Top of the Roller Coaster

I’ve been remiss in holding to my goal of blogging more often. I’ve tried a few times and the words just didn’t seem to come. But tomorrow night will be the last night I go to bed with my speech in this condition and Charlotte will be here and I won’t waste our time together blogging. I don’t know what condition I will be in this time next week, but it will be different.

While I was sharing at the meeting this morning, I came to the realization that the thing I really fear the most is knowing I might never be able to talk to an AA newcomer. It’s hard enough in Arizona even finding new people to sponsor. But if my speaking ability becomes more limited there will be even greater hurdles to overcome. The bright side of that is that, if I am open to the possibilities, God will find a way to use these new developments to reach people I might not have otherwise reached. I just can’t see how, at least at this time.

I have maintained for some time that my strongest natural talent lay in teaching. And when I became a teacher, I found that it was a talent like every other, present in potential but requiring a great deal of practice and humility to properly develop it. I may not be a great teacher, maybe not even a good one. But when I am teaching, I feel that I am in my natural element. Whether I am standing in front of a classroom, or at an AA podium, talking one-on-one or leading a small group, there is no experience to compare to it. When I see a flash of understanding cross someone’s face, I feel like I am doing what I was made to do.

So what do I do if I can’t talk? Obviously I can write, and I certainly plan to, more than ever before. There is on this blog alone years of postings, mostly about the Program but also about my faith and other philosophical areas. And for the most part, it seems no one has read it. Nor need they. I am, after all, just one person expressing his opinions which, while they might be  insightful at times, are mostly syntheses if things I’ve learned from other sources. So my writing eventually flowed to a trickle for one reason only. I want to be heard. That, ultimately, is the source of the joy I find in teaching.

Am I being self-centered? I won’t deny it. Recognition and positive responses make me feel very good about myself. But following one’s true vocation ought to be gratifying. There’s no sin in that if kept in proper proportion. And the apparent loss of one’s vocation can only have a couple of meanings. Perhaps it wasn’t true discernment, just a rationalization of what I wanted to do anyway. In which case, it’s actually a kind of guidance, showing me that I may have missed the mark somewhere. Or it could be a refinement, a deeper expression of what the true vocation is. What I have done up until now may have been a preparation for something more demanding but more fruitful. Or it might just be something that happened and doesn’t require a spiritual analysis. I have no answers.

So this is how I feel: almost to the top of the roller coaster. Frightened, eager and wanting it to be all over. I don’t think I could wait another week. For the most part, I am genuinely content, convinced that God would not have brought me this far to abandon me. But every morning, for a few moments after I wake up but before I really have my thoughts under control, I feel alone and weak and angry and genuinely frightened. Praise God that these feelings don’t last very long. But I do need to be reminded daily just how bad it could be if I were facing this with only my own power.

Once again I am doing something which used to be anathema to me: typing what comes into my head and publishing it without editing. But I can’t afford the luxury of that much time, and I may actually be a little more self-revealing if I don’t try to tidy it up as much. In any case, this is pretty much raw Steve. Let me know what you think.


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9 Responses to Top of the Roller Coaster

  1. Sue Chomiuk Laperriere

    You and your family have been on my mind all day. I have tried to imagine all of the emotions you must be dealing with and it is overwhelming. You are a brilliant and gifted person, Steve, and if there is a way for your light (knowledge) to continue to shine, you will find it! Know that you (and Charlotte) are loved and prayed for daily. You will be on my mind and in my heart for a very long time. Dan and I are here for you and Charlotte if there is anything we can help you with.

  2. Donna Okray Parman

    God isn’t finished with you yet, Brother.

  3. Steve

    Meaning is what makes us human, so loss of purpose can be dehumanizing. At its depth it is actually an existential dilemma, and modern culture has no answer for it. But the answer is in community. So even a little note like yours becomes powerful in God’s hands and my burden gets a little easier.

  4. Steve

    I’m like the Black Night in “Monty Python and the Holt Grail.:

    “It is but a flesh wound”

  5. Kathy Harris

    Whether you can speak or not – you will always be heard because of your brilliant mind and excellent writing. I think you have much to do ahead of you. Time to get on to the next phase and adventure. You and Charlotte both inspire others. This time will pass – you will flourish in new ways. Most importantly, you will have friends around to love you and for you to love. Nothing can change that.

  6. Anonymous

    You always express yourself beautifully and from the heart – that’s what makes you a great teacher. I hear loud and clear your voice when I read your words. You’ve always found a way- you will again.

  7. Don Cowles

    Steve, it needs no editing well said, and my prayers are with you.

  8. John Wiegand

    Yours is the voice I hear that has continued these thirty one plus years especially when I get lost in myself. Roy and I were reminiscing last week about some of our deep discussions and looking forward to seeing you again while your home. Hopefully and prayerfully that will happen soon.

  9. Anonymous

    By the time I read this, you were in surgery. Thus far four hours. My thought for you is for a speedy recovery. Prayer for both you and Charlotte to remain strong. Good be with you.

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