It’s the hoo-rah and the ya-hoo of St. Patrick’s Day that proved to me, the value of Gridlock.
Working hour after hour at our bar, on the day when everyone seemed to be letting loose, I was tightening up. All the party people were dressed in green with big smiles and if I had one, it was most likely fake.
A Friday of St. Patty’s is surely the most annoying day ever, to be Sober.
I’ve heard it said that the Framers of our nation’s Constitution, designed Gridlock into the structure of the Republic. They wanted to make it difficult and arduous to make big changes. They saw value in standoffs between ideas. Immobility allows for security even. I felt the pain of that truth while sipping Sierra Mist instead of Scotch yesterday afternoon.
If Gridlock isn’t the default position of our nation’s leadership, then what would be the alternative? I guess it would mean that whatever idea had currently taken hold, could enact vast sweeping change. Any current administration could radically alter and reinvent our country however they saw fit. Without checks and balances, the core construct of the system couldn’t survive.
How could a peaceful transfer of power occur, say from Republican to Democrat, if the probability was that it would never be returned again. We have to hold hope, as a divided nation, that our ideas will have a chance again to be heard, no matter who holds the office today. Otherwise we’d have civil wars, instead of elections.
In my early thirties, I experienced an internal shift of power within my own being. My priorities changed, I wanted to try a new way of living. As part of the new internal personal regime, I began to attempt sobriety from alcohol.
That was 5 and a half years ago, but it seems like just yesterday. Before that moment, I was a much different person. I whole heartedly belonged to the Party of Parties! I was committed and engaged and a die-hard. I loved to drink and socialize and laugh too loud.
The changes I’ve made have been strong enough to keep me dry up until today. However, there is still a democracy battling for power within. The proverbial angel on one shoulder and devil on the other, are at war in the space between. They are both tough. They both fight hard. Their blows and punches at each other can wear me out.
St. Patrick’s Day left them both bloodied and bruised, neither seeming to gain ground on the other.
This Gridlock must then somehow be healthy. Without the vote and voice of my better self and my baser self, I surely wouldn’t be here today. I couldn’t have tried out sobriety, as a life sentence. The way I approach it is that I just skip drinking for today. And that method invites temptation to bark at the door, to scratch and paw, to break in, and attack in beastly ways.
Work is involved. Daaaaaaaammit.
The battle isn’t on my shoulders and out of my control. It’s all within my own jurisdiction. It’s up to me, to feel disdain for this jolly holiday, or to join it, and let go of my personal achievement.
I have to thank God for the help, but God isn’t pardoning me from any responsibility. That’s not real help. He didn’t give me this fish. I have to get my freakin’ pole out every day and cast a line.
So there. I truly hope you had a great St. Patty’s day. Whether you imbibed or abstained, I hope it was fun. Luckily for me, even though it didn’t feel fun, I was supported by my loving wife. She could tell I fought hard to stay straight. I appreciate her so much.
So, the Gridlock paid off again. Any amendments to my personal constitution are going to take more of a challenge than green beer.
Until next week my friends; be well. I wish You the very best.
These moments remind me of this poem I learned from my Uncle Steve.
The Double Life
How very simple life would be
If only there were two of me
A Restless Me to drift and roam
A Quiet Me to stay at home.
A Searching One to find his fill
Of varied skies and newfound thrills
While sane and homely things are done
By the domestic Other One.
And that’s just where the trouble lies;
There is a Restless Me that cries
For chancy risks and changing scene,
For arctic blue and tropic green,
For deserts with their mystic spell,
For lusty fun and raising Hell
But shackled to that Restless Me
My Other Self rebelliously
Resists the frantic urge to move.
~ by Don Blanding