I pulled into the meeting parking lot…..I was early for once (thank you Baby Jesus). And who was the first person I saw? The one I call “The Frantic Man”.
I stick out my hand as I walk up and speak,
“Hey, Bud. You still praying to the doorknob or have you tried something else?”
He sheepishly looks up at me, while shuffling his feet, with a smirk and replies,
“F-f-funny. No….no….no doorknob anymore. I’m trying to believe in a God of my OWN understanding….”
I nod my head with approval.
“Hmmm. So…how goes it?”
He audibly sighs. Then motions me to sit down at the outside table with him.
As he heads to the table, I look at my watch and the people arriving and heading into the meeting.
I silently sigh. Then head over to the table to sit and listen to his latest dilemma.
He was about to speak when I stopped him.
“Any chance we could get some coffee from inside before we start? I just got off work and could use the jolt.”
I look at him and raise my eyebrows. And wait for a response.
It’s like 2 adolescents having a stare down….
“Ok…ok…I’ll get it. You use cre…cream or s…s…sugar?”
“Nope. Just black. Thanks.”
He gets up to get the AA mud. I take the moment to talk to the God that I have come to understand by looking up and shaking my head back and forth with a smirk and say,
“I already talked to him when I changed out the doorknob. Wasn’t that enough?”
Of course I got no reply. I was about to ask another question but the frantic man returned….spilling the coffee all the way back to the table.
“S….s…..sorry. I get nervous a lot.”
“Really….I hadn’t noticed.” Was my reply.
“Thanks for the java. So…what’s got your peas out of your pod?”
He looked at me kinda strange…I don’t know why…then began.
“I…I…I have been reading up on God. Different as…as…aspects and religions. And…and…picking out what I like and not p…not p….not picking out what I don’t. And that will be M…M…MY God.”
My head kinda twitched with each of his stutters but I kept my composure and answered.
“That. Is. Awesome. I did the exact same thing. It’s a great start. I’m proud of you.” I said then glanced upward with a “ok, ok, I get it” look.
He blushed a bit and started to smile but quickly got frantic…again.
“But wait…..I…I…I don’t know about all of this…..I…I…I…I don’t want to have to go through the ceremony after I believe.”
I look at him with a face that can only be describes as “Huh?”
“Slow down, Knight Rider…..what ceremony?”
“I…I’ve seen it on TV on Sundays. When someone believes they have a ceremony…and…and..pray….and..and..splash holy water on them….and everybody watches…and…”
I cut him off before my twitches turned into convulsions.
“STOP! We don’t have a ceremony. It is a spiritual program….not a religious one….no holy water…no confirmations…nada….”
This time he cut me off.
“Not true…there’s that ceremony this Saturday. Everyone is encouraged to be there…I know wh…wh…what’s gonna happen.”
I started to interject…but reconsidered. He was on a roll.
“There’s gonna be that guy with all those years sober at the front…and…and..he gonna ask if there are any new be…be…believers here. And then I will have to go up there…and..and he is gonna douse me with non alcoholic beer to prove my worthiness…..and…a…and then everyone will cheer and praise…THEIR God….and…and then I will never be the same….”
I waited for him to catch his breath before I replied.
“WOW….that was impressive….but unfortunately, it was crapolla. This is not a cult, Hawkeye…..no one is going to ask you to drink the Kool aid…..Saturday is birthday night…when we “celebrate” annual sobriety dates for the month. We ask everyone to be there so there can hear how the individual accomplished their respective years of sobriety. When they receive their chip, they speak on how they made it another year without drinking.”
I paused to let what I said sink in to his frantic brain. Then added one more statement.
“Doused with non alcoholic beer? This isn’t “Sobers gone Wild” and that stuff still has alcohol in it….why would anyone do that?”
He slumped his shoulders and replied,
“I thought they said ceremony…maybe I should quit worrying about what people think and just listen to what they have to say for a while…..can we go into the meeting?”
“Lead the way my friend.”
As I follow him to the door I glance back upward and think
“I wasn’t this bad when I got here was I?”
This time, I either got an answer or my conscience answered for me,
“That IS you when you got here, Einstein.”