“We asked God to help us show the same tolerance, pity, and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend. When a person offended we said to ourselves, ‘This is a sick man/woman. How can I help him/her? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done.’” (p. 67 Alcoholics Anonymous book)
Just about a week ago now I finished out a five-day trip to see my sister and her family. While there was much to be grateful for during that trip, which I’ll be writing about in my upcoming Grateful Heart Monday, there was also some great sadness, sadness I’ve come to realize I can’t change, because the majority of it isn’t my work.
What I continue to realize though is that my work is to let go of trying to control their situation and praying. Because of their ongoing family dynamics with a brother-in-law who for whatever his reasons truly struggles to embrace me and them with unconditional love and acceptance, I had to pray quite a bit during this visit so that I didn’t turn to anger. Anger that really wanted to surface when he returned into town and immediately ordered his family to change their plans they had with me so that he could be accommodated. Anger that really wanted to surface as I watched my sister cry over and over because of how he treated her as soon as he returned. Anger that really wanted to surface when he attempted to keep his twin sons at home to watch a football game with him while I waited at my hotel room for them. Anger that really wanted to surface with each of his repeated attempts to limit my family’s time with me. And anger that really wanted to surface in knowing he didn’t keep his promise about allowing this trip to be totally about my sister and his kids and me. But thankfully, other than a short outburst with my sister on the Saturday I was there that I did make amends for, my prayers helped to keep all that anger at bay.
Unfortunately, the sad reality I live in now though is that so long as my sister remains married to her husband in his current state of mind and body, I may never get to experience the true closeness and unconditional love I believe my family and I could share together. In the meantime, as Bill Wilson once said, I must look at my brother-in-law as a spiritually sick man, no different than how I have gotten whenever I’ve stopped doing my own recovery work on myself.
Nonetheless, how can I best help him on my recovering path? Sometimes the only solution is to stay away until God clears a healthier path, which I most certainly pray comes sooner than later, not necessarily for my sake, but more so for my sister and my nephews, who I know deserve to receive far more unconditional love and light than they are currently getting.
Dear God, I pray that you continue to help me release any anger I may hold towards those who keep on hurting the ones I love by their selfish actions. Help me to remember I have been spiritually sick as well at times in life and that it took me reaching out to you when I was ready, to become far more healthy. Amen.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson