Continuing in my perusal of "We Agnostics," Chapter 4 of the Big Book, I pause reading:
- We talked of intolerance, while we were intolerant ourselves.
- In the face of collapse and despair, in the face of the total failure of their human resources, they found that a new power, peace, happiness, and sense of direction flowed into them.
- ...they were making heavy going of life. Leaving aside the drink [food] question, they tell why living was so unsatisfactory.
- The Wright brothers' almost childish faith....
- Logic is great stuff. We like it. We still like it. It is not by chance we were given the power to reason, to examine the evidence of our senses, and to draw conclusions.
- Hence we are at pains to tell why we think our present faith is reasonable, why we think it more sane and logical to believe than not to believe, why we say our former thinking was soft and mushy when we threw up our hands in doubt and said, "We don't know."
- ...either God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is, or He isn't. What was our choice to be?
- We were grateful that Reason had brought us so far. But somehow, we couldn't quite step ashore. Perhaps we had been leaning too heavily on Reason that last mile and we did not like to lose our support.
- How much did these feelings, these loves, these worships, have to do with pure reason?
- What about people who proved that man could never fly?
Of course besides the classic passage of God is everything or nothing stands on the opposite page from a powerful paragraph as well, the bedevilments. And yes, I often pause there, and I go back and seek them out to show people, to compare with the powerful promises set out in the text on Step 9.
Crutches, both physical walking devises and symbolic ones, serve a valid purpose. A speaker can have excellent command of a topic, yet rely so heavily on notes nothing but the bare essentials is communicated, passing on none of the passion or interest of the subject matter. As long as we work on not being hurt again, we don't strengthen muscles and reach full recovery, instead leaning on a walking stick or holding an injured arm close. After surgery on my shoulder, the stretching exercises inflicted sheer agony, even when I used the other arm to raise the injured one with a pulley device. Yet by going through that and learning not just to do it with a the device but later by creeping up the wall with my fingers, I reached the point the shoulder is actually stronger than the never-injured one.
"If I turn it over to God, who's going to move my parents, who's going to clean the kitchen, who's going to comfort my child?" The idea our world cannot function absent our control is a crutch. Telling God what he needs to do to help us is a crutch. Asking him for specific outcomes is substituting our will for his, a crutch of holding onto the control. Maybe there's some faith there, but it's about as helpless as the hurt arm. Turning it over to God is tough, like the Wright brothers getting in a machine and trusting it to fly. People had proven that was impossible! Had somebody not trusted beyond the powers of reason, we'd all be earth-bound. Unless you become like a little child, you can't get there, you can't find serenity, you can't find wings to fly beyond your wildest dreams.
In early 1974 I turned in my resignation to a wise man. I hated to do it, didn't want to disappoint him. But I was going to get married and leave that city. He made the conversation easy. He told me the hardest part of his job was getting and keeping good staff, but that everybody moved on sometime, and the enterprise would go on with somebody filling my role.
Today's For Today reading hits the nail on the head, speaking of turning over the responsibility for tomorrow's outcome to our higher power. At an OA meeting Saturday a gentleman spoke of the wisdom of his seven-year-old daughter. "What you're worrying about probably isn't going to happen, so I choose not to worry about it." We still move our parents, clean the kitchen, parent our child--but God controls the outcome and we can trust him.
God doesn't need us at the helm. He really can steer the ship. And he does it infinitely better than any of us ever could. Let's let him.