22 Nov 2020
Happy pre-Thanksgiving Rod. Thanksgiving is an American holiday and I think the first in the world to be proclaimed with a purpose of giving thanks to God. Here in France, its another work day. I am grateful today Rodney for so many things…I’ll name a few but certainly this is not an exhaustive list…these just come to mind right now:
I’m grateful for…in no particular order
- Time on this earth with my Rodney
- The lessons God taught me through Rodney and my dear sister Patricia
- Family and friends who continue to accompany me in spirit and in deed
- The many provisions in my life, a good job in a good company
- Living a simple life in France
- Health, curiosity, logic, creativity, feeling at ease in my own skin
- Memories, oh the precious memories
- Spiritual awakenings
- My faith
- Parents who instilled values, set examples and a love and knowledge of God
- Jesus Christ, Immanuel, God with us
- Intuitive thought
- Connection to God the father, creator of the universe
- The Comfort and accompaniment of the Holy Spirit
- Clarity of mission
- Beauty of the earth and the amazing design of all things hereon
- Sobriety for the Alcoholics and drug addicts that Rodney influenced
- To have have known and experienced true love
- The gift of music
- The authors of the books of the Bible, they wrote it down so that I can learn and be inspired!
- The habit of daily meditation formed long ago with Rodney physically beside me, continued with him spiritually beside me
- Finding breadcrumbs Rodney left me
Yesterday I was doing my normal morning meditation and one of the references was to Hebrews 13:15 : “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name. “ Sometimes a passage calls my name and encourages me to look it up, read the chapter and get the context…sometimes I just read it and go about my day. I can’t explain it, but I am learning more and more to listen to that still small voice. Today, this one called my name so I looked it up in the Bible you used most Rodney. When I turned to the page in the Bible, just above this verse I found your writing again in reference to Hebrews 13:12. “Therefore Jesus also that He might sanity the people with His own blood suffered outside the gate.” Just after these words you wrote “Blood”. Of course I wondered what were your thoughts when you wrote this. I continued to think about this word Blood and many different meanings, but didn’t specifically search further.
Today, when I awoke the song that I used to sing in Church. It is the words of the Psalmist David put to music using Psalms 51:10-12 “Create in me a clean heart oh God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me> Restore unto me to the joy of thy Salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.” I sang it aloud as part of my prayers and experienced peace. I was not in turmoil before this Rod, just experienced a peace about my soul. Funny the things that we remember. My mom and dad went to 2 different churches and we children rotated every other Sunday between them. There was no pressure to join either one but there was an expectation that we actively participate in both. So we were all typically part of 2 Christmas plays, two choirs, two youth groups etc. Mom took us to a nondenominational Christian Church in Germantown, KY and Dad took us to a Lutheran Church in Chatham, KY. Both of these congregations are small country churches that continue to stand the test of the times. I’m sure they talked about the decision about which religion they would follow when raising us children. Growing up, I never heard an ill word spoken about either church and in the end, I’m grateful to have been raised Christian and having been exposed to both beliefs and many others along this journey in life.
I have such fond memories of Thanksgiving growing up and with you Rod. One of my favorite memories was family gatherings in KY at my grandparents, parents or at Aunts and uncles. No matter the place, we ate family specialities, sang songs nice harmony with someone playing piano. Precious memories Rod.
Our last Thanksgiving together, November, 2017, spent making a lonely walk to the radiation Therapy session in Shenyang China. Loving you Rodney. Even then, I think you knew that you would were not long for this world.
After the meditation today, I continued to have the word “blood” on my mind from yesterday. So, I did a search in my Bible App for “Blood” to see all of the references. Ha, hundreds of them! One that I was drawn to was Genesis 9:6 “Whoever sheds man’s blood by man shall his blood by shed: For in the image of God He made man” . God was speaking to Noah and his sons just after the great flood and the story goes to tell the meaning of the rainbow. Genesis is a fascinating book and each time I take the time to read in it, I find more and more meanings. As you used to say Rod, “When the student is ready the teacher will appear”. So true Rod, so true.
Thank you for the breadcrumbs you left me Rodney. God continues to teach me lessons through you whether in the Bible or many other places. Its been a little over 2 years since you drew your last breath here on this earth and I’m still finding messages you left to me through these breadcrumbs. I’s so grateful for our time together Rodney. You will always be the love of my life always be with me just behind my eyes. You will always be my Prince and I will always be your Princess. I ask God to bless you in your mission Rodney, however all of that works…I don’t understand it yet, and that’s OK.
