Unique Self: Part 8 The Little Engine Meets Reality


Burl Ives is inspiring and the stars I worshiped as a child were inspirational. Furthermore, I was raised on the bootstraps theory of pull yourself up by them (without any help) so when I tried anything that became difficult and I couldn’t succeed, I just tried harder… longer…louder!

I wanted to become an All Stater more than I wanted anything in life. As I mentioned in the previous post, I was on that I think I can… I think I can… I think I can… train track from the Little Engine That Could book. I was so convinced that I was on the right train track, I was linked to the caboose on that one!

By high school, everyone kept saying how talented I was. However, I wasn’t tall and I wasn’t naturally strong. I finally had a good jump shot (close to the basket) and a terrific lay-up. Gone were the days of shooting two-handed. My coach said I was one of the best in the state at feeding the post forward. I could thread the ball through a maze of arms and legs and get it to the post at the precise second she needed it for a reverse hook. But… I couldn’t be an Iowa Girls Basketball State champion. I just couldn’t.

It wasn’t my attitude that was at fault. I believed I could, I really did; but no amount of self-talk could make it happen. You can check the records. I’m not there.

I was deceived by the Little Engine That Could!

As much as I wanted to think so…it’s just not true. There’s something that goes deeper than self-talk and eventually comes through clearer than Burl Ives and his lyrics of positive thinking. I don’t know what you call it—but I call it reality.

Many years later, I understood that I was still trying to succeed under my own power, my own will power.

Step 3 is where I made a decision. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him.~ AA p 59

I faced reality. I stopped trying to play God and make my life work out the way I wanted it to. I started asking Him for the wisdom to know His will and the power to do what He wanted.

I gave up setting my own goals. It’s so much better the AA way.

It is when we try to make our will conform with God’s that we begin to use it rightly. To all of us, this was a most wonderful revelation. Our whole trouble had been the misuse of willpower. We had tried to bombard our problems with it instead of attempting to bring it into agreement with God’s intention for us. To make this increasingly possible is the purpose of AA’s Twelve Steps, and Step Three opens the door. ~ Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions p 40

I’ve been living by this AA wisdom for over 4 years and it’s such a peaceful path. I’m not fighting to become someone God never designed me to be. An All Stater? Nope. I’m not a star at anything, but I’m a right-sized, 60-year-old woman who is a gate guard in the drought-strangled plains of Texas. (and I bet you didn’t see this coming…) I’m more contented and serene than I ever dreamed of being.

This week we were told we were going to lose our job with our drilling rig, a Lantern team , because it would be returning to Louisiana. Then we were told we wouldn’t because the rig would stay in Texas. Now it’s leaving again and we will stay with the oil company and a set of their company men, and move to another rig close by.

Because of AA, I know to say the Serenity Prayer and just wait to see what happens. I can’t conjure up serenity by my own will power. It comes from yielding to His will.

I think I can… I think I can… I think I can has become I think not! But I know He can.