“…There’s one more angel in heaven
       There’s one more star in the sky
       Cary we’ll never forget you
       It’s tough but we’re gonna get by…”

None of us gets to The Rooms on a winning streak. Cary was no exception. When we met during his stint in rehab—just two years ago— the guy was down, nearly out. “I’m a shadow of the man I was,” he advised me. “Screw the past,” I assured him, “You’re a shadow of the man you’ll be.”

In less than an hour we bonded. I told him my story; he told me his—and before we parted, we shared a laugh.
“Would you sponsor me?” he asked.
“If you’re serious, call me.”

Two weeks later– the afternoon of his discharge—my phone rang.
“Be ready at six.”
“But it’s my first night out!” he complained.
“Cary, really, what the F do you have better to do?”

He hit the ground running—no… racing. Within hours on the outside, the new guy was front and center at a meeting, introducing himself.

Find a home group, we urged. Get a service commitment, we suggested. Share your feelings.

So he did. For the next twenty months, like clockwork, there our friend stood, 7:15 every Friday morning at Suburban Temple… by the door…outstretched hand…. greeting the masses.

And there he was at other meetings: making coffee, setting up tables. And yes he spoke: candidly, to his foxhole buddies, opening up…finding his truth.

They loved him, my brethren did. To a man. We all notice when someone walks in, jumps in the “middle of the bed”, and stays. Too often do we see guys show up ‘til the heat’s off, then head back out. (We call that coming for the relief and not staying for the recovery).

Cary stayed. Cary became accountable. To a T. So responsible was his behavior, so bankable his word, that when he didn’t show to open a meeting two Fridays back, people noticed. And worried. He was, after all, one of us.

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****  ******  
There was a moment of silence for our friend last Tuesday. Then, moving around the table, we shared thoughts and memories of our fallen pal. He was comfortable in his own skin, one remarked. And he went out a winner, said another.

I spoke to his willingness, to his purity; I mentioned how he’d called me daily…at 4:30…and how while I didn’t always understand what he was saying, I knew well it that came from his heart.

What I didn’t tell them, but what I thought in silence, was how Cary—like me— had been grappled to the soul by a fellowship that loved him until once again he could love himself. And I was comforted, (if that is the word), knowing that my good friend was indeed resting in peace.

       “…There’s one less place at our table
       There’s one more tear in my eye
       Cary, the things that you stood for
       Like truth and love never die….”

Tim Rice

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