Admiring the older guys

Admiring the older guys

When we visit Jacob in Florida we often attend AA meetings with him.  These are typically “open” – meaning anyone can attend – and normally held in a church.  They remind me, again, how grateful I am to churches, synagogues, local governments and hospitals for opening their doors to people in recovery, usually without charging.  Groups will respond with some payment drawn from weekly passing-the-basket at meetings and because their traditions require it.  But payment will never match what these places might get from a regular rental fee, so my gratitude remains.

One particular meeting – a weekday noon gathering in a downtown Ft Lauderdale church – seems to attract a mix of working professionals on their lunchtime break.  It also draws a steady, regular group of some six to eight older men who have amassed decades of sobriety.

It is this older group that captures my interest.  Aside from their openness and generous friendliness, they exude a certain calm.  Is it because they are older?  Been there done that.  I think not.  Rather, it seems born of years focusing on bettering themselves, beating back the demons that stole their youth.

They gaze upon the young ones with a wisdom and an understanding  forged by years long past and well-lived.    These men know my son in a way I never will.

I am grateful for the buildings that house these meetings, and I am grateful for the “older guys” inside.  It is their kindness and sharing that helps return sons, like mine, to their waiting families.