Living among the multitudes, caught up in the day-t0-day tasks of life, it is easy to feel minuscule. Even those of us who feel special love from a partner, a child, a parent, a household four legged friend, or a special two legged friend can feel unimportant at times. Those who do not have any of these, or only a few of them, may feel this more pointedly. The fact is, if we open ourselves to share a bit of who we are with others, it is possible to quickly learn that we all matter. The older I get, the more I experience this, and it is something that could have saved me much pain if I had discovered it much earlier in life.
Today I received an e-mail from someone from whom I had never received one, a person I will call Pat. (I am being as vague as possible in order to maintain this person’s anonymity.) It seems a rather “throw away” comment I made many years ago really made an impression on Pat. We were at the same event and Pat asked if I would like a drink. I have been blessed to have always been comfortable in my sobriety, so I said, “No thanks; I haven’t had a drink in xx years.”
In today’s message, Pat told me that at the time, being sober that long was unimaginable. My sobriety had been on Pat’s mind throughout the years, and Pat wanted to thank me for being open about that because this is Pat’s 5th year of sobriety. I felt so blessed to have made any sort of difference in an area so important. I had no idea my “throw away” comment could ever help anyone else.
Sometimes it seems easier to maintain some semblance of a wall to our true self, to prevent hurt (so we think). As someone who hopes to one day be ordained, I often wonder just how much self-disclosure is appropriate. In the case of my sobriety, I have never hesitated to mention it as appropriate, and the message today tells me that this is the right decision.
Almost every action you take every day is observed by someone. Even if you talk to yourself (AND answer!), it is possible someone else hears you. As this story shows, you really have NO idea how your actions and your words are affecting others. Are you acting and talking in a way that is truly reflective of how you wish to be emulated and perceived? Do you realize what an awesome role model you are in the way you choose to live out your calling?
I hope you do now!