Little Church in the Hood.


     I’m sick of worrying about myself.  I’m sick of worrying about money and success and whether the sober decisions I am making about my future (way too open ended at this stage of my life) are the RIGHT decisions.  I’m sick of the self-absorbed, self-analytical, self-satisfaction of being an alcoholic or a recovering alcoholic.

    I’d like to crawl out of my own skin like some weary snake, leaving my discarded regret behind.

    I’d like to talk about a little, hundred year old Episcopal church in Springfield, called St. Mary’s.  Kim has been trying (in her own quiet way) to get me there for many years.  St. Mary’s is an outreach mission – they particularly serve the mentally ill, the struggling addict, high-risk youth and the urban poor on a quiet street in downtown Jacksonville. 

     I found myself (notice I didn’t say ended up)  at St. Mary’s yesterday, serving tacos and participating in the Wednesday, neighborhood bible study.  Kim was worried (perpetually) she hadn’t brought enough food (there were jokes about –  forget the manna we need taco shells from heaven; and asking Jesus to please increase the hamburger stash) because it was SRO and everyone who attends gets lunch. 

     There was a circle of chairs.  I didn’t expect music.  Really good music with guitars, and a flute and  a violin and the freaking ex-front man for a famous Jamaican band belting riffs when the spirit moved him.  People danced.  The Pastor* played guitar and talked a bit of “jive”.  Every once in a while an attendee would stand with their hands uplifted or sing a chorus with a voice meant for a  big-church gospel choir.

     I didn’t expect to be so moved.  Or to fight back tears of surrender.  Or to feel so in touch with St. Mary’s at-risk congregation.

     And I didn’t think, “There but for the grace of God go I.” 

     What I thought was, “I FEEL you.  I am one with you.  I am right where I belong…”

*A woman so selfless and dedicated to the CA– USE, you cannot find her name listed in any of St Mary’s published materials…

Today I’m not drinking because: Aw hell, I don’t know – I’m just NOT.

How come you’re not drinking?