Friday, March 20, 2009

The principle of "being on time"...

Don, my former Service Sponsor (he's dead now) and I used to laugh occasionally about the concept of a "parking space God" - so often cited as being active in someone's life in an AA meeting. The story was always some variation of "...and I was running 10 minutes late and asked God to provide me a parking place and, sure enough, just as I pulled up a car was backing out right by the front door..."

Or, the story where, just when they were on the threshold of desperation, a member would ask God for money and then it would show up in the mail. ...or be handed them after a meeting...

We'd laugh, talk about how powerful they were for being able to call on the God of creation, the God of the universe, the God who watches over us all to provide them a parking space. God as sort of a servant who was at their beck and call.

We'd laugh and laugh.

Then Don would mention the principle of "being on time".

He would relate several experiences where, when he was "on time", the parking space was there. The money arrived when he needed it. His whole existence took on this mystical aura where he had just what he needed, when he needed it. In fact (now a little boastfully), he would state that in his life he ALWAYS had a parking space, ALWAYS had money, ALWAYS got what he needed, when he needed it.

This would make me crazy. I'd say, "...well that's no different than having a parking space god!" He'd smile and look at me with the incredulity that only he could express and say "...tee-hee, is it?"

Over the years, I got that he really lived in accordance with this principle - indeed, he bet his life on it. For example:
  • except late in life when he was on some tough medication, he never used an alarm clock - regardless what time zone in the world he was in or what the schedule was for a given day, he would simply ask what time he was supposed to show up and went to sleep trusting that he would be there when he was supposed to be
  • Don was the last person on the planet that you wanted to talk to about financial planning because, if he had money in his pocket that was not promised elsewhere, he would presume he was supposed to give it to someone and hand it off
  • when he was out of money, he would answer a call and go do what he was requested to do - never asking about compensation. If he was asked how much he wanted to get paid for something, the only response I ever heard him give was something to the effect that "...it's my job to do what you've asked me to do, it's your job to figure out what my work is worth to you..."
One day I got to experience some of this at a different level. I'd agreed to take Don to a workshop on a Saturday morning in Ft. Collins (about an hour and a half away). The workshop was to start at 10am and we'd had little traffic so we arrived at the church at around 9:30 and so I started to get out of the car to go in. Don said, "Wait, we're too early."

Being used to generally showing up late for things in my life, I always thought that it was a good thing to be "early" but I humored him and we sat and chatted for a few minutes. At about 9:45 a 10-12 point buck strolled leisurely across the church yard right in front of us. After the buck had cleared the yard, Don said, now it's time for us to go in.

I was, needless to say, impressed.

On more than one occasion, I'd known Don to invite folks who were traveling with him to let go of their attachments to time (watches, clocks, schedules, calendars, etc.). In these occasions, people were astonished at the changes in their lives' experience when they would throw themselves into the serendipity of whatever showed up, when it showed up. Then something would happen (they'd miss an airplane, a show they'd intended to see, etc.) and Don would point out that they'd moved from living with the principle of "being on time" to using the power of the universe to be some sort of "parlor trick" - calling on an an energy wherein they were in control and managing what happened.

He was an amazing dude...

Ed

5 comments:

Mary Christine said...

Did his last name start with "P"?

Ed G. said...

Yep...

Scott W said...

Your Don was in tune with the universe, sounds like to me.

Ed G. said...

Yep...

Lou said...

Opps, you DID write the "on time" article..I think..