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Safe Harbors: A Moment With Bill Reflection
THE WORLD I KNOW SO WELL
a place of security and comfort : refuge
Thank you to Webster for that definition.
Ralph evidently had me in mind when he wrote that sentence. I have spent my life crossing thin ice. It never occurs to me to turn around and find a safer passage. Instead I rev the internal engines, stomp that foot to the pedal and see if I can’t outrun the laws of physics and nature. I know many who will take the detour, often times traveling far from their destination, in order to avoid possible problems. They are good people and I respect them greatly, but….where the hell is the fun in that? LOL
TRAVELING THE SEAS OF LIFE
Ship captains, while steering their ships across an open ocean, are always aware of the nearest safe harbor, that isolated place where they will head for in case of emergency. As the thunderheads build in the distance, lightning splits the sky and walls of water blot out the horizon, the course is plotted and the ship turns towards the distant harbor where the storm can be ridden out and they can survive to sail another day.
This morning I reflected on the sea of life. Will you join me?
Forty-four years ago I lost the only safe harbor I knew at the time, and I began decades of being tossed about by life, seemingly as insignificant as a leaf in a thirty-foot swell. Place a dry leaf on a calm body of water and it will float as surely as any of the world’s great ocean liners. Soak it with water, however, and it gently drifts to the bottom of that body of water, eternally damned to a wet and hopeless grave.
So it was for me.
When my father died my anchor was cut and I began to drift. I had no spare anchor and I was miles from dry land. With each problem that arose more of my self was soaked until the day came, a little over six years ago, when I could no longer stay afloat. I needed a flotation device but there was none to be found.
Or so I thought.
WHY NOT FIND SOMEONE ELSE TO ANCHOR TO?
That is the logical question now isn’t it, and it was certainly one I thought about often, but you see, death had robbed me of my anchor, and who was to say that if I chose another human the same thing would not happen again? And if that were to happen how would I ever survive?
I tried relationships and failed miserably.
I tried friendships with all the wrong people and again, cut loose and drifting.
Finally I found a friend who would not desert me. I found alcohol, that blessed oblivion that allowed me to turn off the thoughts in my brain and mask the pain in my heart. Alcohol gave me courage. Alcohol gave me the ability to function in a world that was foreign to me, and alcohol dulled the pain and allowed me to find false bravery while the seas rose and the wind howled.
I could not trust humans but I could always trust booze. Drink just enough to blot out the pain but still perform my daily duties. A fine balancing act for sure, but one I managed for twenty years with few repercussions.
Ah, but reality finds a way, often, to shatter our illusions. I finally arrived at the day when 100 drinks were not enough and one was too many. My safe harbor had hidden reefs, and as my personal vessel scraped bottom a huge hole formed in my hull, and the result was inevitable.
What does one do when one’s safe harbor is no longer safe.
The options are limited. You can sink with the ship or you can jump overboard and swim like crazy.
I chose to abandon ship and swim.
A moment with Bill
THE ONLY TRUE SAFE HARBOR
“I think the most important thing in life is self-love, because if you don't have self-love, and respect for everything about your own body, your own soul, your own capsule, then how can you have an authentic relationship with anyone else?”
I have shared before a quote by Dr. Bob, one of the original founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, but I think for this article it is worth sharing again. It goes something like this:
“Humility is …
‘Perpetual quietness of heart.
It is to have no trouble.
It is never to be fretted or vexed, irritable or sore; to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me.
It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised, it is to have a blessed home in myself where I can go in and shut the door and kneel to my Higher Power in secret and be at peace, as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and about is seeming trouble.’”
A blessed home inside myself…..
Decades were spent searching for something that was always inside of me.
The safe harbor I always looked for could be found by setting my compass to the coordinates of my heart.
What I have found, and I think this is vital for all human beings, is that any security based on people, places or things, is transitory at best. Changes happen. People die….possessions are lost…..places come and go….and just as it is never a good idea to build a structure on quicksand, so too is it unwise to seek security in something or someone.
We need to begin our structure on solid bedrock. From that bedrock we can then build tall and wide, and with that bedrock as our foundation we can withstand anything that life throws at us.
A blessed home inside myself.
Have you found your safe harbor?
TODAY I AM TRULY SAFE
Bring on the storms. I do not welcome them but I do not fear them either, and each new storm serves as a reminder that I always need to check on my foundation to make sure it is secure and able to withstand the next storm, and the next, and the next, for there will always be storms.
Today I am in a loving relationship. Today I not only function in life but thrive. Today I have hopes and dreams rather than a living hell of wasted possibilities.
Today I choose to swim.
2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”