Guest post by Dave P.
A special post for friends of recovery
Angels pass through our lives, often unnoticed. Whether we are aware of their presence or not, we are changed because of them and in many cases, our emotional lives are saved because they stopped to touch us. I’ve had a few such whisk through my life to show me the way and wanted to introduce you to two of them.
I’m quite certain that if you look up “loving” in the dictionary it will say “see Dave and Polly P.” There aren’t two people alive who understand what it means to love “on” people quite like these two. There are souls in scores of countries who owe their very lives to this duo as they share their experience, strength, and hope the world over, and give as if the well will never run dry. They share Who God is in a language few can deny and all can understand… the language of love. These two shower a deluge of encouragement over anyone who falls in their path and I dare anyone who has gotten soaked by them to say so here. If you want to see that kind of God in action, watch Him work in Dave and Polly as they demonstrate how to truly live the “abundant life” in the service of others.
I’ve been one of the fortunates who have experienced this catalytic force up close and personal. I knew Polly over 30 years ago as I watched her guide many a lost soul to wellness in the world of recovery from alcoholism. I had long since lost track of her but the day I reached the end of my asphalt 14 years ago, I remembered her, found her, and asked her for help. As usual, her dance card was filled up as she was already helping a passel of women, but she made time for me, and for nearly five months she and Dave held my hand on a daily basis as I learned how to walk, feel, and pee again as a different person.
Although they now live on the other side of the country, these two still bless my life. Not long ago when soaking up Dave’s special kind of downpour, I saw some of his writing and asked him to be a guest blogger someday. He agreed, and I decided today is that day. So close your eyes (as it were), feel the scenes he describes, and though this is just a taste… folks, meet the unique and wonderful DAVE.
It was another morning in Birch Bay where the weather kept us guessing. In my past, I had never liked changes in weather all that much. After having grown up in Texas, I went on to spend the majority of my life in Southern California where one could expect warm, clear skies 95% of the time. But sunshine relentlessly showered down on everything as a steady diet can slowly become tedious. Each day was the same: sun, sun, and more sun with not even a stray cloud now and then to intrude on the yellowish brown smog-smeared blue – only sun. Those in the earlier seasons of their lives might consider it heavenly, but then again, maybe that’s because hormones are raging and the desire for a slim, tanned body is insurmountable. The beach, the surf, the bikini, the sand… it’s intoxicating. But when we moved up to that blessed community on Washington’s extreme northwest coast, complete with its rain and clouds, I thought I’d found heaven.
We had WEATHER.In the early part of the day, I stood on my deck and drew in a great lungful of clear, clean air in the fifty degree coolness. At first, the sun flirted with a mess of cumulus clouds. The gulls out over the bay were doing what they always do — circling, squawking, diving. In front of me were four spruce trees near the deck. One was a dead snag that was unabashedly naked. Great bald eagles would sit in those trees in the spring and summer when the salmon were running. I once saw a splendid regal goshawk admiring his world while sitting on the end of a large bare branch. He didn’t seem to mind that I watched him in awe for over an hour and then without notice, he dropped off the branch, soared out over the bay, caught a fish, and brought it back to the limb where he fastidiously dined to my heart’s content.
As the day wore on, the sky began to darken and wet stuff started to fall from the sky. I zipped my jacket up around my neck and remembered how I used to dislike such inclement weather. In the past, if the weather was going to be bad, I would just stay home. But here I was, excited over the looming darkness. I guess when I moved to the Northwest, my perspective on all that changed. While there I lived in a veritable rain forest which was merely glorious, with greens that saturated my eyes and were spiritually soothing. But for a guy like me to even be able to notice that kind of beauty, there has to be a lot of rain.
Why do I tell you all this?
I never had this perspective before. I always sought comfort at all costs. I never heard life, felt life, or cared about life quite like I do now as I walk in the sunlight light of the Spirit. So what happened? Well, one stormy day, my life took a turn when I realized I had been wasting it in the “comfort” of “low living”. I had been settling… SETTLING for a shallow meaningless existence. I hadn’t noticed that my life was passing me by and worse yet, I was powerless to change it’s direction. I could come up with only one thing to do: I humbly asked God to come in and fill my eyes, my ears, my mind and my heart with new things and over time, I started to understand that a rain forest must have foul weather if it is to flourish.
Eventually, I got it. The question was really: “Dave, do you want to be just a spectator in God’s world or do you want to be a participant?”
I thought of my Texas roots in considering my answer. I remembered a mantra I had heard in my youth: “Pull your hat on tight, take a deep seat, get a faraway look in your eyes, give that bucking strap an extra yank, and yell ‘turn him out!’” Perhaps nurtured by my advancing age and whatever wisdom I may have accumulated along the way (with maybe a dash of the courage that comes from a deep belief in God thrown in), I remembered those words as I faced the years I have left and decided to give that strap a strong tug.
If you’re facing foul weather, don’t be afraid of the fierce downpour that may lie ahead. Maybe you could decide to be a participant in your own destiny. Live the life that wants to live you. “Don’t be afraid”, a voice in my head said.. I asked myself: how close to God do I want to be? I decided I want to climb right up there in His lap. Don’t you? Sure. So why not go for it… what have you got to lose? It may be pouring outside but you know what? There’s a break in the clouds right up here in His lap… come on up into the sunshine.
For information on Alcoholics Anonymous, please visit aa.org.
Sylvia Lange is a Christian women’s speaker who lives in Southern California.