I remember every year you sent a very poignant letter on Thanksgiving to hundreds on your distribution list all over the world. You recounted your memories of the loneliest day of your life. You sent this not as a cry for pity, you sent it as you used to say ‘to keep your memory green’ and as a way to send a message of hope for the suffering alcoholics who were lonely on Thanksgiving. I copy it here in honor and memory of your Thanksgiving spirit Rodney.
Nov 22, 2017
Thanks Giving 1981; The Loneliest Day Of My Life
Happy Sober Thanksgiving from Shenyang; China everyone.
37 years ago today; it had snowed 7 inches in Western Kentucky, USA, the cold wind blew across and off the Ohio River from the Southern Illinois plains.
This Alkie was one “sick puppy”.
I was less than 30 days Sober for the second time in AA; alone; scared; defeated; broke; wet; cold and hopeless.
Sitting in the Farmer’s Market Cafeteria in Paducah, Kentucky USA eating a $3.50 Thanksgiving tray lunch; I felt so lucky to have enough money to pay for the lunch.
I was 34 years old. My life was over.
I was a full-blown Alkie; washed up professional; derelict husband; run-away father of two boys; hiding out from creditors all alone in strange city; trying to stay off “the juice” one minute at a time and “shake it out” another 24 hours…. until 7 PM when the AA hall opened up with free hot coffee; stale donuts and a bummed cigarettes.
That was Thanksgiving Day 1981; the loneliest day of my life.
I hope I never forget the way I felt on that Thanksgiving Day. I couldn’t get drunk and I couldn’t get Sober…… I was at the “jumping off place”.
I didn’t drink that day..I didn’t jump off the bridge into the cold; black Ohio River….instead I walked in the wet; snowy slush and prayed for God’s help and forgiveness.
Somehow; I made it to 4th and Elizabeth Street in Paducah that Thanksgiving night around 6:30 PM and got those bummed cigarettes; coffee and stale donuts…..but I also was given HOPE by Guys and Gals like you…..who came out on Thanksgiving night to help a lost man; 34 years old whose life had been destroyed by “booze”.
Most holidays I spend with old drunks like me. We talk about AA and the miracle that God performed on people like me; through drunks like you.
We talk about God’s love and providence…… God supplies all our needs today.
My Thanksgiving prayer goes something like today:
Thank You God for AA. Thank You God for that first Sober $3.50 Thanksgiving Dinner at the Farmer’s Market so many years ago.
Thank You God for who ever it was that night at the AA Hall; in Paducah, Kentucky, USA who opened up; made coffee; put out the donuts and shared a cigarette with this down-trodden; lonely drunk.
Thank You God for AA’s around the world who care and have cared so much for me and other AA Loners over the years.
Thank You God for the AA 12 Steps and the “Gift of Sobriety”.
Thank you God for the “Forgiveness of my sins and my continued shortcomings”.
Thank You God for Step 9 and the gift of restitution.
Thank You God that others have forgiven me because I have stayed Sober and lived the 12 Steps as best I can.
Thank You God that I have been forgiven of my past by most people I harmed.
God for those who could not forgive me… I ask You to bless them today.
I am not perfect Lord… But I do love You God and I love Alcoholics Anonymous.
Bless AA. Bless all those who are lonely today….. Keep them from suicide like you kept me so many years ago….on that lonely Thanksgiving Day so long ago.
Thank You God for my Sobriety.
Rod M. AA Loner Sponsor in Shenyang; Liaoning, P.R. Of China
Thank you for the breadcrumbs you left me Rodney. God continues to teach me lessons through you whether in the Bible or in emails, your writings and many other places. Its been a little over 2 years since you drew your last breath here on this earth and I’m still finding messages you left to me through these breadcrumbs. I’s so grateful for our time together Rodney. You will always be the love of my life always be with me just behind my eyes. You will always be my Prince and I will always be your Princess. You will always be my alcoholic and I am still your Alanon. I ask God to bless you in your mission Rodney, however all of that works…I don’t understand it yet, and that’s OK. Happy Heavenly Thanksgiving Rodney, I’m still trying to carry your message.
Loving you eternally,