In Praise of the Ghost

There is that old adage that behind every good man is a great woman. And as sexist as it is, there is a truth hidden in there as well, except it is not gender specific. A more apt way of saying it is that behind all goodness, greatness, and success in any person’s life, behind all great acts, there is someone ‘back stage’ making it possible – a ghost, as it were.

No one succeeds on their own. No great event in a person’s life, no great literary work, no great feat of healing and recovery, no great discovery, nothing happens in a person’s life without someone else, in the shadows, helping them. Whether they be friends, lovers, spouses, donors, benefactors, prayer warriors, co-workers, strangers, fellow wounded souls, other people in recovery, there is always someone there to walk with, be with, open doors, pay bills, give a shot to, sway the course of a life. Always.

That is one thing that is 100 percent true in my life; behind every word, every victory, every day of sobriety, every chance I’ve ever gotten, there are at least 2 people in the background holding me up, feeding my soul, sharing their wisdom, putting money in my pocket, making a phone call, or whatever it is, allowing it to become my “own” victory.

So, I stand here in praise of the ghost, the unseen beloveds who have walked with me through this journey of my life. Some of them know who they are, some do not. I give thanks for some of you now by name because you are my greatest ghost:

There is Ian Chan Hodges and the whole Chan Hodges tribe, Monsieur Lanier, Anthony Cauterucci and all his beautiful children. There is Durty Jones, Priya Kale, my adopted Nana Leona Choy.  There is Hugh McGee, Joanne C. and her sweet angel Adrienne, and of course Artie S. There are those who are part of the Tribe of Wounded Angels.  There is Tisa S., Ashley S., Jim D., Misty, Glen Fischer, a NayNay, Greg B., Berit, and my brother Kevin. There is my real Mom, the late Sandy Comer James.  There is also a foster “Mama and Dad” – the Grantiers and their son Mark.  The entire Bishop McGuinness High School community in North Carolina, especially Father Frank Cancro.  There is also Carlton, Cathy, “Shelly Belly”, Tim Callahan, and John McMonagle. There is Ken Yamaguchi-Clark and W. Terry Beck (a most delightful Angel).  There are writers and artist like Frederick Buechner, Anne Lamott, Paulo Coelho, Neale Donald Walsch, Tom Absher and all the freaks affiliated with the now defunct Writers & Artist Workshop of Vermont College of Norwich University (where I finally finished by B.A. 19 years ago).  There is Megan, Quinn (my son), Lloyd Odell, Tony Campolo, Father Krempa, and Pastor Jack.  There is the entire Daniels tribe.

I also give thanks to all the “ghosts” in A.A. and N.A. and to my dog Juno. 

The greatest praise and thanks go to my God Whom I love more and more every day; Who gives me LOVE, Life, and Sobriety.

All of you help me stay on the path to wholeness and love.  There are literally hundreds more who moved mountains, opened hearts and doors, gave when they had little to give of their own, who have made my life all of what it is today.

So, to all of you (written here and not but who know who you are), I say thank you, bless you, and may you be given back all that you have given to me a hundred fold.  May God be praised for your love and faithfulness and may you be Blessed!

If you have any ghost in your lives who dance in the shadows, enriching all that you do, cheering you on, I challenge you to express your love, thanks and gratitude to them…for no one is an island, but all of us should stand in praise of the ghost.

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