It is a rare and precious moment when it first dawns on us that we are free and without fear
AT A RECENT meeting I attended, someone broached the subject “peace of mind,” and as usual the kaleidoscope of AA began to produce many different patterns of thought. By the time most of us reach AA, we are pretty reliable authorities on what peace of mind is not.
I was reminded of a winter night when I responded to a call at 3:00 AM, to come and rescue a fellow who was being pursued by mice. The piano keys were turning into mice, all of them bent on catching him. I herded him and his mice into the car and headed for the hospital. Halfway there, he said, “I hate to go to the hospital. That’s a hell of a place to be!”
I replied, “Roger, has it occurred to you that when you are in this shape, any place is a hell of a place to be?” Offhand, I can’t recall how I happened to know this, but strangely enough, I did.
And now, even more strangely, I have some idea what peace of mind is. Easter morning dawned bright and fair last year, and by six o’clock I had eaten my breakfast and was out in the backyard, soaking up the sunshine. I felt a sudden surge of gratitude. I had enjoyed my breakfast! I was at liberty to leave the house without fear! I sat down and thanked God with all my heart for the redemption that had been granted me through AA. I was no longer committing suicide on the installment plan. In fact, being alive was a marvelous feeling. In my long and painful approach to AA, I had accumulated enough experience to set this moment in vivid contrast with my past. Somehow, these wonderful folks had taught me how to capitalize on the worst mess I had ever been in, by using it as a priceless yardstick to measure the present.
Moments like these are rare enough to be very precious, and I savor them with serene joy when they come. Each morning, I try to remember to ask God to help me do His will for that day. Then I go about my usual routine with the conviction that He will do just that. This has included days when I have had excruciating pain from an ulcerated tooth, headaches that were devastating, frustrations that were maddening. It has also included days that were just kind of blah: no hits, no runs, no errors. Then there have been days when I was quite elated over some triumph within my private sphere of endeavor. There have been times when I have watched John Newcomer get out of the rat race and rejoin the human race, and I have vicariously suffered his pain and felt his joy. I guess this all adds up to living a day at a time.
Through it all, there is a profound and constant assurance that, with all my shortcomings, false starts, and fizzled finishes, my pains and pleasures, my triumphs and joys, God is in His heaven, and miraculously I have somehow become a small part of the answer, instead of part of the problem. This, to me, is peace of mind in full measure.