Changing Someone’s Life

This is an old old draft post but I liked it so am finally posting it. It’s a bit outdated but whatevs.

It’s been a strange week. I’m going through Step 4 in my al-anon recovery process. I’m on the topic of love. It asks, “How have you expressed your love toward others?”

I could barely think of anything. I searched my mind and my heart. I still could not list more than a few things. I told myself, “You are not a loving person. You don’t love anyone.” Sounds crazy, but sounded partly right at the time. I doubted if I could really love someone else… you know, the kind of sacrificial, self-less, unconditional, all-giving love. I also wondered if I am having any real positive impact on those around me.

So today, someone that I don’t know came up to me and told me that they went to a meeting. They said that I talked about unconditional love at that meeting, and that that meeting changed their life.

So yeah, that happened.

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We have to help him.

I had a conversation about my dad’s current situation with my 4 year old yesterday.

I don’t remember how my dad came up… something about going to see him in the future or going to Legoland or Disneyland or something??

Anyway, it went something like this:

Me: Well… we can’t go see him because grandpa is in jail.

AJ: Why is he in jail?

Me: Because he had a fight and he bit someone.

AJ: Who put him in jail?

Me. The policeman.

AJ: And we have to tell the policeman to take him out?

Me: No, grandpa has to stay in jail because he did something bad.

AJ: So we can’t see him because he’s in jail?

Me: Yeah.

AJ: But why did the policeman put him in jail?

Me: Well, when you have an argument with someone, are you supposed to bite them?

AJ: No…

Me: That’s right! We talk it out. Well, grandpa got very angry and instead of talking, he bit someone.

AJ: And he was bleeding?

Me: Yes.

AJ: A lot a lot a lot?

Me: Probably.

AJ: And biting is bad?

Me: Yes.

AJ: So that’s why he’s in jail for a long long long time?

Me: Yes.

AJ (Getting teary eyed): ….  We have to help him!

I was surprised that AJ wanted to “help” his grandpa get out of jail. I guess family is family?

In all seriousness, I don’t think he quite gets the concept of criminal activities and jail and lawyers, etc… but wow.. that little kid. The hubby and I always joke that he’s going to bring us a lot of heartache but there’s this compassionate side of him that amazes me. I made a voice recording of the end of the convo so I could remember the moment in the future. And I guess blogging about it helps too?

In my recovery group, we talk about helping others as if it was a bad thing. It’s linked to co-dependency and we talk a lot about boundaries and self care and detachment… and a lot of people attribute it to having grown up with alcoholic parents. But I think that’s not the entire truth. What’s wrong with wanting to help others? Service gets such a bad wrap. All the messages in the world says looks out for number one. But Jesus said to lose your life to gain it, right? I mean, I get it. I can’t give to the point of resentment. But the desire to help someone, to rescue them, the desire itself is not wrong. It’s only wrong if you are doing it to serve yourself. To get something in return. Or to manipulate them afterwards. Even a four year old gets that…. I think.