my future, but I know that chunking today can devalue tomorrow. I learned that by examining my spent yesterdays when I worked those darn 4th steps.
I am a work in progress when it comes to forward motion. My prayers when I was drinking and newly sober sounded like a child’s Santa Claus letter. I learned that God’s got my best interest at heart even when Life doesn’t. It probably isn’t that Life doesn’t, but that other peoples’ free will comes into collision with mine. I can swirl around in indecision rather than pickup the phone and ask for help. I do this see-saw thing: Maybe I should. No. I shouldn’t. But what if? Then I should? Maybe I shouldn’t. Or I should.
Here’s what I’ve been thinking. I don’t have a clue which decision is best. I have to trust that I am right where God wants me. Seriously. I can really believe that in the good times. But even in the bad times, I am learning to trust that God’s in on the mix.
Thank you, God, for not letting me see the road ahead. I would either race through the turn to get to that road. Or, worse, I’d park in the middle of the turn because I didn’t want to get to that road. And get squashed like a bug by fellow travellers.
My two favorite reminders in the BB are that I need to “trust God and clean house.” Doing both of those things, I can live in the present and not fear the future. If I trust God, I don’t have to worry about comes up after the turn. And if I clean house, I don’t have to fear an ambush.