Maybe it's the moon. Or the tides. Or the time of the year. Or, maybe, it's just because God wants it this way. No matter what the reason is, people from the past seem to be cropping up left and right in my life lately.
I have this friend Tom who lives in England. Tom is a dear old friend "of a certain age."
Okay, me back up a little. Towards the end of my drinking I behaved very, very badly towards a lot of friends, here and in Europe. I thought I'd lost these relationships permanently because, due to my circumstances, I'd moved out of New York and, basically, left no forwarding information. Then, as these things do in time, I started reconnecting with people from my past. Slowly, at first. But Tom was one of those early people. He had hosted me in London umpteen times in the 80's and early 90's. We had a lot of fun together over the years. Anyway, as my recovery progressed we'd write back and forth to each other a few times a year. Or there'd be the odd "Christmas morning phone call." But communications between us really perked up recently when Tom FINALLY joined the rest of the human race and got a computer, internet access and an e-mail address.
In a previous post I mentioned being in Delaware last Saturday for my sister and brother-in-law's anniversary. Several digital photos were taken, including a particularly nice one of me with my eldest niece. So I decided to send it to Tom as an e-mail attachment, just so he could see how much I've aged since 1993 (the last time we saw each other).
WELL. That certainly opened the floodgates. Apparently Tom forwarded the photo, along with my e-mail address to a whole SLEW of friends in the UK and Spain and, out of the blue, every time I log in to my e-mail account these days I find yet another "HALLOOO RONNIE" e-mail from long, lost friends.
As I read every line of those e-mails, I've realized just how much I'd missed these people over the last 10-15 years. They had always been kind and gracious and funny and witty and loving towards me. And I had treated those relationships like they hadn't even existed. I've missed so much of my life because of shame and indifference.
And with that realization came the opening of the other floodgates and the tears flowed, as I saw that these people had just been waiting for some sign, any sign, from me that I was willing to pick up where we had left off.
In the past I was always quick to discard the most precious possessions I had. Friends are not garbage, and when I treat friends like garbage, I'm treating me like garbage.
I'm through treating people like garbage. I'm through treating me like garbage.
I'm so glad that God is doing for me what I cannot do for myself.