Jesus said to the woman at the well; 'Give me a drink'
-- John 4:10-26
A wise woman asked me today, “What is it about The Estuary that is so precious and so unique? What is it that so many different kinds of people come here to find?”
I hate that I feel irritated and notice that the pictures hang crooked in my office and in my home. I wait in line at the grocery feeling none of the “goodness” of buying organic foods that others seem to be secretly smiling about. I listen to a righteous diatribe about why “my smoking is not hurting anyone but myself” and I think of that person’s children, and parents, and spouse and friends.
I am judging, critical and negative.
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.
The following is my fourth entry in a series about the 12-step spiritual program of recovery.
Step 4: “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”
Step 4 is found in Chapter 5 (How It Works) page 63, last paragraph, through page 71 of The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. We are to take a personal inventory in order to “face, and be rid of, the things in ourselves which have been blocking us. Our addiction is but a symptom. We had to get down to causes and conditions”. Searching and fearless means thorough and honest. We cover our entire life, past and present, leaving nothing out, exhausting everything we can bring to consciousness. Having set a firm foundation in Step 3, we now have the courage and strength to look within and shine light on the true causes of our problems. What we discover we write down. We search through every emotional aspect of our lives, resentments (anger), shame/guilt (I am a bad person/what I did was bad), fear (stress, tension, anxiety, terror) and all of our life situations: relationships (sex/people/institutions), work/career (people and institutions), finances (beliefs and fear around money), spiritual (God/religion), health (physical/mental health problems). We look at our life events, real and imagined, how and why we were threatened by what we believed was happening, and how our actions and reactions created or contributed to the destructive outcome for ourselves and others.
Recently while watching the morning news, I heard a story about two climbers who ascended a vertical rock, the Dawn Wall on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. Known to be the one of the most difficult rocks to scale with few footholds and ropes being used only for when climbers fall, family, friends, and supporters from around the world watched and waited for 19 days as these men reached the half-mile summit. When interviewed about their experience, one of the climbers responses “I hope it inspires people to find their own Dawn Wall.”
The recent tornadoes in the Southeast remind me of my life. There have been some very dark days where everything got turned upside down. Times where I have lost a lot, if not practically everything. I have had to sort through the rubble. I have had to put the pieces back together. I have had to rebuild my life.