It's the laughter we will rememberWhile in Toledo last weekend I got to visit my original AA home group, the "Early Bird" Group (Mon-Sat at 7:30 AM at the Chapter V club on Airport Highway...a great group!). When I walked in, I was surprised to learn that Larry P., a long-time member of "The Bird" who'd finally gotten sober for a couple years, had died (sober) of a heart-attack... at age 53.
Whenever we remember
The way we were...
Alcohol and chemicals had not been kind to Larry's heart and circulation system - so a lot of folks were shocked, but not surprised, to hear of Larry's death. But as people shared about Larry's life and struggles with sobriety, one of the things I kept hearing about, over and over again, was the laughter that Larry shared with others. He is just the most recent in a long string of folks I've met in 12-step groups for whom "sober & crazy" was not only a status-report, but both a mantra and a mission statement.
It brought me to the realization that my own self-centered fears - about my employment and finances, about my future in ministry, and about a health concern or two - have kept me from doing much in the way of belly-laughing for a while. There have been a number of things that have been funny in my life recently (see this posting, for one example), but while I have told the stories, and gotten laughs out of them at my own expense, I haven't been doing much laughing myself lately.
This revelation explains why I was reasonably serene during the day today, despite a number of setbacks. My sister gave me her bike to ride around Chicago, and this morning I pumped up the tires and set off for Borders' Books and then to the lake. Unfortunately, I only made it about 6 blocks (from the apartment to almost in front of the Valois cafeteria) when the bike's back tire blew, with a sound like a shotgun blast. Startled, I swore loudly (I know...still workin' on that) and was ready to "hit the dirt" (go ahead and laugh at that image) until I realized it was only my own tire detonating underneath me. So, I walked the bike from 53rd & Lake Park over to Art's Cyclery on 55th & Connell, ocasionally muttering to myself about the stupidity of bringing the bike 245 miles west, so that I could once again be celebrating the joys of hoofing it. Fifteen minutes and $15 later, I was back on the road, and was almost exactly where I had been before....
...and the @$#&$ tire blew...again.
So there I was, walking down 53rd St.,Connell, and 55th Street on my way back to the cycle-shop. My mind was racing with a steady stream of fairly vulgar invective, varying in tone all the way from "Why were you so all-fired excited about getting a damn bike, anyway?" to "Did you see the faces on those folks on the sidewalk beside you, and the way they jumped when that stupid tire blew?"
Needless to say, I enjoyed the second line of reasoning far more than the first. Attitude counts for a lot. Thank you, God, for the gift of being able to laugh at myself...it beats the tar out of the alternatives!