For years I have wanted to write about this particular subject and I cannot think of a more appropriate time than right now since a very needless tragedy occurred this past week. Dorothy Sauve, a young woman stricken with multiple sclerosis, whom my son knew, and her 18 month old baby boy were killed instantly in a head-on collision. One other person was killed and four others were hospitalized. The driver, who crossed a solid line and tried to pass Sauve on a rain-swept curve, had been drinking.
Relatives gathered at the familyīs home trying to comfort her grieving husband and console each other. It was even more heartbreaking knowing that Dorothy and her husband Guy had tried for many years to have a child, and now their happiness was terminated in one disastrous instant.
This is what has prompted me to relate an incident that happened back in 1991. My husband and I had wanted to change churches for years. Finally the Lord gave us the īgo aheadī. But, shortly after transferring we wondered, "What do we do NOW?" because at the new membership meeting, attended by about a dozen of us, the pastor announced that he did not want any īsipping saintsī in his congregation. This posed a problem because we had been given a couple of three-foot tall bottles of wine at our 25th wedding anniversary which we intended to keep and then open at our 50th. So, I remarked to my hubby, "We have a serious problem here." To which he replied, "No, the pastor has the problem because Jesus turned water into wine, so it must be OK."
I argued that we could not keep our blinds closed and run to lock the pantry door every time the pastor drops by for a visit so we had one of two choices; we would either have to leave this church or we would have to get rid of the wine and then never touch alcohol again. Since neither option was acceptable I took it to prayer.
As it turned out, during that same week, my optometrist determined that I needed trifocals. He then warned me, "Make certain that I am here when you pick them up so I can teach you how to wear them." I thought he was kidding. Donīt you just put glasses on your face and go?
The answer is a great big, fat, definite "NO!" I returned during his lunch hour and picked them up from the receptionist. Within days I was discombobulated and totally disorientated. I did not realize that all this was caused by my glasses. I was tripping down steps, nearly spraining my ankles and I was bumping into door posts and countertops until I was black and blue all over. I found that I could not even get my car into a parking space. After about five attempts to parallel park in downtown Toronto, I stopped a man on the street and asked him if he could put it in the spot for me.
It didnīt take very long for me to become manic. I was so wired that I was running on sheer adrenaline. Then, to work off all this excess energy I started scrubbing walls and washing windows. I continued into the middle of the night. Since I was not about to get any sleep I figured I might as well get my house all shiny and clean. As I was filling the kitchen sink with water at about 4:00 in the morning my budgie started eagerly chirping away. I found this most amusing and wished my mother-in-law was there to see it because she tried to convince me that "even birds know enough to sleep when itīs dark!" (thatīs a long story that I will have to relate some other time) The longer my bird chirped the funnier I thought it was until I was actually laughing out loud. Remembering that a good friend gets up to pray at 5:00 a.m. I dialed her number and blurted into the telephone, "Did you know that birds chirp in the middle of the night?"
Still a little groggy, she tried to convince me that it was a bat. Between wails of laughter I argued that it was a bird. She adamantly insisted, "No, itīs a bat. I know because I had one." I was almost hysterical with laughter and said, "You had a bat hanging in a cage over your kitchen sink? Whatever for?"
At this point she let me know that she was convinced that I was as drunk as a skunk. When I tried to assure her that I was not, she related how her husband had come home just a few days before and said that he saw me bumping into furniture and falling all over the place. He said that I was drunk and it wasnīt even noon. He was using this and the fact that half of the Christians at my 25th Wedding Anniversary party were drinking as ammunition to get her to let him start drinking beer again. He was an alcoholic who had fallen off the wagon once before and lost his job, his ministry and almost everything he owned. Now he was flirting with disaster once more.
Everything immediately became crystal clear remembering that I had asked God to sort out the situation regarding the īsipping saintsī dilemma for me. Choosing my words very carefully I then said, "Please tell your husband that I will never take a sip of alcohol ever again as long as I live and there will never be any alcohol in my home from this day forward. I never want to be held accountable for īmaking a little one stumbleī because Jesus said, īit would be better for him (that man who makes a weak person stumble) if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.ī (Mark 9:42 NKJV)
What had I been thinking all those years prior to this incident? I had three teenage sons. They were watching, learning and being influenced by what I did or didnīt do. What example had I set for them? Why did I take such a gamble?
Now, a million years older and wiser I can truthfully say , "I donīt need alcohol. I donīt miss it and Iīm just fine without it." The best part is that I never have to worry about being a stumblingblock to someone ever again.
There is an entire community out there watching, learning and copying each other. What impact are you having on them?