Creating a House of Healing – Part 5

MarilynDavisatTIERSStarred Page By MarilynDavisatTIERS, 1st Feb 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1vf3g7_i/
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“We can't be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea. Holding onto something that is good for you now, may be the very reason why you don't have something better.” ― C. Joy Bell C.

Leaving My Safe Haven

My contract with the university had ended by Thanksgiving, 1989. I felt both free and apprehensive. My contract had listed several behaviors for me under the heading, Safeguards for Sobriety. Now, I would no longer be accountable to my employer.

I had learned to value these safeguards. I saw in them an expression of the support and care the university felt towards me, beginning with their intervention and sending me to treatment and then allowing me to return and work at the college. Using them as a guide, I committed to Grey Hawk, my parents and most importantly, myself, to continue to uphold the safeguards.

This meant continuing to attend two meetings a day. I was close to several people in both my noon and 8 PM meetings and since I celebrated a year in recovery, I could participate as discussion leader or gave out chips to people to mark their time in recovery.

When I returned from a meeting one day around the beginning of December, my father was laying down in the den. This was unusual. His routine was to have breakfast out with several friends, discuss the day’s politics, how the poultry industries were faring, and then come home around 10 AM and work until dinner.

When I found him napping at 2 PM, I woke him to see if he was all right or needed something. His speech seemed garbled but he dismissed it as not being fully awake from a dream. He got up and seemed somewhat shaky as he went into the kitchen to get some water.

He got his water, and while drinking it, walked down the hall to his office and waved at me without saying anything else. I also realized he had lost weight. He was never a large man, and we kidded him that he often needed suspenders if his weight fluctuated. This however, seemed different.

An Inventory of Myself

Since I was not working during the day, I could concentrate more on my Life History. I had also made a commitment to Grey Hawk to write a fearless and thorough moral inventory of myself. It is the fourth of the twelve steps. The spiritual principle of this Step is, courage, as it does take courage to look at ourselves, not someone or something else that we can blame for our actions.

However, many people tend only to write what we call a “grudge list”. A short inventory of everyone else, all they had done wrong, all they had done to create chaos, all the harm they had done, or the people and situations that created resentments.

Grey Hawk stressed that I could not change anything that had happened in my life, I could not change anything done to or by me, and continuing to have a life filled with resentments, guilt, shame and fear was not how a higher power would have us live.

Eyes Wide Open

This Life History/Inventory helps us see ourselves; not the illusions we have created, not only the best of ourselves nor the worst of ourselves, but an eyes-wide open objective appraisal of our past.

I wrote until my mother arrived from a bridge game around 4 PM. I asked if she had noticed anything different about Dad and she replied that she did not. We fixed dinner and he said he was fine, he just had not slept well the night before and was tired when he returned from breakfast. He said he was playing golf the next day, so my mother and I quit worrying.

I went to my meeting and then coffee with Grey Hawk. We discussed what I had written about in my Life History and I told him of my concerns for my father; how he looked frail in that moment walking down the hall.

A Frank Conversation

The next morning my father asked to talk to me rather than play golf. He wanted me to know that he was supportive of the house vision and that I had a limited amount of time to accomplish it. He talked of his own opportunities and the ones in his life that he had forfeited; usually based on fear of failure and success.

He did not want this to be a missed opportunity that I regretted in later years.

He stressed that he knew this had been a strange and somewhat otherworldly experience for me; finding out about his long-held, but unknown beliefs about life, death, and rebirth.

He stressed that whether I believed or understood, I could not deny that Grey Hawk and he believed that destiny, karma, providence or serendipity was in play with this vision and them reuniting.

My father, as a history major, believed in remembering. Remembering for him was finding value in what had gone before and using it to our advantage today. Growing up, we would get the usual parental lectures on values, goals, aspirations and potential. Unlike some parents though, he would fortify and reinforce his lectures with quotes.

I did not know if this was one he had ever used with me before, or found in his books on quotes, but he quoted Albert Einstein that morning, ““Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for the insect, as well as for the star. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.”

What Am I Not Seeing?

Once again, I felt conflict. What if there is a design in this that I am either too afraid to acknowledge, too stubborn to face, or too self-centered to pursue.

He asked if I had sent out the letters. I told him the truth and said I was waiting to hear from my old treatment provider so that this whirlwind experience could stop. He laughed and told me that while I was playing out an agenda, I could not predict the course of action that others would take.

He wanted to go to Florida for the Christmas holiday to visit his brother and cousin. He wanted me to go and take some time away from Gainesville to see the ocean once more and reflect on all that had happened in the last six months.

