Boulders. I think most of us tend to have an acute awareness of the boulders we have in our lives. I know I do. I’m pretty self-aware of my own strengths (talents, skills, knowledge,
experiences, preferences) and boulders/weaknesses (character flaws, hot buttons, physical/medical issues, and such). I doubt I’m alone in that, although I did learn most of this during the past EIGHT years I’ve spent in the rooms of recovery. I learned that I was sometimes blind to those boulders, or rather the effects the boulders had on me, but most of it was not unknown.
For me, the boulders were wounds from past relationships and painful divorce, shredded pieces of what used to be my heart, anger, loneliness, sneaky co-dependency, control (as it turns out), and perfectionism. This is NOT an exhaustive list, but I do get a little exhausted just listing them out! LOL…
Pebbles. I was having coffee in a fav local coffee haunt with a sponsee this morning. We chatted about lessons we both learned and how far we have both come. She’s rounding the corner on near completion of her 12 steps and I was reflecting back to her on how much work she has put into her recovery and honoring the effort and time she has spent on those big boulders. (Due to confidentiality, I would never disclose identity or specifics.) The conversation turned to other things that tend to crop up – things like procrastination, boundaries, relationships, reactions, perceptions, feelings. We talked about some specifics, we talked about asking the 5 why’s to help get to the root cause, and we talked about how having healthy boundaries, a whole heap of grace, and a healthy dose of perspective helps when we bump into these smaller pebbles.
As we chatted, I was immediately reminded about two different times that I had one of those “embarrassing moments” caused by a very small pebble. One of those times was on a happy, sunshiny day. I was walking from my car to a cute local cafe where I was meeting a friend/mentor/boss for lunch in the front yard patio of a 1930’s house. As we walked on the paved sidewalk, I found myself being unceremoniously LAUNCHED forward and landed (especially UNgraciously) on my left knee. Honestly, it happened so fast, I needed a minute just getting my bearings. I had a badly skinned knee and a slightly turned ankle, (I hadn’t had a skinned knee since I was about 12 riding on a skateboard and hit a rock and went flying). My friend and I made it to the restaurant and I winced my way through lunch. She tried anything she could to help. An ice pack. Advil. Water.
I honestly was ok, but I kept saying, I can’t believe that just happened! The cause? The
smallest little pebble was just sitting on the sidewalk. Just one wee rock that had escaped the boundaries of the landscaping. That little stone was my undoing that day. I did not even see it coming. I didn’t see it when I stepped on it. I didn’t see it as I was falling. I only saw it after the damage was already done.
I think that little pebbles in life can be like that. They can be small and unassuming – nothing but a little pea gravel, but maybe it’s for that very reason that they can be the unexpected catapult into a period of hurt, fear or resentment. My little pebbles have turned out to be things like procrastination – resentment – miscommunication(1) – hurt feelings – pride (ouch).
In recovery, we talk about the big boulders being largely taken care of through someone’s first 12 steps, and after that, it is a continual process of ensuring the pathway is cleared of the smaller rocks that tend to crop up, because life. I am so grateful to my community of believers, those that have walked the journey with me and helped me find healing, freedom, forgiveness, joy, and peace, from both those big boulders as well as the wee pebbles. I’m in constant need of continuing to be
more like Christ each day (2). Each season seems to reveal another layer to work on. I’m so grateful for recovery and for my community of fox-hole sisters – I’m grateful for the boulders that brought me to a place of willingness. And, yes, I’m even grateful for the occasional pebble that launches me because it is another opportunity to practice reliance on Christ as My Author, Perfecter, Finisher.
(1) Catch the foxes, the little foxes, before they ruin our vineyard in bloom.