Thursday, December 24, 2009
Counting My Blessings
Things I do well: sarcasm, sassy come-backs, really bad jokes, storytelling.
Things I'm not so good at: expressing gratitude, putting feelings like joy and love into words.
Make no mistake. I'm not the guy you want making the toast at your wedding, unless you were looking for a cross between Henny Youngman and Milton Berle for the job. I tend to get all "guyish" when I have talk about all the things we typically associate with the heart (metaphorically -- angiograms and clogged arteries I usually do OK with).
But I'm going to give it a try anyway. Practice makes barely adequate.
I thought at this time last year, "Man I have a lot to be grateful for." But it was really nothing compared to this year. So, here is my Christmas gratitude list (but just the short version):
I have a great family that I finally let myself enjoy and appreciate. I spent so many years trying to make sure I never let my family disappoint me, I never gave them a chance to support me. Every minute I've spent with them this year has been enjoyable, dare I say fun. I love you all.
We'll get to my friends in a moment, but first there are two people that I owe for virtually everything good that has happened to me this year. Traditions and protocol discourage me from naming them publicly, but they both know who they are. You guys rock! This blog wouldn't even exist right now if not for the confidence and faith you both instilled in me.
I've been off crystal meth (and all other mind-altering substances) for more than two years now. That is a miracle and I'm grateful just for that alone. But, I could not have done it without all my friends in NYC that have picked me up when I was feeling like I couldn't keep going and pushed me when they saw that I needed to pick up the pace a little. I've been joking that I want to pull a "Laverne & Shirley" and take you all to California with me, but no matter where you are (or I am) I know I'll have you with me.
One of the things I was really angry with myself about when I first got sober was that I had so many amazing friends my whole life and I walked away from just about all of them when I was using. I would have been thankful to have just had even a handful of them back in my life. Instead, so many people that had good reasons not to, have opened their hearts to me again. I tend to show my love by mocking and teasing, but I hope you all know how much I cherish having you in my life again.
We live in a pretty amazing time. Think about how many people you've met and thought, "I would love the chance to get to know him (her) better." But because of circumstances and geography it wasn't really possible. Say what you will about people spending all their time online, but if I weren't tethered to the internet the way I am, I'd have missed out on at least a half dozen new friendships. I guess that sounds like I'm saying I'm grateful for Facebook (and I probably am), but I'm really grateful for everything those "virtual" friendships add to my life. Again, you all know who you are.
As a cumulative consequence of all the gratitude listed above, I'm grateful that now when I joke about being misanthropic, I know it really isn't true.
Finally, I'm grateful that there is some higher power out there that I can grab onto when all else fails. Some people call it God, some people call it a sling blade. I call it "the universe." And as I do every morning, I thank it for showing me how to align myself with it rather than continuing to rail against it.
Merry Christmas (or whatever holiday of joy you celebrate).
P.S. I'm really grateful that people read this blog and seem to like it. Invite your friends to check it out too. I'm going to take the next few days off. I'll be back next week. :-)