By: Whitney McKendree Moore
Changing My Focus by Listening
Al-Anon has taught me that recovery involves listening. One of our slogans is Listen and Learn. Another is Progress Not Perfection. Another (which I made up) is Recovery is a Verb.
In Al-Anon meetings, sharing after sharing has built my trust that The Higher Power is eager to help us if only we will shut up and listen. I am learning to listen and to pray what I hear.
Before entering Al-Anon, my prayers had generally consisted of requests from me to God.
Indeed, as I have learned, God can speak through a donkey! And sometimes that donkey is me.
Trying and Trying Once Again
One morning, I was folding laundry in the bedroom of my son, who was five years old at the time. It must have been summer or a vacation day because Ned was home that day. I had never watched him do his daily chore of making his bed.
But now I could see the gymnastics that were involved for him to accomplish it. He had all the pillows pushed overboard onto the floor, and he was on top of his mattress, right in the exact middle, on all fours trying to flip the various layers into flatness — smoothing them by elongating his body and moving ever closer to the outer edge trying to smooth out the wrinkles and waves and lumps.
It struck me that he was so sweetly obeying – trying and trying – and without complaining. Every day he had been struggling like this, so faithfully. I was touched to see his efforts before my very own eyes, so moved that I actually started crying, nearly blubbering, but not quite.
Lessons from my Child
“Mommy!” Ned exclaimed. “What’s the matter?” To which I replied, “Nothing, honey -– it just touches my heart to see you making your bed, to see how hard you are trying. I never realized how much trouble you go to just to get it done.”
I had told him before about the times I would come into his room when he was at school – either to put laundry away or to dust or something – and find that he had made his bed (very lumpy indeed but nevertheless entirely made) as I had asked.
It was not until this particular morning, however, that I had ever actually observed him making his bed. And when I did, it touched my heart. And then, I believe, I heard God say:
“I love the lumps.”
My little boy had shown me that God sees my effort and looks at my heart. It’s not about how well I understand things or how well I parent or even how well I do. It only matters that I am open and teachable, willing to Listen and Learn.
More posts from and about Whitney McKendree Moore on From Addict 2 advocate
Bio: Whitney McKendree Moore
Whitney was born in New York City to medical parents — her mother an R.N, her father a neurologist following the footsteps of his father. Back in those days, physicians lived under an awning of prominence.
Both her father and her grandfather were treated like demi-gods at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital, where the phrases “wonderful bedside manner” and “dear and glorious physician” were said aloud and a lot by her mother, who was also highly regarded as “possibly the world’s best Head Nurse.”
The young family lived directly across the street from the Hospital’s main entrance. Whitney remembers sitting in front of a big picture window on the lap of her nanny “Mrs. Marmalade,” eyes riveted on the Hospital’s grand doors. Her debonaire parents would emerge together each night, hands joined and arms swinging as if they were dancing across the street. Occasionally, when her father was detained, Whitney knew to watch a different set of doors — the doors of The Psychiatric Institute, which she called “The So-Quacky -Quacky.” This malapropism greatly amused her parents.
Voice and pen became Whitney’s personal ways to be heard. After she married in 1971, she published an article every year as she pursued her professional career and she continued to “sing constantly.”
Whitney Starts Her Recovery
A turning point for Whitney came in 1989, when she found her way into Twelve-Step recovery. There, people were sharing “dirty laundry” and seeking God’s guidance to overcome. Now her writing is focused on encouraging others that God is still in the miracle-making business. Her books are categorized as “inspirational” and her style has been described as “a rather rollicking read.”
Whether singing or writing, Whitney’s niche audience is Christian women in Twelve-Step recovery. She says, “People in recovery are used to rigorous honesty like those who faced the truth when the Emperor did not. They are my Tribe.”
Connect with Whitney
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