A Series of Open Windows

Being in early recovery from hard or traumatic things leaves you with a thin skin. The good thing about that is that it makes it easier for the miracles to enter.


I was sitting on a bench last week waiting for a bus and next to me was an older man who, in a superficial sweep of his appearance, I assessed as either homeless or slightly mentally ill.  After exchanging the regular bus stop pleasantries (is the Grey West late again today? Do you think it’s going to rain?), he asked me what I did and I asked him what he did. He told me that he had gotten his GED and was planning to go to our local community college to study real estate.

sunmoonThen he told me that he was waiting for his woman, whom he loved, but she didn’t treat him right. “She’s out running the streets and she has other men in the house when I’m not there. I love her but I don’t think she’s going to change.”  They’d been together four years. I agreed that it wasn’t likely that she would change. He was thinking about ending things with her in December because he didn’t want to start a new year with her. Then he said, “I just don’t think you can love something and hurt it at the same time. That’s like living in daylight and in darkness.”


copyright Daniel Ischenko

copyright Daniel Ischenko

A beautiful young woman spent the last several years drinking 2-3 pints of vodka a day until she realized that she was going to die if she didn’t stop. She also believed that it was possible that she would die if she did stop. Now, 18 months after her last drink, she is so radiant that it’s almost hard to make direct eye contact with her. She works as a gardener, and I believe it’s possible that her own energy causes plants to shoot up right out of the ground. She told me that even when it feels like she is living hand to mouth, her life now feels like “a series of open windows. Even when I see a door closing, the next window is already opening for me.”


I recently had to disclose something about a very bad relationship decision that I made to a lovely, gracious woman who is 30 years older than me. I would have strongly preferred not to discuss this with her but I’m supposed to be honest whenever possible these days, and I really had no choice. As she sat sipping iced tea on my couch, I started in on a somewhat sanitized version of the not healthy relationship decision, then she stopped me with a gentle wave of her hand. “Oh, you don’t have to explain that to me, dear. I made the same mistake with my divorce accountant. And I didn’t even like him.”

People and their stories are the windows that open ahead of me; one small miracle at a time, we remember that we are on our way home, and are in very good company.

An excerpt from the song, “Everything is Holy Now” by Peter Mayer. Listen here. 

When holy water was rare at best
It barely wet my fingertips
But now I have to hold my breath
Like I’m swimming in a sea of it
It used to be a world half there
Heaven’s second rate hand-me-down
But I walk it with a reverent air
‘Cause everything is holy now
Everything, everything
Everything is holy now

Read a questioning child’s face
And say it’s not a testament
That’d be very hard to say
See another new morning come
And say it’s not a sacrament
I tell you that it can’t be done

This morning, outside I stood
And saw a little red-winged bird
Shining like a burning bush
Singing like a scripture verse
It made me want to bow my head
I remember when church let out
How things have changed since then
Everything is holy now
It used to be a world half-there
Heaven’s second rate hand-me-down
But I walk it with a reverent air
‘Cause everything is holy now






Filed under gratitude, hope, recovery

5 responses to “A Series of Open Windows

  1. Ann

    Your poet’s eye and ear ever astound me. Maybe everyone DOES have a story:)… if the right heart is listening.

  2. Everyone does have a story. I am constantly relearning this lesson. My mother used to say, “You never know to whom you are talking.” And the poem, just perfect. Everything is holy now, including you, you and this one bright day.

  3. Marilyn Ford

    Leslie, What a beautiful message. I truly wish the best for you and think of you often. I have responded to your previous posts through the comment section. I hope that you have received them. Wishing you peace, love and hope as you begin your new life Love,

    Marilyn Sent from my iPhone


  4. you have the gift to heal with words… beautiful and moving and true

  5. Barbara England

    I have sent the link to this beautiful song to Rev. Keith Harris at McKinley who is experiencing that everything is holy through this cancer experience. It is so hard to tell people about our really imperfect, downright terrible decisions. I wish I were braver in that regard. I admire your courage and openness. Peace to you, Leslie.

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