Monday, April 06, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mary!

One of my best friends (I was going to say "oldest," but that would probably be Elaine) celebrates her 28th sober birthday today. She doesn't look a day over 27!

She and I go way back to the early '90s, when we met through our mutual friend Brian. Brian and Mary met at one particular meeting (of the Al-Anon persuasion), and somehow I got to know her, too.

Since then, with her AA sponsee Elizabeth, Mary and Brian and I have wound up together in places as disparate (and fun!) as Disneyland and Toberua, Fiji.

Brian, Mary, Elizabeth, and a few other friends dragged me kicking and screaming to Disneyland for my 40th birthday. I'd never been before.

I obviously had a deprived childhood.

Or, just never wanted to go, seeing as I don't like crowds.

(Or is it that I just don't like *people*?)

Anyway, I was NOT interested in going to Disneyland, but got taken there against my better judgment, and certainly against my will.

(One learns very quickly that Mary is the "SHE WHO MUST BE OBEYED" of t-shirt fame.)

So I went to Disneyland to 'celebrate' my 40th birthday.

And I loved it.

I went back five times over the next two years. (Do you think I might possibly maybe perchance be an addict? Anything worth doing always seems worth overdoing....)

Years later, Brian and I roped Elizabeth into accompanying us on a dive trip to Fiji -- and Elizabeth shamed Mary into coming along with. Had Mary known there were sea serpents that came up out of the water at night to digest the prey they'd caught during the day -- critters that produce one of the most potent toxins known to biomedical science (and to medical examiners), I'm pretty certain she'd not have come.

Heck, *I'd* not have come -- but don't tell Mary that!

(There was also the small matter of the Fijian Parliament having been taken over by terrorists at the time, so that by the time we arrived, almost all the other foreign tourist-types had already left the islands....)

We've been through a lot of laughter and a lot of loss together. Which is the way laughter and loss ought to be lived.

Through it all, she's stayed sober, and a power of example to all who know and love her.

Happy Birthday, Mary. Thanks for sharing your sobriety with us. Hooray for the Higher Power!

(Thanks, mostly though, for no longer drinking and driving.)

Blessings and peace to one and all,

Fr. Tim, SJ
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