Half way into the meeting, sitting in the back, he raised his hand and got called on to share.
I'd seen him at lots of meetings over the past months.
Nice fellow I thought, but quiet.
He began to speak, and it was a wrenching thing to listen to. The facts as he laid them out were tough. He was no kid, and he was trying like hell to stay sober, but the work wasn't there and he was living in his truck, pretty much hanging onto sobriety, self respect and faith by a thread. He didn't even have the change to do laundry anymore. It wasn't laid out with any expectation or angle (there's nothing like a group of AA's listening to a share to pick up on those... after all, we've pretty much played 'em all ourselves). It was just a guy trying to stay sober, having a damned hard time of it literally and spiritually.
He finished saying his piece, and the meeting went on, as AA meetings do, and much good was said overall.
Afterwords, standing in line to thank the speaker, by chance I found myself behind my Great Spiritual Teacher, he whom I've written about before, and who has occasioned me so many, many, many wonderful chances to pray and grow.
And in line in front of my GST was the fellow of the wrenching share.
This is a crowded meeting, and though we were in line there were a lot of people milling about, talking, putting away folding chairs... all the activity made it so that no one was paying any particular attention to us. Standing there quietly I watched as, without fanfare, my Great Spiritual Teacher removed several bills of a good denomination from his wallet, rolled them up and slipped them into the pocket of the guy who was having such a terrible time.
With a start GST realized I was behind him, and that I had seen him do this. He gave me what I can only describe as a sour frown. The line moved forward and the moment passed.
It's okay. I don't think I'll ever need to pray for him again. I believe that lesson is now, in the best sense of the word, complete.