I would willingly sign up for anything that legitimately got me out of Gainesville and could forestall opening a house.

A Promise and the Problem with Paint

My father asked me to promise him that I would look for a house before we left for Florida in three days, and to get the other letters sent. I willingly made a promise to do both.

I called Grey Hawk and told him that while my father had meaningful talks with me before, the one that morning was somehow different. My father rarely asked for promises. I had, in my addiction, made and broken many to my mother, my children, and him.

Therefore, he would not ask for something that would uplift him for the moment, only to be disappointed later, so I knew that on some level by asking me to promise, he either believed that I could keep a promise now, or that this vision was that important to him as well.

Either way, I knew that I must take this promise seriously.

Grey Hawk said that like my father, he valued quotes from great men. Then he quoted Abraham Lincoln, “Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality.”

Now, he wanted to know how I would demonstrate this commitment to my promise on that day – not in the future, not in theory, but in measurable actions. I committed to looking for a house that day. I no longer felt trapped by their belief but was still uncertain.

Honoring the Pledge: First Efforts

I got in my car and drove to the center of town, driving near the university. I saw a “For Rent” sign and called to see it. General Sherman missed Gainesville, Georgia on his march to the sea during the American Civil War so there are many Queen Anne and Victorian era houses left standing. This one was a light shade of mauve outside, with gingerbread.

I met the real estate agent at three and went inside. It had eight bedrooms, three baths, a large dining room and within walking distance of the recovery support meeting place and several business that might hire the women of the house.

14-foot ceilings, crown molding, hardwood floors, nooks and crannies, and the paint – well, it was a little strange. The dining room was a bright yellow with pink baseboards – coordinated with the pink living room and turquoise baseboards blending into the small room that was turquoise with yellow baseboards.

The agent explained that a collective had rented it. They were a dance instructor, several artists, a photographer and some writers. None of which explained the choice of colors.

I told her the reason I was looking to rent and she thought she ought to call the owner, so she excused herself and came back about 10 minutes later saying that renting to me would not be a problem.

Then I asked the rental price, $1200 per month in 1989 dollars or $2,320.82 in 2014 dollars.

I simply said, okay and asked if the owner would be willing to repaint. Another ten minutes and I wandered the rest of the house. Each room had a fireplace, not a particularly deep one, however, I was not going to allow fires anyway, but they were quaint and I thought they added charm.

Was the Bunny on Drugs?

Grey Hawk met me with another friend the following morning, and as we walked through, he was neither smiling nor excited and I finally asked him why he was not enthusiastic since this house was available.

He asked the real estate agent about how the house was heated and cooled. She got red-faced and said that it needed space heaters and window units, which I would have to furnish; however, the other renters had stuck the electric heaters in the shallow fireplaces and maybe I could consider doing that as well.

Grey Hawk quickly dashed any plans for this particular house. Besides the lack of heat and the threat of fires, the friend that he brought with him was a painter. He had been calculating something and told me that it would take about 120 gallons of primer and paint to cover the existing paint inside and out.

Grey Hawk said, “It looks like it was painted by the Easter Bunny on Acid, Marilyn.”

The only thing I could do was sit in the middle of the pink and turquoise living room and cry.

The Tears Need to Flow

Here I was, actually following through on the promise and my efforts did not count. Grey Hawk understood that I was not simply crying about the paint but the broken promises from the past.

He gave me about five minutes to cry, not trying to console me or comfort me. Too many people make the mistake of not letting someone cry. We rush to pat them, hand them Kleenexes, and tell them sometimes-meaningless things like, “It will be alright”.

What happens is most people see or hear these reactions to tears as an indication that they should just stop crying. Grey Hawk knew better than to block my tears; they needed to fall.

When I had exhausted those tears, I asked him what was next. He said; “Go with your father on his pilgrimage”. Those words seemed ominous and I asked him what he knew, why those words, what, if anything was going on between he and my father that I did not know.

Then he patted my hand, and said he was not keeping something from me, however, this trip seemed more important to my father in their talks than a simple Christmas vacation.

We also decided that this house was not “the” house and thanked the real estate agent.


Upcoming: Creating a House of Healing – Part Six

On a cold deserted beach, I remember with my father, I have an epiphany and spiritual experience; I am interviewed by the paper, find a name for the house, find “the” house, understand the purpose and keep a promise.

“There are powers far beyond us, plans far beyond what we could have ever thought of, visions far more vast than what we can ever see on our own with our own eyes, there are horizons long gone beyond our own horizons. This is courage- to throw away what is our own that is limited and to thrust ourselves into the hands of these higher powers- God and Destiny…. C. JoyBell C.

