It's a strange thing to know that the places of your youth now lie in ruins. When others casually express their belief in the permanence of things, I wish I had time to just kind of share with them my experience with permanence - it is fleeting.
I grew up in a steel town in eastern Ohio. The steel mills were a fixture, most families were composed of generations that had worked there. People complained about the steel companies and the smoke billowing into the sky. My father always said that when there was smoke coming out of the mills, it meant that families were eating. He was a product of the depression. I came to believe that the production of steel was a good thing and that men working and providing for their families was a good thing. Did I ever wonder if those days would end in my lifetime? Nope. But they did.
I am working at a hospital that is now in the process of down-sizing that has become so down-sized that it is down-right scary. I have watched with a broken heart as colleagues, staff who are "fixtures," have left. I have watched with a broken heart as units have closed and whole populations of patients have been left without a place to go. I have been absolutely amazed to see whole buildings left vacant and lifeless. Did I ever think this would happen in my lifetime? Nope. But it did.
So, (I bet most of you know where I am going with this...) when people casually say that AA will just magically survive into the future without any care or concern about its health or integrity I am incredulous. There is nothing in this world that is permanent. I sure would like to see the beautiful life saving program that is Alcoholics Anonymous survive to save future generations of alcoholics. But I fear that will not happen if we, the current membership, do not take some care to protect it. God has given us a great treasure and I think he expects us to care for it, not neglect and abuse it.