Making Amends

Decades ago when I had just started my Al-Anon program I was trying to make amends to people I had hurt in my past. I ran across a problem in making amends. In the years I had been CEO of Union Rescue Missions Of Los Angeles I had hurt many people. By this time I had been gone from the the LA mission so long that I could not even remember the names of most of the people who worked there when I was there. How could I make amends to them? I took my problem to my wonderful sponsor Elsa. She told me not to worry but to just turn it over to God and to stay willing to make amends.

About that time I attended a weekend conference. It was a conference in which the mission staff from from each of the west coast missions got together to learn from each other.

I was not the primary speaker who spoke to the conference at every major assembly. I was to lead a workshop called “What I learned as President of Union Rescue Mission.” My group was in the large main room of the facility at its front .of the room. About 25 chairs had been set up for my meeting.

I was sitting there on the platform going over what I wanted to say. Finally I looked up to see what was taking so long for the meeting to get started. To my surprise the crew for the meeting was busily setting up more chairs for the people who were steadily filing in. The crowd kept getting bigger and bigger. It looked like all the attendees at the whole get together were coming to my meeting.

I could not imagine how I was going to handle this situation because I was only prepared to lead a discussion. I only had a simple statement in my mind when I started to speak. It was “I am glad to see all of you here”. I guess I must have thought if I got started I would think of some story to tell. It was a very uncertain moment for me.

I talked for awhile about something forgettable . Gradually it occurred to me that about that about 60% of the people to which I needed to make amends were in the room. So I began to make the amends I needed to make. I talked for quite awhile making my amends. I had tears in my eyes and the folks sitting there were tearing up too. What a moment for us all. We were of one heart. At the end of the meeting I felt I had made all the amends I needed to make.

A few weeks later I realized that many of the folks to whom I needed to make amends were not there at the conference. Still I knew I had made all the amends my Higher Power wanted me to make. I made a little joke silently in the joy of that instant. I said “I guess God thinks gossip would take care of the rest of the people”.

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