Celebrate Recovery?

The other day, I started working (again) on a chapbook. Below you will find the title poem and tentative cover art.

A few blocks from me, there is a church. They do meetings for people in all kinds of recovery. The name of the group is “Celebrate Recovery.”

I don’t talk much publicly about my personal life. However, I do know of people who have hit rock bottom. I have, in fact, been one, with schizophrenia.

For me and the people I’ve come to help recover, the darkness and desolation has been overwhelming. Often, too, one has lost all friendships, and perhaps even family. More often, reputation. One is socially isolated, often broke, and trying to figure out the next meal.

Down the street from the church is a gas station with a cluster of woods behind it. There lives a community of homeless people. Sometimes, I give them money. But when I don’t have a dollar to spare, I always make sure to acknowledge them, to speak to them as equals, to reassure them, and look them in the eye, if it’s not too invasive.

My chapbook is about all of this. It’s also about how the people we often see, externally, as weak, frequently turn out to be the strongest, and how people with bravado and machismo turn out to be, in reality, pitifully weak. I am calling it “A Sound Mind” because, a few years ago, when I started meditating, I chose 2 Timothy 1:7 as the idea I focused my mind on.

We never know where life may lead. I feel mostly recovered, with some limitations. But that may not always be the case.

I do not celebrate my recovery the way the church down the street seems to. It’s not a joyous song and dance. When everything–your mind, possessions, social connections–have been taken away from you, getting them back, perhaps in a different way, makes one cry and then, hopefully, help others who have lost it all.

A Sound Mind

One would think

That because they are snowflakes

That they are weak.

But they are the strongest.

Each one providing unique insight

And fighting battles the vicious know nothing about.

While they may seem to lack all virtue

On the surface

Deep down

They rally for the cause.

May we hope for some to rise up

To save themselves, at first

So they may rescue others.

An army of previous snowflakes

Will become self-guided ubermenches,

Ready to help another to their feet.

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