From the December 2015 magazine.

A Dozen Pieces of Acceptance

For one man, lessons to let go came wrapped as a New Year's gift

Early last week, as I undressed, the homemade cocobolo wood pen that my childhood friend from Virginia had given me four years ago fell from my shirt pocket into a sewing basket sitting on the floor. A day later, when I looked for it, it was nowhere to be seen. Even my wife couldn’t find it; the black hole had already sucked it in. Over the years, whenever I went to meetings, I used that pen to write down memorable things, which I refer to as “AAisms.” Among my favorites is one I heard in March 2006 in Yucca Valley, California: “The difference between God and me is that God doesn’t want to be me.”

Late last week, when I emptied my pockets in a motel room in Ridgecrest, California, the small glassbead tortoise my daughter had given me six years ago fell to the floor and rolled under the bed. After five minutes of looking, I reluctantly gave up. Whenever I performed fieldwork in the Mojave Desert looking for desert tortoises, I carried that little glass tortoise in my pocket, fingering its smooth surface, thinking it would bring me luck in finding the concealed animals.

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