I am back from a trip to New York to continue research on Bill and Lois Wilson. My friend and colleague Joy Jones and I are writing a book about Bill and Lois Wilson and how their marriage changed the world. We have a working draft of the book. We are now in the tedious part of making sure the story makes sense, is accurate and advances our hopes in writing the book.
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September is National Recovery Month. Granted, Recovery Month is less well-known than Black History Month or Gay Pride Month. I almost missed it again this year, but for a friend who mentioned it. Last week in reflecting on the Celebration of Life for my brother John, I commented on the sense of community at the gathering of his friends and our family. More specifically I commented on the love in the room and how my ability to see, feel and give love continues to grow as I age.
Two recent experiences reminded me of the commonly cited Twelve Step saying: “Resentments kill.” This post will explore those two experiences and connect them to Twelve Step wisdom about resentments.
For most of the over forty years I was working, I had no plan to retire. I was “mission-driven.” I worked for nonprofits that were committed to changing something; I embraced and lived for that mission. First, was a community organization in Baltimore working to stabilize the northeast part of the city where there was racial blockbusting and instability due to the racist practices of realtors and investors. Next, I worked in neighborhoods revitalizing aging and deteriorated housing. That led to working on neighborhood development nationally which required travel. And then, I assisted non-profit executives with their career transitions.
No one can read the horrific stories of sexual abuse of children by priests, ministers and others in authority and not be appalled. The betrayal of a sacred trust is unfathomable and repulsive. The Sun, my hometown of Baltimore’s newspaper, and the Washington Post have both provided extensive coverage of the April 2023 Attorney General’s Report on Child Sexual Abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore. carried. The Sunday, May 7, 2023 headline story in The Sun – “Church leaders identified in cover-ups” broadened the focus from the clergy abusers to those in power in the Archdiocese of Baltimore who minimized or covered up the abuse, allowing more children to be abused. I’d like to reflect on two missing pieces of this coverage and discussion –an acknowledgment that sexual addictions exist and do influence behavior and the need for compassion for all involved.
During women’s history month, we celebrate women who achieved despite men who may have stood in their way. Lois Wilson was a different type of shero. She felt called to stand by her man and in so doing saved the lives of millions.
Death is inevitable. Some deaths are sudden; some expected. Some can be prevented or slowed. Addictions kill and maim hundreds of thousands each year that we know of, and many more we don’t. Addictions destroy relationships and can lead to death and/or emotional trauma for those close to the addict.
As 2022 comes to an end, I reflect with a grateful heart on this opportunity to connect with you and others through Critical Conversations. In this post, I’d like to share a little about how Critical Conversations came to be what it is, and to thank you – the readers, and the team of guest contributors, editors and technical supporters – who make this post possible. My life is enriched with love and joy by notes and comments from readers, from the courage and insights of guest contributors, and the generosity and talent of my friends who edit and assist in the weekly writing of Critical Conversations. Many blessings in 2023 to each of you!
For me, gratitude is an acquired taste. For many years, my negative thinking blocked my feelings of gratitude; it actually took me years to pay attention to gratitude and its benefits. Thanksgiving is a good time to reflect on the journey to the benefits that can result from greater gratitude.
A mutual friend, Shelley, frequently refers to Doris as the “sage of Cumberland.” She holds Doris in the highest esteem for the same reason I do. We both met Doris in a Twelve Step meeting and she became a sponsor or guide for each of us in working the Twelve Steps. With Doris, we both felt like we had won the lottery. We couldn’t imagine someone more kind, loving and wise.