Non-Profit Corporation

The Marina Dock Newsletter April 2003

Dear Marina Dock members and patrons alike,

Events over the last few weeks have presented real difficulties in terms of going about one’s business and trying to put the best face on things. The Marina Dock has experienced its worst six weeks financially since its inception. The story is the same citywide with people going out less, have less money to spend, worrying about the future and what’s in store.

This month I really procrastinated over getting down to the business of putting out the newsletter. I was assailed by conflicting thoughts about the appropriateness of writing this letter under the circumstances. Would our members and supporters really be interested in such things at this time given the situation globally? Then I thought about all the people who have told me over the year, how much they look forward to getting the newsletter every month.

Faith without works is dead

This is probably a good time, for me anyway, to renew my faith in the spirit of the universe. Today, I resorted to the old reliable: an absolute belief in the power of faith and the cracking open of the “Big Book” for reassurance that all will be well. It opened on page 49 - We Agnostics.

“We have learned that whatever the human frailties of faiths may be, those faiths have given purpose and directions to millions. People of faith have a logical idea of what life is all about. Actually we used to have no reasonable conception whatever. We used to amuse ourselves by cynically dissecting spiritual beliefs and practices when we might have observed that many spiritually minded persons of all races, colors and creeds were demonstrating a degree of stability, happiness and usefulness, which we should have sought ourselves. Instead, we looked at the human defects of these people, and sometimes used their shortcomings as a basis of wholesale condemnation. We talked of intolerance while we were intolerant ourselves. We missed the reality and the beauty of the forest because we were diverted by the ugliness of some of its trees. We never gave the spiritual side of life a fair hearing.”

In times like these I think it’s fair to say the spiritual side to life requires closer scrutiny.

Wait and see mode

For now we are no different from the rest of the inhabitants on this planet, we are waiting to see what happens next. I still believe when the shooting stops and the dust has settled, beyond the inevitable human cost and the nursing of a lot of bruised egos, we will come to terms with the reality that although we don’t all agree on every issue we must disagree without being disagreeable. Ego deflation in the words of our co-founder is a sine qua non to humility and spiritual growth. Besides we have stopped fighting anybody or anything. We have to! (p. 103.)

When the going gets tough

Please try to “pull yourself up by the bootstraps”, come down to a meeting even if you have not shown your face in a while and you feel people have forgotten you. A few weeks ago someone showed up that had not been to a meeting in several years and were amazed to discover that they were still remembered, still thought of as a fellow traveler and kindred spirit. I know this may sound repetitious to some of our readers, having mentioned it in previous letters. However we must bear in mind that new people are coming around all the time and they need to be reminded that we “suit up and show up”. Recently I had my own personal encounter with the tragic results of relapse. A young fellow that I had befriended in the Santa Cruz fellowship, Brian, decided to test the waters again and died on the street last weekend from asphyxiation. He was 27 years old.

We need support now more than ever

A number of people continue to give; the problem is for the most part it is the same hardcore group of supporters. If you have not contributed for a while or you are on our mailing list and want to make a difference, now is a good time. We are doing everything possible to keep our doors open under the most extenuating circumstances. It’s a team effort and we all need to pull together on this one. Again a lot of people are out of work and feeling the pressure of making ends meet. If you are someone who feels overwhelmed by all that's going on come on by, share the burden and feel the love.

The bare essentials

As far as expenditure goes we are cutting our expenses where ever we can to try and ride this one out. All future projects have been put on hold. We will do everything possible to keep our doors open one day at a time. After all, all we have is today.

The indomitable spirit of Francis Joseph B

I paid a visit to the man himself last night Saturday, March 29th. I had heard reports that he was not doing very well. To my surprise he was in fine fettle, telling stories, giving advice and laughing away like his old self. He told me a story about some guy years ago that tried to tell him how to run the old Seven Seas club he had down on Mission. The guy came upstairs one day with a belly full of booze and a pocketful of money and told Frank he was going to buy him out and take over the place. Frank told him he was full of $h1t and invited the guy outside to settle this dispute. Whereupon the guy became even more grandiose by whipping a wad of money out of his pocket, rushing to the open window he threw it down on the street below. Frank said that on any given day there were at least five or six winos underneath that window, waiting for some Good Samaritan to buy them a drink. They could not believe their luck. They were drunk day and night for several months. They thought Frank was the generous benefactor and thanked him profusely every time they saw him for years afterwards. His lucidity and concern for others remains unchanged.

Until next time,

Anthony T. Murray ("Irish Tony")


[ Back to archive index ]