February 20

HOPE MONTH: DAY 20: “You see, we cannot draw lines and compartments and refuse to budge beyond them. Sometimes you have to use your failures as stepping-stones to success. You have to maintain a fine balance between hope and despair.’ He paused, considering what he had just said. ‘Yes’, he repeated. ‘In the end, it’s all a question of balance.” ― Rohinton Mistry

I would like to change one word here…in the second sentence, he used the word “Sometimes” and I would take it out. We always have to use our failures as stepping stones to success. There is no one alive or dead who has not failed in some aspect of their lives.

Most of us have failed (seemingly) in every area. That is my story. And those “failures” are my greatest learning experiences and tools today. So, again, that judgment that names things success or failure is the wrong idea anyway. We really are not qualified for use of these words. Wouldn’t it be great if we learned to stop applying them to our daily lives or any situation in which the Universe has said NO to us or someone else?

I love the idea that we must maintain the balance between hope and despair. That is exactly how I felt when I got here, and the mind began to clear from all the drugs and alcohol. This took about 2 years. I had a lot of damage.

I would look at all the messes I had in front of me to clean up and despair. Then I would go to a meeting and check in with today’s progress and recovery. I would feel hopeful that greater strides would be made in the future, based on seeing how far I had come.

That balance is crucial, or I will throw in the towel. I am so used to viewing myself and my life through that “loser” lens, that I forget to be grateful and mindful that even this “loser” is sitting on a pot of gold, as far as Grace goes.

And I was, and I am. When I feel discouraged about something not working out the way I think it should have, I get to be grateful for the things that are here, now. That is what keeps giving me hope. The benefit of being around here as long as I have is that I have evidence to present about the ups and downs, the seeming successes and failures. The times when I thought that I knew what would happen when I did X, Y, and Z.

Then, of course, my formula did not produce what I expected. If you doubt this, trust me, the last 7 years of my life have been a great picture of me going in one direction, thinking I knew the road, and the Universe giving me huge (really HUGE) U-turns at every opportunity. And then, at last, the reasons for it all appear! Holy Crap!

We MUST let go of the lines and compartments and ideas about how life is going to look. There is no plan we can create that will produce what we want. There are a couple of sayings that I remember when my plans go off-kilter:

“Tell God your plans and listen for the laughter.” Or

“It is okay to plan, but you must leave the results in the hands of God.”

Trust me, it might take a long time to get to see why things are as they are…sometimes we never do. But there is hope, always hope, when we sit still and pay attention. We are being fed all we need, one day at a time; never more, never less. And that is Grace!

Published by: Kelly

I am a therapist and counselor with long-term recovery from addictions and personal trauma. My writing reflects these experiences and the road I have traveled in 12-Step recovery settings, along with the work I have done for over 30 years in the field. My love of dolphins includes the stories of them being healers in places all over the world. I long to offer every broken spirit and body the experience of a healing hug. May my words and stories inform, uplift and delight your spirit and soothe your weary heart.

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