This visual of the “Jam Jar” came up in our Elder discussion tonight.
My Elder friend works at the Missionary Training Center in Provo Utah. As a leader, it is his job to bring new missionaries into service. And hopefully before they depart Provo, they will have a basic understanding about what they need to have within, a foundation in service, to be able to give, and a working knowledge about The Book, they need to share.
Ministry and Sobriety are very similar.
In my life, and in my experience, service is the foundation for survival. When I was very ill, and Todd was taking care of me, the “doing” of service was the tool or lesson, so to speak, was where we began.
In Sobriety, this time around, way back when, people in the rooms, basically said, “You will do this, and learn to love it.” It wasn’t a suggestion, it was Gospel. Service was the beginning of getting sober. And service is something I live by, to this day.
Today’s generation cannot be bothered when you tell them what to do, because they look at you and say to your face … “You’ve got to be kidding, You can’t be serious, Why do I have to get my hands dirty, to stay clean and sober ???”
People don’t want to be told what to do, but in reality, this is what you NEED to do. It will keep you humble and focused on doing for others, just because, because this is what I did, and it worked for me.
People today, don’t have respect for long term experience. They cannot wrap their heads around it, service. Like us, Young Missionaries who come to the center, need to know how to serve and get their hands dirty in the classroom, because when they get into the field, they might need to get dirty, or wash dishes, or rake leaves, or something like that.
And if they are not prepared to give FIRST, they surely won’t be able to share the book, well, or at all, because they won’t have foundational abilities to give.
Having Elder Christensen in my life today is SO important to my spiritual growth. I have spiritual teachers in my life, spread all over the word, that I speak to regularly, who keep me on the spiritual beam, so to speak.
So here is my jam jar, filled with every little lesson I can teach you. Take that lesson filled jam jar home with you, open it and begin to use the tools within.
In the beginning, all we want you to do is serve others.
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Tonight we heard a woman from our community speak. What she shared, struck me familiar, because I had heard some of her story in others, in the past. Familiar themes exist in a community, and you hear of them every once in a while, they are not constant.
After several stops and starts, our woman makes her first pass at the rooms. She reaches her year and her husband says to her, after all that work that …
“You did a good job this year, getting and staying sober. Now you are CURED, you don’t need THOSE PEOPLE any more.”
What does she do? She walks away, and never returns. But she does stay sober for SIXTEEN YEARS.
She gets a real estate job, and she wants a particular listing. She takes this client out for dinner and a local ritzy restaurant in Westmount, very close to home. The waiter walks up to the table and the client orders a glass of wine.
Our long sober woman, takes a five second pause, while she considers ordering a glass of wine for herself. Those Five Seconds, change her life. She does indeed say to herself that, wow, I’ve been sober all this while and I haven’t had a drink, a glass of wine, how much harm can that cause ?
She orders a glass of wine and then has a second.
In six weeks time, from that point, she looses her marriage, her children, her job, and those clients she covets.
Four years of in and out begin.
Women suffer too …
By this time, almost twenty years have passed and she has not logged another long sober period, until she has a blackout and comes to, in her living room, surrounded by 20 wine bottles, laying on her living room floor.
She makes the call, and tries to find herself in a ritzy, spa, rehab. She does not.
There is a rehab here called Toxico Stop. It is rough and tumble. Not the kind of place a ritzy Westmount wife would find herself in. But that’s where she ends up.
A few of us in the room tonight were familiar with it, so it made us all giggle …
She meets some serious drug addicts and learns about heroine, and crack and all kinds of sordid addictions. All this is unfamiliar territory for her.
Three weeks later she comes out and finds herself at a meeting, and at the door, are two women, who knew her from almost twenty years ago. They recognize her and they take her in.
They give her the ground rules.
- You’re gonna go to these meetings,
- you are gonna do service,
- and your gonna READ the BOOK.
- These are non-negotiable.
It was like that for me too, fifteen years and six months ago as well.
Drunks and Addicts today, don’t want non-negotiables. They don’t want rules. And they sure as shit, don’t want to be told what to do. Because let’s face it …
It’s us who are crazy, not them. I would never listen to your suggestions, firstly, because this is the way ( I ) am going to get sober. They say …
The above notes experiences, I have heard them all before, never all together, but as bits and pieces of several story tellers.
Our woman is sober today. By the Grace of God.
She’s not so focused on old timers, but finds joy and humility is working with New Comers. Because they have the most to teach us about ourselves and our sobriety.
I know what I have to do now. I know who I want to be. I want to be like my Elder friend Spencer. And in order to be like him, I have to act, every day, LIKE HIM, and in that be LIKE Heavenly Father.
True to God and True to myself and my Fellows.
This is where it begins, and will follow.