Acts Of God In The Knick Of Time
They aren’t coincidences. They’re just acts of God in the knick of time.- Sam Giles
The man just showed up unannounced and asked if he could speak with me. I could not think of any reason not to hear the man out though I must admit I tried. I am usually very busy and my schedule is nearly always full. Yet at the time this stranger showed up there was an uncharacteristic lull in the action and, since he appeared sincere and coherent, and inasmuch as I am a counselor, I agreed to listen.
I settled back in my chair as the stranger recounted his tale.
“I was in treatment for drugs and alcohol and had just been released from detox, “ he said. “I was still pretty foggy though when a nurse informed me that I was required to attend and informal meeting in the ‘day room’ with the rest of the patients. There was a speaker from outside of the hospital who was there to share the AA message. Needless to say I was less than enthused. All I could think about was how I had ‘shot the wad’. No more fun for me. Without booze and dope how was I ever going to enjoy myself? So toxic and full of self pity I dragged myself out to the day room and took a seat.”
“The room was like a giant fake living room/dinette with awful bright colors soft chairs and couches and a refrigerator stocked with little single shot fruit juice cups and yogurt. I grabbed a cup of coffee and was soon further dejected when I realized all the hospital served patients was decaf. The man from AA was very dark African-American in a very bright yellow sweat suit. He buzzed around the room smiling and joyful, getting in the face of all the patients trying to cheer them up with his AA message. He reminded me of a carpenter bee.”
“A what?” I asked the stranger.
“ A carpenter bee,” he replied. “You know. A black and yellow insect buzzing around the room.”
“Oh, you mean a bumble bee.” I said.
“No,” the stranger countered. “A carpenter bee.”
“Whatever,” I said. “Please continue.”
“ Anyway. He buzzed around the room sharing the joys of his sobriety and encouraging others to join in. I really don’t remember much of what he said. At the time I really didn’t care. I was too self-absorbed and was more involved with staring at the girls from the women’s unit who had joined us. Lost in toxic fantasies I could not have cared less about what this man had to say. I just wanted his pitch to be over. Then he said something that snapped me out of it. Something I have remembered for over a quarter of a century and has helped me stay clean and sober to this very day.”
The man said that if a person quit drinking and using drugs one day at a time for his whole life… If he lived according to the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous… If that person admitted he had a problem. Turned his will and his life over to the care of his own conception of God. Took a searching and fearless moral inventory of himself and shared all his wrongs and defects with another human being… Then apologized, made amends and paid full restitution too all those he had harmed… If that person continued to take personal inventory and when he was wrong promptly admitted it… If he prayed and meditated and tried to help his fellow man on a daily basis for the rest of his life…
If a person did all these things and got to the end of his life, died sober and stood before God and God looked down on him and laughed and said, “Man you were never an alcoholic!”
Then, the man said, “You will not have lost anything. If you lived your life according to these simple spiritual steps and found out later you never really had to you will not have lost a thing. In fact you will have gained immeasurably!”
The stranger then got up and appeared to be about to leave.
I stopped him and asked, “Why did you come here to me today, stranger?”
He replied, “Something told me you needed to hear that.” Then he left. I had never seen him before nor have I seen him since. But he was right. I needed to hear that.
He was right about something else too.
It was a carpenter.
copyright©2016 Stephen Paul Ellington All Rights Reserved