Progressive Prison Project
Innocent Spouse & Children Project
Aug. 29, 2013
A Stake in Saratoga:
Coming Out of Isolation and Into
Community After A Crisis
By Jeff Grant
This is my last day of a week visiting my sister in Saratoga Springs, New York – it is just beautiful here. And just what I needed.
Among the other wonderful things it has to offer, Saratoga has a rich and welcoming recovery community – something I became aware of and experienced in prior visits. This is something I have leaned upon in the past, and something that I suspected I would need to rely upon again in the future. Recently, the future became my present in suffering a personal crisis.
As a minister who ministers to families in crisis situations, I was well aware of the ironies and tensions – and opportunities for growth.
My years in recovery had given me a lot of tools on which I could rely. First, I needed to tell the truth to ministers and friends who love and care about me and my family, and then follow their good orderly direction. They reminded me that on an airplane, “you to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you attempt to help others.” They were unanimous and emphatic that, once I attended to my family’s needs in Greenwich, that I get out of town for a while to work on my spiritual condition. I followed this advice. It was here in the Saratoga recovery community that I was able to attend a lot of meetings, attend church, engage in deep prayer, call other fellows, help and be helped by others – and mostly keep the focus on myself. And I’ve been able to spend quality time with my sister too. What a gift to me and to my family.
I have learned that coming out of isolation and into community after a crisis takes more than just showing up (although even showing up is not always easy after a crisis) – it takes a lot of hard work, acceptance and surrender. I am working on the acceptance part, but for me it is difficult. The process of acceptance means that I am learning, yet again, to accept life on life’s terms in the here and now. It seems to be an especially difficult thing to do when I’m reeling from the hurt of a recent personal crisis. Surrender is even more difficult, especially for a guy like me who was raised as a fighter, and who spent most of his life as an Alpha male. But the more I let go and let God, the better things seem to go. It is certainly progress that counts, not perfection.
I’ve found welcoming recovery in all sorts of places when I’ve needed it – in big cities, in little towns all over this country, and behind the walls of prison. But this week – when I needed it most – the Saratoga recovery community has been a Godsend. I am profoundly grateful.
, by Quinn G. Caldwell, Pastor of Plymouth Congregational Church, Syracuse, New York:
Jesus said, “You ought always to pray and not to faint.” Do not pray for easy lives; pray to be stronger women and men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers, but for power equal to your tasks. Then, the doing of your work will be no miracle – YOU will be the miracle, and every day you will wonder at yourself and the richness of life that has come to you by the grace of God. Amen. (from The New Century Hymnal)
Rev. Jeff Grant, JD, M Div
Director, Progressive Prison Project/
Innocent Spouse & Children Project
Director of Prison Ministries
First Baptist Church of Bridgeport
126 Washington Avenue, 1st Fl.
Bridgeport, Connecticut 06604