For some reason, cancer, the dreaded C word, has been a part of my life for a very long time. My mother had it. My father had it. One of my best friends had it.
Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lenten season in the christian faith. During the 40 days ending on Easter Sunday, we are asked to reflect upon our relationship with God by fasting or sacrificing something important in our lives. In the past, I have chosen to give up food or drink I love and this year I am deleting social media from all my electronic devices. In addition, I am adding an act of service to my daily routine in the hopes of enhancing the life of someone in need who makes sacrifices every day.
Tonight at my bible study group, we were talking about worship. One of the qualities of worship that I identify with is an awareness of God's presence in my life. I started thinking about the way Jesus talks of the Kingdom of God as something we experience on earth, not just something known after our death. It feels like a parallel universe and we strive to be aware of it and live both at the same time.
On Sunday, September 27 the world experienced a total lunar eclipse and super moon, a natural phenomenon that will not occur again until 2033. When my children were young, I would keep them up past their bedtimes or wake them from a solemn sleep to witness various celestial events similar to the current lunar eclipse. I was thrilled that one of my four children remember these adventures from their childhood with affection. It was special to look up into the vast universe and witness these beautiful and mysterious occurrences with my children as we created educational and unique memories.
As I was driving home I noticed two signs posted on church announcement boards. They both got me thinking and feeling about the difference in comfort levels of their messages. Seemingly the same, they had a very different feel to each of them.
Come to me all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
- Mathew 11:28
The other read:
If you are in trouble, I will rescue you.
The following is my final entry in a series about the 12-step spiritual program of recovery.
Step 12: “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”
Step 12 is found in Chapter 7 (Working With Others), page 89 through page 103 of The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. “Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking (relapsing into addiction) as intensive work with other alcoholics (others with like addictions). This is our 12th suggestion: Carry this message to other alcoholics! You can help when no one else can. You can secure their confidence when others fail. Life will take on new meaning. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you – to have a host of friends – this is an experience you must not miss. We know you will not want to miss it. Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives.”
The following is my tenth entry in a series about the 12-step spiritual program of recovery.
Step 10: “Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.”
Step 10 is found in Chapter 6 (Into Action), page 84, third paragraph through page 85, third paragraph of The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. I will let the literature do most of the talking here. “Step 10 suggests we continue to take personal inventory and set right any new mistakes as we go along. We vigorously commenced this way of living as we cleaned up the past. We have entered the world of the Spirit. Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime. Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When they crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone… Love and tolerance of others is our code.
Carrying a basket of striped sock monkeys and assorted stuffed animals, I grab my tea and enter the casual lounge space. The three people wait as I then settle into my seat. We gather here because one woman dared to ask for help when experiencing personal despair. Specifically, she asked us to facilitate an intensive daylong inward journey.