Cooperating with Grace…
No, not my daughter. Although this might apply there too…
I heard someone last night say, “getting sober was really just cooperating with grace…” And that landed with a thud in my chest. This is EXACTLY what getting and staying sober looks like! Getting sober is the first time you cooperate with grace. Then to stay sober you have to do it again, and again, and again! Over and over until you are dead. But hopefully you are dead because you cooperated with Grace for the whole of your sober life and you had this great, amazing life that worked for you and so many others. Not because you were a selfish ass who just drank and used until you were dead and everyone who ever loved you hated you as you left. Well, at least hated what you had become and how you did your life. Maybe we really don’t ever hate the addict, but sometimes it sure feels like we do!
I can say that the first time I cooperated with grace was the day I walked across that doorstep. It was the first time in my life that I just said, “Um, I don’t want to do this, like at all, but I am going to do this anyway…” That was my first moment that I cooperated with grace. And there have been a million more moments just like that since. Moments where I want to rebel, throw a fit, do it my way, but instead of all that self centered fear being able to take control and dominate my life, I just move in the direction of grace and allow that to carry me onward. And so far, the onward is pretty fucking amazing.
I am thinking a lot about surrender and powerlessness lately. Like a lot, a lot. And my dream life seems to support this and, I think, is helping me work it out. I don’t mean to say that I have any resolution whatsoever, just that I am moving in a direction where there is nothing else to do except surrender to my powerlessness.
I had a dream last night, it was awful, and wonderful and weird (all my dreams are weird). But it was so vivid. I was taking care of someone’s beach house and a party erupts. And Lane shows up. With a 20 year old. And then all these other young people show up and it gets a little out of control. Then all these things happen. This guy wants me to call my friend Jayme because he is in love with her. I get him to try to help me make Lane jealous while promising to get Jayme to call him the next day. Orcas swam by and people went swimming with them, and I missed it because I was attending to some other fire that was going on inside the house. And I was pissed that I always miss the orcas. Then this girl hit her head on a boat and was knocked out and in the water, we had to save her and I ran into the house to call 911. She was fine and the paramedics took her to the hospital to get her stitched up. I see Lane looking at me the whole evening and I am openly hostile and confrontational with his date. She is this sweet young thing who isn’t at all daunted by my anger and hurt. She is just sweet and refuses to engage. Finally, somehow she leaves him and runs off with a guy more suited to her age and Lane is left alone, and begins seeking me out. But I am not interested and won’t give him the time of day. Then at the end of the dream, Lane and I end up walking together through a crazy party like Stagecoach, me riding my bike and him walking. He was chasing me but finally I stopped, we do not talk of us or anything, we just are talking. He was saying that he was late to something and we both made fun of his adherence to the clock, I poked fun at him saying that his duty as a safety patrol was calling, and he said that he could only get there if his dad picked him up, but he was late…and then we both started laughing. And I woke up smiling. Laughing at the easiness that we fell into like we always seemed to. And it woke me up with a longing so great, like so intense that I felt like I couldn’t breathe, yet there I was lying on my back, cats pinning me to my bed, smiling like a complete fool. And then the tears came…
That might have been another cooperation with grace. I don’t know. I find that I do best when I don’t decide what is grace and what is not. The truth be known, I was just happy to see him and be close to him again, to get to experience that sense of ease and comfort that changed me and my life. I have never had that with someone, that feeling like I am seen and seeing and it is a two way street. But I did have that with him and I can tell you, I miss that more than anything else about him. Just the times that we would talk, and he would throw his head back and laugh, God, that tears me up. In a good, awful way.
I think falling in love with him was another cooperation with grace. And allowing him to leave my life, another. The later much harder than the former. And I still can’t make sense of why grace dictated that we live separate and apart. I just can’t reconcile it in my heart. But I have accepted it in my head. It just isn’t meant to be and there are times when I am so grateful for the experience, and then there are other times, when I wish I could be returned to the person who never really experienced intimacy. Who never really felt that easiness with someone like that. It is a deep vacuum, that sucks the life out of everyone else I meet. It just isn’t there and I can’t for the life of me figure out whether that is because I just got it the one time and to ask for it another, just greedy. Or if, perhaps, I could experience it again with someone new…seems like a stretch. At least from where I sit today. It belongs to him, I guess, until grace decides it doesn’t.
But in my ongoing efforts to cooperate with grace, I just move forward, trusting that all that is meant for me will come, without my consent, aide or persistence. I do not need to manipulate or control. I just need to surrender, because that seems to be the precursor, the prerequisite to cooperating with grace, you have to get out of the way. Because grace doesn’t do your time table, or your list of things. Grace is something that you experience without ever being in charge of the directionality, the flow or the magic that happens. And that is what makes it grace. It is something that a human being can participate in, but never cause. Grace is not something we can abuse or misuse, it isn’t ownable by us, no, it is just there, and we can follow or ignore, the choice is always ours.
For my life, I have resisted and suffered, and I have cooperated and benefited. And I can tell you that those moments that I cooperated with grace, so much better than the ones I pulled and yanked at it instead. Life is so much harder when you have the delusion that you have some control over others, or even yourself.
While I love that thought that getting clean and sober is about cooperating with grace, I think I love it even more when I generalize it out there to be even more encompassing, it is this thread of life that is always present, and my only job is to be with it and continue to select it, over and over again. To bend my will to this universal benevolence, to cooperate with grace and watch the miracles happen. Fuck, I am lucky. So very, very, very lucky to have ever gotten to cooperate with grace.