I took out the guitar Jeremy gave me and man, is it nice. Last time I was in Tennessee, he lent me a different one, which I liked, but while I was in Montana, he told me I could swap it out for a better one and this one I could keep. Turns out it’s a Taylor-a super nice guitar with a super nice sound. I’m sure it was expensive. He’s a really generous guy and sometimes I wonder why he’s so good to me. I played a Willie Nelson song called Nothing I Can Do About It Now, originally written by a woman named, Beth Nielsen Chapman. I looked her up and she wrote a ton of hits in the 80’s and 90’s. If you write number one hits for Willie, you’re not doing too bad. It sounds like a song he would write and it’s quite possible she wrote it for him.

“I’ve got a wild and a restless spirit. I’ve held my price at every deal.” What a great line. Holding onto your independence is tough because people are always trying to box you in. It’s something to fight and even die for in the minds of most Americans. Most of the people I’ve met overseas do not think like Americans. We are super big into independence. We each drive our own car to places and meet there instead of going together so we can all leave when we want. Maybe we feel like we’re more original if we have all the options open-more unique or something.

C.S.Lewis says the more you try to stand out and be different, the more like everybody else you will become. The more you surrender to Christ, the more unique you’ll be. Sounds true I suppose. I guess if most people are trying to be unique, then we are all the same in that way, so even if we look different on the outside, the inside is the same. Denying yourself and picking up your cross is definitely not the popular choice.

I went to a noon AA meeting in Stevensville, Michigan today for the heck of it and even with all the cars in the lot, there were only 3 other guys in there. Depressing. I walked out and got in my van to leave and drove to the entrance, but stopped short with the same thoughts as always.

What are you leaving for? You drove over here to go to a meeting and now you’re leaving. You flake. Why don’t you stick with anything? What’s wrong with a smaller meeting? Are you afraid you’ll have to share? Is it because there are no girls?

It’s always the same with the mental chatter and there’s only one way to silence it.

So I reversed back into the lot, went in, and sat down.

It’s a large room at an AA clubhouse. They have about 20 meetings a day there and the only reason this one was empty was because of the weather. Out the windows, it’s grey and gloomy with ice on the roads. I was a little miffed that there wasn’t any coffee made either. I guess I was just in the mood to complain.

The guys were talking about medication they take for heart trouble, bills, and the weather. Typical topics for men in their 50’s I guess. The “chair” person asked if we wanted to have a meeting then picked up a book to generate a topic. He opened to an entry on codependence. It’s always amazing how spot-on the topics at these meetings are.

We’ve been talking about that a lot in our family over Christmas. Even though the holidays seem long gone now, the issues still hang on. In families, we try to love and help each other, but the lines aren’t always that clear. When you are young, yours is the only family you know, but as you go on, it becomes obvious that there are other ways of doing things. Some are worse, some better. Should we intervene just because we can? Is it ok to let others do things we think they will regret? God gives us choices, so shouldn’t we do the same for others?

We talked and shared mostly sticking to that topic and didn’t leave with a whole lot more in the way of answers than when we came in. The one thing you get and give from support groups is encouragement to keep moving forward, the knowledge that you are not alone, and that many have it far worse than you do.

Sometimes the best answers are simple. Simple, but hard.

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Amen