Laura and I arrived at Christ Church Cathedral at 9:30 am to hear the choir practising. By 10:30 all seats in the cathedral and church hall were taken with standing room only. The clergy made a triumphal entrance. The choir and muscians were heavenly indeed. Bishop Michael Ingham preached a profound sermon on faith and grace challenging the emptiness of the new aetheism. There was 'no rational way to understand" the Risen Christ. Quoting mathematician Blaise Pascal, he said, "heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing." From the story of Albertan artist William Kurulek he likened the experience of Jesus to "someone with me". Faith freed you from fear and was the homing device within the individual human. He told a moving story of the perseverence of faith under Stalin's rationalism.
Following eucharist Laura and I quickly made our way across a rainy Burrard Street to the Hyatt Regency where the AA "spiritual" speaker from Toronto had everyone in stitches beginning with a drunk vomitting on him on the plane en route. He talked to the common sense of being 'other' that alcoholics share so often with regular members of society. The only difference was that alcohol relieved this for him whereas for others it didn't have so satisfactory a response. His story included a miraculous escape from suicide by carbon monoxide and still later feeling a gun to his head as the dealer he'd ripped off hadn't taken kindly to that. Somehow beyond his own capabability he survived his own best drunken plans and found AA In recovery he learned that he was most fulfilled when he thought of others rather than himself.
After a group of us had lunch at Earl's on Robson sharing stories and laughter. Because it was Easter we felt irrationally that burgers and fries wouldn't be too fattening. The sun came out and Vancouver was beautiful with pink cherry blossoms and yellow daffodils
Celebrate Sobriety 2009 ended today as well. Despite the miracles of easter, we'd not been able to be in two places at once.
Yesterday with Bob I attended the Coming Out in AA workshop hearing of the horrible stories of abuse that young people had encountered in sharing their experiences of sexuality and gender. A couple of young men told of head injuries acquired as victims of gay bashers while another told of the imprisonment and torture that would occur if his sexual orientation were known in his country of origin. All spoke to the confusion and difficulties that were lessened in sobriety and easier to face without a drink than with. "To thine own self be true" was reminder that had carried more than one on this difficult journey.
Bri and Mar and I attended the acceptance workshop despite the touch of envy occasioned by the almost continuous laughter coming from the next door 'fun in sobriety' meeting.
Later Laura and I having danced our feet off to March Hare at the Hyatt joined the disco dance of Celebrate.
We so enjoyed the hilarity of the Texan North Shore AA speaker whose fiancee was arrested at the border because his passport had been stolen in their home and replaced with a Korean one with false papers. She said the experience was a challenge to her serenity to say the least. She also admitted that she looked forward to finding out which of the alcoholic newcomers she'd entertained the week before, might want to practice rigorous honesty and make an amends before she got her hands on them. She noted that because of her long term sobriety she had not known that an american passport sold for $5000 on the black market but admittted it was just the sort of thing she would have known in her drinking days. Back then she said, "I would have been in the loop." She was a crack up with a very serious message about 'untreated alcoholism' being more than just being dry. She hit many a chord by saying that self pity, dishonesty and self seeking had to be confronted in our lives daily if we wanted the full rewards of sobriety.