This morning I walked down to the lake to look at the ice.
It was breaking into large sheets and floating past when I noticed a small group of hungry wild ducks hoping that I had brought them some bread.
I trudged back through the snow, grabbed a bag of bread from the kitchen, and went back down to feed them.
By the time I returned... they had swam away.
Just then a little five-year-old girl, all dressed in pink, came walking up to me shyly across the snowy bank.
"Would you like to feed the ducks with me?" I asked.
"Yes," she said.
Her smile was radiant.
We both stood on the shore, calling out to the ducks, until first the seagulls arrived, and then a few of the brave mallards and finally, the whole motley crew of birds swam over and surrounded us... little soft birds up close to my new friend's feet as she reached down and gently gave them bits of bread.
Her father was taking photos, so proud of his little girl when he suddenly stopped... embarrassed... and said, "I'm so sorry. We should have brought our own bread."
"Don't be silly," I told him. "There's more than enough bread for all of us."
He smiled and laughed as we emptied the bag of bread, talked about life, children, the beautiful day and the ducks, before I finally waved goodbye and headed back to write for the day.
Today, I am reminded of the chain reaction of kindness... how one small thoughtful act can create a ripple that reaches out to touch the far shore.
"Dear God, thank you for bringing me moments of happiness and joy. Help me to always hold kindness in my heart and to share my goodwill with all around me."
LOOK What I Found
I’ll never forget how shocked I was at my first meeting. Al-Anon people did not try to shove some specific creed or slant-on-life at me. No one told me what I “must believe.”
I lived in a terrible situation with physical and emotional abuse. When members greeted me with dignity and maturity, it was the greatest “carrot” they could have offered to encourage me to keep coming back. I was shown respect instead of humiliation. I was thrilled to be treated as an equal and a worthwhile human being. Before entering the meeting, I could not have felt more unloved—yet these people genuinely seemed to like me and to show concern for me.
I heard the message that if I was willing to listen and keep an open mind, maybe my life would get better. I wasn’t alone anymore. It was as if I’d gone from black midnight to a sunny day in the blink of an eye. What a difference a seed of hope can make.
Eventually I made some very difficult decisions. My choices brought painful changes to my life and the lives of my children, but we made progress in every area. Each One Day at a Time did not seem very significant, but when we added them together they became the building blocks to recovery. As I no longer lived with abuse, I gained a sense of self-respect that led to a sense of self-worth. I became aware that I needed more education and I also pursued ways to improve my mental health.
When I went to my first Al-Anon meeting, many years ago, all I wanted was “pain relief.” I could not comprehend the life style I would find in this program. Before Al-Anon I had poverty, abuse, and no hope. Through Al-Anon and the journey my Higher Power and I have taken, I now have hope but no poverty or abuse.
I did not imagine that “One Day at a Time” could give me the joy, love, and spiritual track that I have found. I have three children, various in-laws in recovery, and a wonderful marriage to an Alcoholics Anonymous member. One of the great miracles of recovery is that I have ten grandchildren who have never known, firsthand, the devastation of active alcoholism. Could anyone image this kind of life coming from the alcoholic abuse of my “life in the projects?”
At that first meeting, hope was just a seed that was planted. Today I know that hope can grow into reality. By relying on the God of my understanding and being willing to do the footwork, I continue to walk where I am guided. No matter what blessings I find in life, they all come from the hope I found at my first Al-Anon meeting.
By Sue F., Pennsylvania April, 1998
Reprinted with permission of The Forum
Al-Anon Family Groups Incorporated, Virginia Beach, VA
Today's Hope is a Recovery themed site with a focus on Friends and Families of Alcoholics and problem drinkers. We are not affiliated with any 12 Step program. The daily sharings contain a reading from
Al-Anon's Conference Approved publication The Forum, an inspirational quote/saying and a recovery based reading/meditation. The intent of Today's Hope is to share experience, strength and hope. Please take what you like and leave the rest.