Delegate's Bulletin Board
23 June 2020 -- The Heart and Soul of A.A.
Personal Mission Statement: “I’m committed to being totally available and responsible to Mid-Southern California Area 09 members, to help provide a healthy infrastructure to communicate among individuals, Groups, Districts, Area, and the General Service Office, while using as few acronyms as possible!”
Can you imagine Huey Lewis and the News singing: “The Heart of A.A. is still beating?” If so, what do you think that heart is? Well, I’ve come to believe it is the General Servants at the District level. In the spirit of stagnation, I was District 19 secretary for five years from 2008 to 2012. In a repetitive cycle of service, I filled a vacancy, was elected to serve for two years, and filled a subsequent vacancy. The third Sunday of every month for five years, as I drove 40 miles from Wrightwood to Apple Valley, 9 out of 10 times by myself, I don’t ever recall questioning my commitment. I embraced the responsibility of my position, and did not entertain random thoughts that it might be useless or meaningless. In so thinking, I got hooked on service.
But it was not until the election-month of October 2019 that I got the broadened, insider’s view of the spirit that infuses our 24 Districts in Area 09. In a tag team duo with Mitchell, our newly-elected Area chair, as your Panel 68 alternate delegate, I attended 15 or more District elections for Panel 70 officers. District after District, I saw my own passion for service reflected in the eyes and smiles of General Service Representatives and previous officers evolving into District Committee Member Chairs, District Committee Members, District secretaries, treasurers, registrars, and standing committee chairs. I might have suspected some unseen force had I attended several elections, but attending more than a dozen in a month revealed a force-filled pattern of passion for service that characterizes our Area from shining sea to simmering desert!
General Service is like a gym of the spirit. And, we never know which part of our spirit we are exercising in our commitments, until patience, tolerance, and (finally) compassion reveal themselves. I’ve come to believe that something deep inside us is thriving in response to exercising our three legacies of Recovery, Unity, and Service (and, I believe, necessarily in that order). I’m convinced that General Service feeds that spirit, as I sometimes feel full to the point of bursting. On my way to the Western Area Conference of Young People in Alcoholics Anonymous in January 2020, I sat at a stop light and watched a complete stranger come to the aid of another stranger in a stalled, vintage Mustang convertible. As I watched them push the car to a jump start, my eyes filled with tears, as that part in me that has grown in service recognized service being rendered with no expectation of reward. Where serving our fellows is, itself, the reward.
Lately, more is being revealed about General Service, by seeing it exercised in novel ways. Before March 2020, who knew that sobriety could flourish in a virtual environment? Having participated in 15 virtual District meetings and 10 virtual delegate report-backs, I continually see the spirit of service shining in the eyes of General Servants serving their Districts. No slack-jawed, sleepy-eyed, disengaged alcoholics here; “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed” is the back-home, Virginia expression that comes to mind. How wonderful to see polished inside jobs shining through the smiling eyes of happy alcoholics, rendering service, spotting the newcomer as they lean into exercising the heart and soul of A.A., alive and well in our Districts!
Ed L, Panel 70 MSCA delegate,