When I was new you taught me to identify, not compare with others in the room. You said when I identify, I connect. When I compare I separate myself from life. You taught me that forgiveness heals the sense of separation between us  and reconnects me with my Higher Power. I’m learning that I cannot forgive until I am able to see myself in the other person.

My father was at the top of my first fourth step resentment list. He was cold and controlling, and doled out harsh punishment when I stepped out a line. I didn’t hate my father, but I resented the way he treated me. This resentment kept me from the desire to have any kind of meaningful relationship with him. My ego erected a wall between us.

I joined AA and began to make my way through the steps. When I came face to face with my character defects I saw I was guilty of the very things I judged him for. I was cold, controlling and angry when I didn’t get my way.  Today I know that my father suffered from untreated alcoholism. I realized he was driven by a 100 forms of fear just like me. I feel compassion for him and the suffering he must have endured. I regret that my father died before I could see this truth.

God puts other people in my life to help me grow. They hold up mirrors so I can see the truth about myself. Most of the people in my life today reflect good qualities. But every now and then a button pusher appears to help me see I’ve got work to do. Seeing my character defects in others doesn’t feel good, so I often turn away, but then another person shows up with the same reflection. Funny how that works.

The key of course is willingness. I continue to grow along spiritual lines, if I have the willingness to look in the mirror when it’s standing right in front of me. Some days I have this willingness. Some days I don’t.