Yesterday for lunch I went to the basement of Old St. Pat's Church in Chicago's West Loop and listened to folks holler and sing and clap and whoop and thank God for their lives. It was the Cara program's annual lunch where a handful of lost souls to addiction, crime and other afflictions share their stories, tell of their heroes and are generally deeply grateful to having regained themselves again. These are people -- men, women, young, middle-aged, white, black, and lots of other things -- who have come through this program that is very strict, yet very nurturing and found jobs, rebuilt relationships with their families and dug deep inside their souls to recapture their true selves.
I sat through this two-hour event mesmerized, grateful and in awe of Cara, the people who have successfully gone through the program and life itself. What brings people to such abysses in their lives where they self-destruct through drugs, crime or something else? Why can some people weather the most frightening and eviscerating events in their lives and not wind up hurting themselves? It's strange how some people face staggering odds and somehow find it within themselves to triumph without first flinging themselves into the deep abyss.
Listening to these people made me grateful for the comparatively minor bumps in my life. On the ride home, I thought life has not always treated me the way I would like, but I have never been dealt such a blow that I have fallen off my game. It's just another thing for which I am grateful.