Thursday, August 28, 2008

Repairing The Damage

It was my turn to have vehicle trouble today.
Last night only daughter and lover boy finally made it home
60+ hours after they left here. Dearest one has their car trouble figured out already. A simple fix. One their mechanic in big city far away should've been able to diagnose and fix with mechanics 101 under his belt.
C'est la vie. And a big tow bill to boot.
My van will be a simple fix, too although I think dearest one is at the point where a bullet hole through the next vehicle to break down will do the trick quite nicely.

It took several hours for my tow truck guy to arrive but thankfully I had a good book to read in the meantime. Fifteen minutes down the road we drove past a big truck that had flipped on its side earlier in the day. It certainly put my puny car trouble into perspective. My van simply slowed to a stop, it didn't have to hit the ditch and roll on its side first.

My appointment with Fr. Charlie went well.
Hashing out the details of the past week helped me see just how much changing I've done since I came home from rehab. It feels good. It feels worth every one foot in front of the other step I've taken.

Part of recovery is making amends for hurts inflicted. There's someone I've wanted to make amends to for as long as I've been sober. This month's step is about being willing to make amends. The willingness has been there but the opportunity hasn't. The other night I was talking to my mom, who mentioned she'd been talking to his mom, when I asked for the umpteenth time if she knew where he was living. Nope. It dawned on me that maybe I could find him online. So I went searching and found a few people with his name who might live in the right area. I queried with vague details to see if one of them was him. Tonight one of them wrote back with one little sentence that told me they were indeed the right person. That sentence was about the very thing I needed to make amends for. I guess we've both been carrying that incident with us for 30 years now.

One of the oldest amends on my list has now been made.

Fixing broken vehicles is so cut and dried.
Take out broken part, replace it with a working part
and go on your merry way.
At the worst the vehicle is beyond repair and you buy a different one.
Or you walk.
Well, except I live in the boondocks so that's not exactly an option.
But you get my drift.

Fixing broken relationships.
That's not quite so easy.
I have no control over my school mate's response to my amend. For all I know he still thinks I'm the same bitch that he did when he stopped talking to me that day 30 years ago. For tonight I can let go of that.

Fr. Charlie and I talked today about the difference between being sorry because one feels bad about what they did and wants to feel better about themself as opposed to being sorry because one's actions harmed the other person. I told him I've made countless apologies to others in order to make myself feel better. Apologies made without ever letting myself gaze, let alone look, at the hurt I inflicted and how my actions damaged relationships. Most of my apologies over the years have been self pity driven.

I don't know how it is for other people. How it happens that they get courageous enough to want to change. How it is that they become willing to stop repeating the same old habits that get them the same old results. While part of me feels embarrassed that I only figured out today that apologies made out of self pity really don't heal much, at the same time, I'm thankful that such a realization is possible.

In some ways I'm not much different than the mechanic who was unable to fix only daughter's car. It would be easy to sit here and think he's a dumb ass because he kept replacing the same part without fixing the problem. I'm sure every time he tightened the last bolt and stepped back to look at his work, he felt a sense of satisfaction that all would be well now. What he lacked was the ability to see that he kept putting the part in backwards.

Tonight I feel more empathy for him than anything.

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