And You Learn to Breathe Underwater

13725105613_f98a9b8606_b“And you learn to breathe underwater”

39 years ago–Nov. 24, 1976–I went all in on sobriety. I had no other choice. I was completely and totally lost. All I did was to let go of what wasn’t working. I let go and my real life began.

Sr. Carol Bieleck, RSCJ has written about what happened to me:


I built my house by the sea.
Not on the sands, mind you;
not on the shifting sand.
And I built it of rock.

A strong house
by a strong sea.
And we got well acquainted, the sea and I.
Good neighbors.

Not that we spoke much.
We met in silences.
Respectful, keeping our distance,
but looking our thoughts across the fence of sand.

Always, the fence of sand our barrier,
always, the sand between.
And then one day,
-and I still don’t know how it happened –
the sea came.

Without warning.
Without welcome, even
Not sudden and swift, but a shifting across the sand like wine,
less like the flow of water than the flow of blood.
Slow, but coming.

Slow, but flowing like an open wound.
And I thought of flight and I thought of drowning and I thought of death.
And while I thought the sea crept higher, till it reached my door.

And I knew, then, there was neither flight, nor death, nor drowning.

That when the sea comes calling, you stop being neighbors,
Well acquainted, friendly-at-a-distance neighbors,
And you give your house for a coral castle,
And you learn to breathe underwater.

(Sr. Carol Bieleck, RSCJ from an unpublished work)

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