The Part You Throw Away

I want that beggar’s eyes
a winning horse
a tidy Mexican divorce
St. Mary’s prayers
Houdini’s Hands
And a Barman who always
Will you lose the flowers
Hold on to the vase
Will you wipe all those teardrops
Away from your face
I can’t help thinking
As I close the door
I have done all of this
Many times before
From Tom Waits’ “The Part You Throw Away”
From Blood Money (2006)

God doesn’t make junk.  Such a trite cliche, heard so repeatedly in the years I’ve spent in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous you think I would believe it by now.  I do, about everyone but myself.  I don’t think you are worthless.  I tell my sponsees, other women in the fellowship and anyone suffering from the pains of growing up that He loves every one of us like there is only one of us.  This I truly believe, with all of my heart–about you.  Me:  I am the chaff.  The excess.  The part you throw away.  The military threw me away because I have a diseased mind.  I gave away my gifts to anyone who would have them, only to find them in the waste bin when I walked back into the empty room.  One thing I will say about my sister, she never even accepted my gifts.  The act of throwing them away never had to take place.  They were pre-disposed.  I guess I never built up enough credit in that relationship to schedule the gift-giving ceremony.

I know that God accepts my gifts, but sometimes my fear is disproportionately larger than my faith.  I get a sneaking suspicion at times that He disposed of me because I turned my face away from His light.  Today I told my dear friend in Dallas, someone vital to my early sobriety that I wondered why He didn’t shake me up sooner in life, why He let me wander, so lost for so long.  I know a young man who has a beautiful relationship with his Higher Power, one that gives him great joy.  He writes music to Christ and finds great comfort in His words.  He is 22 years old.  When I have conversations with him I cannot believe that the words are coming from the mouth of someone just shy of half my age.  Granted, he has been through acute spiritual, emotional and psychological pain in his young life which have made growth vital to his existence, but I am still in awe of this person.  He is my spiritual superior.  He has strength of character beyond anything I have ever come close to attaining.  His belief and conviction thereof make me reevaluate my own.  He is 22.  There is a spiritual high ground, a moral high ground;  I have realized through my friendship with this young man that I am on an age-based high ground.  Hello, square one.

I digress.  Back to the business of self pity, which is really just a form of self-centeredness.  Reading Tom’s eloquent words:  I want the world handed to me.  I will ignore the beauty of life and miss the forest for the trees.  I will hide my true self at any cost so as not to get hurt.  I will repeat those mistakes over and over again.

Ripe Summer Wheat


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