Gratitude from food rotting in the sun

This weekend was fantastic, our daughters went to my mother-in-law’s place for a night so Hubby and I had time alone. It has been a long time since the girls were away for the night, of course I blogged about it here with Easy Does It.
So Saturday night we decided to go to a movie, we braved the crowds and went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. We chose the 2D version because the line for the 3D was obnoxiously long. I’m not the most paitent movie goer, believe it or not.
The movie was fantastic, I’m a Harry Potter geek who devoured the books as soon as they were released. I didn’t get into costume for the movie, but don’t think that I didn’t consider donning a black cape. The movie was explosive, satisfying and we walked away commenting on the fantastic effects. I won’t go further with my review because I don’t want to ruin the experience for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet.
Following the movie we had planned to go to dinner but unfortunately my brain was exhausted. One of the issues I have is exhaustion when my brain is overworked. The film was fast-paced and there was lots of information for my brain to process and by the end of it I was done. When this happens I need a quiet room to close my eyes and rest…and recharge.
We had an early night and on Sunday morning we woke at a stupid-early hour for people whose children are away. Why is it that when the kids wake us we’re grumpy and wishing for an extra hour’s rest, yet when they’re gone we naturally wake before the sun rises?
Off we went, I dropped Hubby at church and went to a 12-Step meeting. The venue for this meeting had been rented out for a buck and doe the night before. As I pulled in, I noticed there were the cars left behind by the party’s attendees.
One of my fellow meeting members commented that there were a lot of coffins left that day. That amused me. The cars weren’t exactly parked within the parking spot lines and there was one car with trays of food left on top of it, fermenting in the sun. Someone had left a huge pile of chilli dumped in the middle of the parking lot; between that and the pickels baking in the sun on top of the car it was pretty disgusting.
I stood having a cigarette, listening to a few of my fellow 12-Steppers talking about how disrespectful it was for the people to have dumped a pot of chilli in the parking lot; how gross the food on top of the car was; how embarrassed the people would be when they came to pick up their cars. All in heated, JudgyMcJudgerson tones.
At that moment it struck me, that slogan I have never related to and had annoyed me made sense. “Remember When.”
I was taken back to the many times I’d made the walk of shame to pick up my car; the walks out of houses I didn’t remember entering; not having a clue what happened the night before; my face puffy and my skin pasty in the bright daylight.
I laughed.
Because it had taken me a year and a half to understand the value of that slogan which I had thought was obvious and unnecessary.
My friends looked at my inappropriate laugh and so I explained by saying, “I know that the chilli is gross but it’s a wonderful thing for me to see this morning. I know I left much worse wreckage; if crooked parking and rotting food is the worst damage the party goers left, I applaud them.”
The tone seemed to change. We all agreed; someone swept the chilli off of the parking lot and the conversation changed from the judgemental feeling to gratitude.
A car pulled in and a man got out of the passenger side; he looked akward as he approached us on the way to his car. He mumbled “Good Morning” from behind his sunglasses and a few people greeted him by name. Someone said “looks like you had a great time last night” in a friendly voice and the man responded, “I think it’s time to stop having so many great nights, you know how that goes….”
He walked to his car with his head down, grabbed the trays of food off the top and exited the situation quickly.
This man’s shame was palpable. 
Someone told me that he had been in the program a few times in the past; that brought it all home for me.
The fragility of my sober life kicked me in the gut.
I’ve prayed for that man many times since, and for myself and my friends in my 12-Step Program.
At the close of the weekend I was grateful a mountain of little things, but spending time with Hubby and being reminded that I’m on the right path were at the top of the list.

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6 Responses

  1. "being reminded that I'm on the right path”Each day those reminders are stark and fully lighted too. Even after 27 years I am still grateful Every.Single. Day. that I can stay the course and live the life I want to have. Thank you for the reminder on this Monday morning.

  2. what a great outlook, I love how you turned people's opinion around. I also love how the chili was picked up by the people in your meeting, instead of leaving it. And I so hear you on the sleep part! When we have a free weekend, we can't sleep in past 8am!

  3. My spa just recently relocated to a bigger and better facility. However, it is situated across the street from a busy sports bar. I have been reminded of what the eager beaver happy hour crowd looks like and the aftermath, too. All of it gratitude checks.

  4. I used to take three or four aspirin after drinking and before going to bed. I mean it became so routine for me that even when I hadn't drunk I felt compelled to take the aspirin. Probably the start of my pill-popping: getting comfortable taking pills.Great that you prayed for the dude. Very generous and it always helps US. love/G

  5. Had to check in with my favorite Canada girl! I love those subtle "remember when" moments. I had one a few weeks ago when I took a phone call from a very drunk woman I met in AA. She's been struggling for months and something set her off but instead of rolling my eyes and thinking 'get your shit together", I listened, calmed her down, told her to get some coffee or go to bed and call me then next day". It was a great reminder how something so small could have set me off on a bender not too long ago! Glad to hear all is well with you my friend!

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