Rob Robinson

Shades of Gray

     This morning as I raised the blinds to take in the ominous activity occurring out over the bay, my thoughts and feelings began to signify the shades of gray that were evident from my perched view. It’s easy to love this scene as a clear majestic sunrise when the beautiful reflections of the new day enter the realm of your spirit like the God of your understanding. It tells you, without a doubt, that life is good and that somehow you have a chance to make this day the best one of your life. But when your humanism gives way to the uncertainties of fear and the element of surprise finds you engaged in its imagery, the result is a simultaneous effect equivalent to that of surrealism. 

     Today has been a day of thought for me. It is Sunday and for many people in the world it's a day of reflection and a chance to celebrate or connect in some way with their creator. I did not attend church today and I haven't done so since I started my new job which runs through the overnight-weekend hours. I work at a facility with a beautiful chapel right on the grounds but for some reason when I get off work at 8:30am on Sunday morning I just want to go home and get some rest. The service at the chapel begins at 9:00 and I really should make a more concerted effort to go as the result is always favorable for my general outlook on things. It’s only an hour of my time and just a short distance across the campus to get there. But once again this morning I had my mind set on sleep and before I knew it I was driving away. After finally waking from a broken sleep at around 3pm I found myself reflecting on the same things that were concerning me earlier and that can often spell trouble for me as the mess accumulates in my head. For that I have another blog called “my journal”. (No public access allowed) That's where I try to get the congestion of thoughts from my mind into words right in front of me so I can make some sense of it all. If nothing else it gives me a chance to pause before I get to the "insert foot in mouth" stage. J

      I am finding out that along with progress comes hard decisions about things that are not always comfortable to deal with. I try to live in the day as best I can. This is something that has been emphasized to me by my good friends in the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. It's been one of the real gifts to me in sobriety and I’m finally starting to get the hang of it. I spent way too many years projecting my life into the future rather than taking my ambitions a day at a time and seeking steady progress. I’ve had to completely shift my way of thinking and it requires a lot of practice and most of all patience and tolerance. I can get very frustrated about my lack of progress in something or scow at the inability of someone to understand me. If I’m not careful I can fall back into those old ways of thinking and the next thing I know I’m making impulsive decisions because I don't like the feeling. I need to realize that sometimes the elements just don’t allow me to see results in my estimated time frame. More often than not I need to accept the people in my life for who they are and realize that the world doesn’t revolve around me. I really used to think it did…

      My old ways of thinking had to be smashed to make way for newer and healthier thoughts that allow me to look at my part in everything. Often that requires an awareness of my delicate ego that still gets challenged by the most trivial bullshit. There is a process in the 12 steps by which we identify our shortcomings and character defects. These are nasty liabilities that kept me running from the truth time after time. I have identified some of the more glaring of these liabilities and ultimately they fall under a broader sense of fear. By asking God to take these fears from me and by turning my will over to His care I can live reasonably happy and accomplish most anything I set out to do. But life still has a way of unleashing the element of surprise on us when we least expect it. A stormy Sunday can really take you hostage until you recognize your captivity and surrender once again.

     These days, for the most part, I’ve been able to surrender those daily thoughts that can wreak havoc in my mind. But every now and then they come dancing in like storm clouds disguised as the affirmation of progress and kick my ass right to my knees for a humbling reality check. As time goes on and I strive for a better way of thinking and living, those nasty little defects seem to lurk about like the shades of a gray morning. Like distant moving clouds intermixed with swirling rippled waters, the line of definition comes and goes with the wind. My thoughts are challenged like the flocks of wind blown birds desperately seeking their destination; diving and moving to protect their flight to resolution. In a moment only captured through an absolute state of awareness, my view becomes black and white with only a slight tinge of green to remind me of my newness and vulnerability. As I have come to seek and accept healing in my life these moments are few and far between. But just as the powerful surge of a storm can disrupt the beauty of a calming scene, so can the self-centered illness of an alcoholic disrupt the serenity of his own healing and calming state of mind.