For additional articles by Marilyn Davis

Each person has a unique voice and Wikinut is a place for you to share your wisdom, humor, insight and knowledge. Join, write and become connected to others who share a passion for writing, supporting one another, and learning on Wikinut.

Credits:
Queen Anne House example – Writer’s described house demolished
• Brenau University logo: for information on Brenau
• All other images: www.pixabay.com

Tags

Changes, Choices, Creating A House Of Healing, Destiny, Fate, Grey Hawk, Karma, Opening A Recovery Home

Meet the author

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
A Certified Addiction Recovery Empowerment Specialist, with 25 years of abstinence-based recovery. I write about addictions, recovery, life lessons and general writing tips.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
1st Feb 2014 (#)

Good afternoon, Steve, thank you for the quick moderation and the star. Still holds true today - I appreciate both. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Randhir Bechoo
1st Feb 2014 (#)

Interesting article.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
1st Feb 2014 (#)

Good evening, Randhir; thank you for commenting. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Jerry Walch
1st Feb 2014 (#)

The Native American connection is what has made this series the most interesting for me. I have many native American friends

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
1st Feb 2014 (#)

Good evening, Jerry; then you might like the last of the series, where I actually have to have a name in not a lot of time. I rely on some Native teachings when I'm interviewed by the paper which Grey Hawk set up without my knowledge. He could be patient, but only so much so before he put plans into actions, with or without my knowledge :) ~Marilyn

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author avatar Connie McKinney
1st Feb 2014 (#)

How interesting, Marilyn. Once again, you make good use of cliff hangers. I can't wait to read part six.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
1st Feb 2014 (#)

Good evening, Connie; it is not all about cliff hangers, but how much I think someone is willing to read in one sitting sometimes :) Thanks for the comment. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Kingwell
2nd Feb 2014 (#)

I am just loving the series and looking forward to part 6. Blessings.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
2nd Feb 2014 (#)

Good evening, Kingwell; thanks very much. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
2nd Feb 2014 (#)

I am looking forward to each installment. I am learning so much about you. I am laughing when you are trying to get away with something and I feel the pain through your tears. I want to know more. Thanks for sharing.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
2nd Feb 2014 (#)

Good morning, Phyl; thanks for staying with it. Empathy is a good thing :) ~Marilyn

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
2nd Feb 2014 (#)

Keep these one of a kind posts coming my dear arilynn, you rock!

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
2nd Feb 2014 (#)

Good morning, Fern; thank you for your one of a kind comment, as well. I don't know if anyone ever told me that I rocked before :) ~Marilyn

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
2nd Feb 2014 (#)

Another intriguing part Marilyn with deep meaning and apt quotes - siva

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
2nd Feb 2014 (#)

Good morning, Siva; this apple did not fall too far from the tree. I love finding and using quotes and wrote an article on why and how to use them, too. I think quotes just sum up sometimes and add another voice to our pieces. Thanks for the read and comment. ~Marilyn

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
2nd Feb 2014 (#)

another good one indeed dear Marilyn...what a ride!!!

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
2nd Feb 2014 (#)

Good morning, Carolina; and it has been a nice ride to reflect upon as well. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Delicia Powers
4th Feb 2014 (#)

The feel of destiny is heavy within this part of your story... both with your dear Dad... and with Grey Hawk's reaction to your choice of the house...I had thought he would have been pleased... but as your life unwinds, I find many things are not the ones we in our own mind have come to expect..all lessons to be learned....thank you Marilyn...

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
4th Feb 2014 (#)

Good morning, Delicia, thank you so much for this comment, I too was taken aback by the reaction, however, as with many factors in this unfolding chronicle, things are not always what they seem, nor is the lesson apparent at the time. I'll finish this experience up later today and post. It explains much. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Mariah
9th Feb 2014 (#)

A fascinating and emotional journey with you Marilyn..and it's so important to let out pent up emotion with tears, it's almost like a safety valve opening the floodgates and taking some of the pressure away.. moving on to chapter six now..I want to read more about your journey..thank you

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
9th Feb 2014 (#)

Good morning, Mariah, you captured that moment correctly. There was pressure, and I needed to safely release them. Thanks for reading and commenting. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Songbird B
26th Feb 2014 (#)

I am following your journey avidly my friend..in all its twists and turns..I have great admiration of your writing style and how you carry us along with you in each article.. Pretty amazing and spiritual stuff..which makes you think. \0/x

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
26th Feb 2014 (#)

Good evening, Songbird - and I am following your comments :) It is interesting to me as the writer to follow the comments per each part of the series, as I have been able to do with your comments. Thank you for reading it in one sitting. ~Marilyn

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