At Al-Anon meetings, we’re encouraged to share stories of strength, hope, and courage. And two months into going to meetings, I finally have such a story to bring to the room.
I’m a newcomer to prayer, on Step 3, and my words to God aren’t nearly as eloquent as those I’ve heard from prayer warriors. This past week has been a difficult one, and after hearing the shares of fellow Al-Anon members, I started asking God for guidance. This usually happened before I went to bed or when I awoke in the mornings. Please guide me. Please help me find my way. I can’t do this on my own. Over and over. I told you I’m not eloquent: these are early attempts at asking for help.
Yesterday, we spent the majority of time cleaning house. Early in the morning, my husband brought down a few things from the attic, one of which was an empty frame, no glass, no cardboard. I had no idea why it had been up in the attic. Since I couldn’t think of a use for it, I put it in my Goodwill pile and kept cleaning.
Later that evening, I was rearranging pictures in different rooms. One of our family portraits had been neglected in a side room, and I brought it to hang in the dining room. It’s a Christmas shot of of us at home in front of our Christmas tree that I had transferred to a large canvas. Everyone looks relaxed and happy. I hung it in the dining room but it didn’t quite fit. Something was missing.
My gaze fell on my Goodwill pile and at the empty frame that somehow made its way down from the attic that morning. That’s way too lucky, I thought, but as I eyed both, they looked like they might fit. I brought the frame over and the canvas fit in perfectly. The hue of the frame even complemented the colors in the print.
Stunned at that point, I said “Thank you” quietly as I stood there staring at the newly framed canvas. This is what is important, something told me. I started crying.
It may not sound like much to someone else, I realize, but I’m not a lucky person. I don’t win things, I rarely have coincidental moments. I believe this was the guidance I had asked for. In my angry brain, I’ve still weighed the pros and cons of a life separate from the alcoholic. In weak moments, I feel like I want to throw everything out like a useless empty frame. The message I received instead was a beautiful gift and reminder.
When my husband came in the room, I asked him if he noticed anything different with the canvas portrait. He looked at it and then stared at me blankly. I explained briefly what had happened, and he shrugged and looked at me like there should be more to the story. Seems like the story would go downhill here, but this is what I quickly understood: the message and gift were for me from my higher power. It didn’t matter if anyone else understood it or not. I could not change how my husband saw it, and that was fine. I could still bask in it and it was certainly no less of a gift. The person I was before Al-Anon would have let my husband’s reaction depress me, then anger me. This time I chose Serenity, and it made the rest of my day happy.
So there it is. My first story of strength, hope, and courage. I hope there are more to come.