Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Powerful Cement

Hebrews 2:11

Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. (NIV)

“We are like the passengers of a great liner the moment after rescue from shipwreck when camaraderie, joyousness and democracy pervade the vessel from steerage to Captain’s table. Unlike the feelings of the ship’s passengers, however, our joy in escape from disaster does not subside as we go our individual ways. The feeling of having shared in a common peril is one element in the powerful cement which binds us.” (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 17)

Powerful cement,
brothers bound,
family forged,
made holy –
outside in, inside out –
holiness from horrible,
friends and family from
fiends and foes.
Peril perishes,
a coterie congeals.
Unashamed of ghastly pasts
we revel in wretchedness
made powerful cement.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE,
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica.
Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I'm not going to be a missionary.

Actually, that's a decision I made a long time ago. May, 1968, to be precise. So, why's it here? As a metaphor. When I was nine, I heard a blond-haired man - Swedish, I think - who was a missionary to Africa, in Texas raising money for the cause. At that point I decided that's what I would be, and I announced it in that church, then continued after we moved and told the people there I intended to -- not just once, but throughout my growing-up years. The other decision, Dead Week the spring semester of my junior year in college, was tougher, not because I didn't know that's not what I wanted to do with my life and that I wasn't "called" to do it, but because of the statements I thought everybody in my hometown counted on. But that wasn't sufficient justification, and I made the decision. When the folks back home found out a year later I had a teaching job, many of the people I thought would be disappointed told me they'd always known I would be a teacher. (That was the only year I taught.)

I hate disappointing people. I'm a people-pleaser by nature and will continue doing what I'm doing long past any benefit to me, even in a situation detrimental to me, if I think you benefit by the act. Well, I'm not going to be a missionary any longer. I wrote Slender Steps to Sanity and I was honest in it that I was new to recovery. But I got it. I loved it. And I wanted to share it. Then, when recovery got tougher, when I struggled with abstinence, with holding on to the gains I'd made, I couldn't say so. What would that do to those who found the book helpful? The answer? Nothing. The book is the book, and I'm me. It still has value. And me? I've got four days of abstinence in the last abstinence of my life, the one that's going to last until I'm a hundred and ten. Better make that 120, just to make sure.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Festering Gunk

Hebrews 2:10

God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation. (NLT)

“Then he will know loneliness such as few do. He will be at the jumping-off place. He will wish for the end.

“We have shown how we got out from under…. Life will mean something at last. The most satisfactory years of your existence lie ahead.” (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 152

Scraping barrel bottom –
garners festering gunk,
escapes ego’s inflation,
leads to U-turn
toward better, higher, desirable.
Scraping barrel bottom –
qualifies as expert,
slants insight to identify
with other barrel scrapers
long after barrel’s left behind.
My hand to yours, misery shared,
hope handed down to hopeless,
my barrel-bottom recovery
proof abrasive annihilation
isn’t necessary, isn’t inevitable.
I put my hand in yours – from the bottom
or the top – means I’ll never
barrel-bottom scrape

God, I thought you’d left, deserted me,
cruel, heartless – until I found
how much despair
presages ecstasy.

Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible,
New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004.
Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.,
Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Following the Leader

Hebrews 2:9

What we do see is Jesus, who was given a position “a little lower than the angels”; and because he suffered death for us, he is now “crowned with glory and honor.” Yes, by God’s grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone. (NLT)

“…fellows of Alcoholics Anonymous. Among them you will make lifelong friends. You will be bound to them with new and wonderful ties, for you will escape disaster together and you will commence shoulder to shoulder your common journey. Then you will know what it means to give of yourself that others may survive and rediscover life. You will learn the full meaning of ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself.’” (Alcoholics Anonymous, pages 152-153)

Others walk first,
before, some still walking
others moved on,
crowned with glory,
Some walk with us,
share the pain,
speak some truth
just what we need here,
Others follow where we lead
even when we feel we’re bumbling,
stumbling, needing leading,
but we lead
hopefully in the right

Thanks, God, for the folks around,
for choosing the right ones
to lead us, to walk with us,
and to teach us with our own
words when they seek our

Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible,
New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004.
Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.,
Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved

Saturday, June 5, 2010

No laurels to rest upon

Hebrews 2:8

Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. (KJV)

“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.” (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 84)

The steps worked,
Recovered. But still
a work in progress.
Contingent on staying the course
today each day.

God, relieve me of my pride
in accomplishment, in recovery.
Thanks for what has come,
keep me aware you’re willing for more.