One morning I received an email from my middle sister, and having read it, wanted to reply with annoyance, "Doesn't anything positive ever happen in your life, that you could tell me about?" I closed out my email program, and went out to my rooftop patio garden to do my first daily wander about, and found one of my daylilies had put up a scape. Looking at the tag for the name, I read - "Faithful & True." Sigh.
I was feeling unfaithful in my love for my sister at that moment, unfaithful in the respect that I didn't want to have to deal with her negative attitude, and I wanted to get an email from her that I could enjoy, instead of one which would require me to sit and think about how best to reply, so as not to cause her any further unhappiness.
I'm reminded of the phrase commonly attributed to a doctor's Hippocratic Oath: "First, do no harm."
Isn't that an excellent slogan for all of us in Al-Anon? I wonder, how much harm have I been responsible for in my life, just through impatience? I have worked with sponsees who were determined to convince me that courtesy simply required too much time - time they didn't have in their busy lives. I've been guilty of that same attitude for many years when new to program - others should adjust to me.
What has become truth for me now, is that I need to be able to feel comfort in the way I respond to the world around me, whether to those close to me, or to strangers. My serenity requires that I'm able to believe that I've done my best, in the daily round of encounters. This means that if I get an irritation rising in my chest, from someone else's words or actions, I take a step back and detach. I give myself enough time to stop and think, to question how well this almost-response of mine will sit with me a few hours from now?
I want to be what I've heard described as "a soft place to fall" for those who depend upon me for comfort and support, and I enjoy being a positive force for good feelings, in my movements in this world. I do it for myself, other people happen to benefit as a side effect.