What an interesting idea to think about… triggered a number of thoughts for me.
The topic, be careful what you wish for, resonates because as I look back over my life a lot of things I would NOT have wished for have turned out to make me who I am and I am grateful for them. It may sound horrible but the death of my mother when I was 15 is one of these. At the time, my world ended – I attempted suicide several times – everything I cared for was gone. I shut off emotionally. From then on I never cared about anyone, and only when I became a Christian did I begin to tentatively allow God to bring this part of me back to life. S-l-o-w-l-y. I’m still working on this… I think I’m at a stage where I do care about friends, I miss them when they’re gone and people are not simply replaceable, as they used to be. At this stage I don’t think I’m capable of love, not yet, but I know that is where this path leads and one day I may love somebody.
The point I’m making is this: if my mother hadn’t died, I would have grown up with her, with all her dysfunctions, and I don’t believe I would have known the first thing about life. She certainly didn’t. I loved her to bits but she was absolutely helpless and clueless. It was only through her death and the resulting pain, as well as being taught basic life skills by my aunt who took us in, that I am now who I am. Looking back at the 15-year-old, I would not want to be further along the path I was on then (absolute self-centredness, meddling in drugs, etc.). So, I am grateful for everything that happened but I certainly didn’t wish for it. I’m careful these days, wishing for things. I very rarely do, mostly I accept what comes and react accordingly (having my reactions “profoundly changed”, as the AA BB says).
I also liked the quote, “Our destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things.” Whoever shared the quote that abstinence/spirituality is a “profound alteration in one’s reaction to life.” – thank you! I had never really read this, I don’t think. What a truth. My reactions to life have changed radically through abstinence, and certainly through working the steps, and that has happened as a sideshow really: I wasn’t working on changing my reactions to life, they changed as my perspective (“way of looking at things”) did. I can identify this in hindsight, but it’s a little like hair growing: you don’t see it happen while it happens but it definitely does, and looking back over time, it’s obvious.
I loved what one person said in her e-mail, “I think I might already be who I want to become.” – in a way, that is where I’m at, too. Not to say I’m at the destination, but I am who I want to be in that I seek after it. In that I am actively engaged in growing, becoming more and more like the one I follow. Willing to be molded and shaped. I fall short of this, of course, and God will shape and mold me even as I kick and scream about it – but the baseline is, I want him to do this.