I spent time walking in the desert recently. I was reflecting on the recent passing of my aunt and other alcoholics who have passed on to the big meeting in the sky.
Many of us have spent our lives being chased by shadows. Shadows that were attached to us by our own choices and sadly, some given to us by others. The dyer consequences of living alcoholic lives before sobriety and after.
As I walked among the rock cliffs and sage brush I think of how our shadows shorten and grow. As the days wear on and depending where you are standing in relation to the sunlight of The Great Sprit will determine how visible your shadow and mine becomes. We spent many nights walking far from the sun light. We lied, hurt those close to us and walked paths that most people close to us will never understand this side of heaven.
I believe we walked those paths to keep that long dark shadow at our backs. In attempts to forget the terrors of yesterday. Alcoholic, my aunt was. Living a life as an alcoholic women is full of shame. Dark shame that turns your gut at night. The things we do to get by, the lies we believe to keep the shadows at our backs are unspeakable at times.
Despite my aunts defects, she played a vital role in my sobriety. Her daughter was to be married to her prince. I was detoxing and raging for a drink. My skin on fire and body ached. I had an out the night before the wedding. Someone was coming to get me. I was standing in the hotel main lobby waiting and my aunt comes walking in. She was sober at the time, I remember 15 years but I could be wrong.
As an alcoholic her self she saw right through my antics. She was hellbent to prevent me from taking away anything from her daughters wedding. She grabbed me in the lobby and took me back to dinner, ignored my out bursts and cruel words. She had one objective; keep me there so I could be in the wedding party and her daughter wouldn’t have to experience another let down by an alcoholic. My aunt won and forever became part of my sober story.
You see despite her shadows that followed her, she helped me. That moment in time she was close enough to the sun her shadows were almost gone. And that’s all it takes. Seeing someone in their true form, as we are in ours, we are shielded from the pains of darkness.
Today, I believe, my God in Heaven extends extra grace for us who walk with long dark shadows. His terms are easy, ask and you shall be given. Keep our own house in order and help others, his terms are simple, simple enough that any one can do them and enjoy a walk along in his sunlight.
My aunt died sober next to her daughter and husband. People her shadows effected greatly. In that moment I believe she was walking close to the sun, that they may have seen her as she is, a child of God. She is at peace today with her mom and brothers, in a place where shadows no longer belong. As our brothers and sister pass on to the big meeting in the sky their shadows no longer torment them either.
They leave us a path to follow sometimes close to the sun and sometimes far far away. That is the path of life. It’s not about perfection it’s about experiencing all that life has to offer, shadows and all.
I am alive today because my aunt chose, even for a brief moment to walk close to the sun. I can only believe in my experience, that there are others too who walk close to the sun. as she once did saving lives. There are still others who walk far from the sun at times and upon returning, remind us that darkness is sometimes apart of our journey too.
The shadows we walk next to have the power to remind us that our darkness is always there. We all have it, yet sometimes it is in the shadows darkness we can see how our experience can save lives, as my aunt and countless others did with mine. They continue to remind us that we are not the sum of our successes or mistakes. We are simply the sum of our experiences.
May she and the others who passed before us Rest In Peace today, eternal. May the rest of us find peace in the sunlight of the Great Sprit no matter how close we travel to the sun.