You may have seen this on a bumper sticker.
But what does it mean exactly? What was explained to me, and what I now understand to be truth about these four simple words is this; Live your life to the best of your ability today, and allow others the room and time to live theirs without criticism or judgement. Hold on there- its not as easy as it sounds.
Take for instance a brother with an addiction problem.
Can one really be expected to do nothing? To sit back casual style in the front row of someone else’s self destruction is devastating. Not to mention frustrating and hurtful. You see ever since I decided to give up my Janis Joplin- wanna be gypsy ways I have had the harshest experiences in dealing with the world around me.. including the people in it. Often feeling like, “I see it so clearly now!” Sobriety warns me about this ego-centric thinking… Its NOT up to me to fix it, change it, or re-arrange it. And just because I’m sober and loving everything about my program doesn’t mean it will work for you- DAMNIT!! This sucks. I want everyone to have the ‘good stuff.’ But what about when the shoe was on the other foot. What about when I was out there, ‘doing my thing?’ I swore up and down that the only one I was hurting was ME. Wrong, again. I was used to being wrong, I was not however used to admitting when I was at fault. Up until last weekend I was twisted up inside about what to do… ’cause I mean, I had to do something didn’t I? Am I not morally bound to those I love to meddle in their personal affairs? I’m being sarcastic here, but seriously what good did it do me to get wrapped up in my family members business. None, thats what. I took my behind to a meeting and listened for the solutions to come. And come they did. I heard everything I needed to hear and then some. I found out what I could do about the number one problem: Mery Noel Smith. The veil of delusion slightly shifted so that I could see my part in things… Why couldn’t I just, live and let live.
My brother is not out to hurt me.. He’s out there getting enough. Just like I had to do. I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do-including the whole front row scenario. I’m not going to pretend it isn’t painful because if you know what I speak of you know how it feels, heartwrenching. But to say that life won’t go on because of it is silly. It has to. I need to move on and do what I can to be a channel and a teacher for anyone who decides they want some of what I got. And it is good.. As I’ve said before I have the life I always imagined and never thought I deserved. What I’m finding is 2 1/2 years into this life is, I have to daily work on my spiritual condition. And the work will never be over. I will still need reminders like this. I am not in charge. It’s not all about me. Rigorous honesty in all my affairs. you get the picture. I don’t ever get to graduate sobriety.
I’ll leave you with this, some things we do have control over are they way we treat people in need. “The ones who least deserve our forgiveness need it the most.” – Joyce Williams
We can offer grace as it has been so freely offered to us. And for that, I’m grateful.