Circled on My Calendar

            The following dates are always circled on my yearly calendar: October 16th, December 28th, June 28th, May 21st, and whatever Friday is nearest to March 17th. My wife’s birthday is October 16th. My oldest son Sam’s birthday is December 28th and young son Miles’s birthday is six months to the day on June 28th. May 21st is my wedding anniversary. So what happens on the Friday nearest to St. Patrick’s Day? Foglifters celebrates their anniversary.

            The Foglifters’ Anniversary meeting has all the markings of any good celebration. There’s plenty of good food and plenty of happy people. Though I am not a member of this group, the members treat me like one. I show up and see one hand after another extended to me. For most of the three hours, members of Foglifters come at me like zealot followers of your favorite or least favorite candidate for President. They come at me, these recovering alcoholics and among other things they always say, “Thank you and thank your church for allowing us to meet here. You have saved my ___________ (fill in the blank with marriage, job, relationship with my kids or grandchildren or life).”

            Since March 17, 1990, these members of Alcoholics Anonymous have been using our facilities and paying a little bit of rent to do so. A word about their nifty name: if you ever drive along the Delaware River in the morning you will often see a fog lifting over the water. When you are in complete and total bondage to alcohol (or drugs or gambling or shopping or anger or you get the picture) life is a fog. The dreary scenery never changes. Life is cloudy and pointless. But when the grace of God comes in the form of a way out of your bondage, well that feels a lot like fog lifting from your life.

            So I circle the anniversary meeting every year. After I get all that love as the Pastor of Thompson Church, I take my seat once the meeting begins and I listen to a speaker tell her or his story—what their lives were like when they were drinking (foggy), how they got to A.A. (fog lifts) and what it is like now (foggy on some day but mostly sunny the rest). The speakers give the credit and sometime the glory to God for the miracle of sobriety. I know I thank and praise God that I, along with you, have a small but important part to play in saving lives, offering hope, and lifting fog.