How could I?

I like to think that I have a strong faith in God. Yet I have recently had occasion to doubt.

DOUBT

transitive verb

  1. archaic a: fear b: suspect
  2. to call into question the truth of : to be uncertain or in doubt about
  3. a: to lack confidence in-Distrust b: to consider unlikely.

I had been thinking it unlikely that I would be able to accept a job offer due to having prior commitments, I had worried that I would have to tell customers that I would not be able to provide service due to traveling. I wasn’t sure I would have time to complete commitments after a scheduled orientation meeting today.

I was tossing last night doing my best to let Him have my cares and to forgive my faithlessness. All of my prayers were answered. I felt a warm sense of ease. I knew it would all work out. I could not comprehend how, based on the information I had at the time, I just knew.

  1. It didn’t snow while I was away no need to let customers down.
  2. My offer to work for the biggest online retailer as a seasonal delivery station associate came after Thanksgiving
  3. The shifts I will work will allow me to continue to work during daylight hours.
  4. the orientation lasted 2 1/2 hours instead of the 4 I had expected. Allowing me to complete jobs I had committed to, and better yet, the last job was much easier to get done than I had expected.

I had to stop and Thank and praise Him and was in tears as I knew I had doubted that it was all going to go better than I could have dreamed. It always does

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The most valuable thing

It was slightly more than 20 years ago. A delightful summer afternoon, ironically this memory includes me mowing the lawn. Ironic because I because I mow lawns for a living in the summer. My friend John is walking by. I stop what I’m doing to visit. He tells me about a new type of treatment program that is solely based on the spiritual principles found in the Big Book Alcoholics Anonymous.  At this point, having a little more than 2 years of continuous sobriety/clean time. I thought, boy I sure wish I could go there.

Well little did I know at that time, what the mighty Jester of the Cosmos had written in the book of my life. On November 16th, 1998 I entered the program at The Retreat.

The first thing that hit me was, during a Big Book study with Roger B. He says. “I hope you’re DONE and not just here to take a break.” Woah, just woah. Yes, I’m so done. The next thing was again Roger B. “Are you willing to believe in the possibility?” That a Higher Power could restore me to sanity. Yes! That would be the beginning of an intention to improve my conscious contact with God “as I understand God” which is impossible to comprehend. The basis of which is how I am willing to carry on without chemicals.

Fast forward to today. I have discovered the enlightened self-interest of, and the key to staying sober is helping others to recover. Wait, how can I help? What do I have to offer? Well as it turns out I have my experience. Which through sharing that, I am able to stay in recovery from addiction. I have found something else even more valuable than my experience. It is worth more than any material or financial commodity. It costs nothing but requires an immense amount of energy if offered with intention.

The most valuable thing is My Attention

Giving freely of my attention is the most generous thing I can do. With attention I discover understanding and that is what I get in return.

There’s always room for improvement!

And boy, do I have some. Astronomical in size comes to mind. What brought this on? One might ask. Well, I’ll tell you. If you have been following along, you know of my desire to help. Well, it has become painfully apparent that I can do more.

Through reading blogs, scripture, news and so on. The question arises, what have you done for “the least of mine”. Not a lot I must admit. Lately, though I have given some dollars to those requesting “anything helps” at intersections.

I had, in the past, thought that these people were actually just doing this for their job and that they probably made more money than I do. Upon reflection, I found within that this was devoid of compassion.

it's here
Like it or not-Fall is upon us

Another area in my sorted life, where I find room for improvement is in refraining from the judgment of others. This has been brought about reading from Thomas Merton’s No Man is an Island “If we are to love sincerely, and with simplicity…We must somehow strip ourselves of our greatest illusions about ourselves, frankly recognize in how many ways we are unlovable, descend into the depths of our being until we come to the basic reality that is in us, and learn to see that we are lovable after all in spite of everything”, and that we are loved precisely because of our flaws.

As I emerge from the other side, I am better able to love, any and all. And, most important understand.

Delusion

noun

delusion is a belief that is held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary. As a pathology, it is distinct from a belief based on false or incomplete information, confabulationdogmaillusion, or other effects of perceptionWikipedia

Wait, What? What of Faith then? It goes on, Whew!

Many religious beliefs hold exactly the same features, yet are not universally considered delusional. Praise God, Jesus, Allah, Shiva, et al.

IMG_3283
Sunrise

How many of us can say that we haven’t been deluded at some time or another?

The Sacred and the Ordinary

Mine

What of me is mine? This body flesh and all will be consumed by the earth

What of my soul? surely belongs to God and is not mine and never was.

My actions are derived from what’s there for me to do and what my wants include, from that I may be compensated to barter for shelter and sustenance.

My thoughts, too are formed from desires and needs.

Then the urge to share, through communication of my native language in written form, is a drive that I cannot take credit for.

An appetite for nutritious food for my soul, reading expertly expressed ideas and experiences, discoveries, conjectures, and conclusions. voice instead

The curious and miraculous rhythm of nature and all that I am able to grasp of that. Engaging in work and physical activity, for no reason than to experience that and do it well.

vilgilence
Consider the patience and vigilance until they find something to grab onto

None of it can I claim is mine or belonging to me. What of you is yours?

 

Perseverence

On we go to the next in my series. Sound principles to live by. At this point, I’ll recap from where I’ve delved in this honorable endeavor. SurrenderHonesty,  Hope- Great, so Now What? , FaithCourage, Integrity- How does that lead to Integrity? , Willingness , Humility- Right Sized , Brotherly Love- Love , Justice and now Perseverance. This is the result of working Step 10 Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

At this point, my first time through, it was very important to consciously take time at the end of my day to consider interactions with others and in situations. I had plenty of help from my sponsor and people I admire if I had questions. If I have to ask, then there certainly was something to set straight. Again there are no more I’m sorries. I faced up and admitted what the infraction was and offer to make it right.

wild purple
Wildflowers pop up in the most unexpected places…In the middle of someone’s lawn.

There is great power in admission. Or I should say I keep my power when I admit. I am reminded of what I like to refer to the Hippopotamus syndrome. If someone says something untrue about me like You’re a hippopotamus, I’ likely to laugh, but if something true is stated about me and I thought I was being sly and keeping it to myself. I will get angry and defensive. I will argue and give up my power in what ensues. So I tend to just admit it even if it is not true. I can never comprehend other’s perception. I try to understand what they see and say it.

wild yellow
More wildness

We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.” Alcoholics Anonymous. Doing this ongoing check is part of how I stay spiritually fit. There is much more to that in the next installment.

vilgilence
Consider the patience and vigilance until they find something to grab onto

Today, after 18 plus years I am much more sensitive and am quick to feel it when I wronged someone and done something I shouldn’t. I consider it miraculous.