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Jacob: Chapter 5.
I have spoken in the past about God, the universe, and where I believe we exist in the grand scheme of things. That a little portion of the universe is in us, and the universe is the heavens. And if both exist together as a whole, yet in two places at once, we are eternally connected to all that is, which brings us into unity with the universe.
The Universe (read:God) knows all, and sees all, and facilitates all. Before we even think a thought, or have a feeling, or speak a word, the universe, connected to us intimately from within, already knows what is in our hearts.
The Universe Always Conspires to Help Us.
Even if we don’t want that help, or know it is there for us, but I know today, that over time, the universe reveals to us, the wonders of life, creation and inspiration.
I had an enlightening conversation with my Elder friend Spencer last night. While in Montreal, on his mission, that ended last fall, Spencer realized a progression of coincidences began to happen, in rapid succession, over long periods of time.
But we know, there are no coincidences, only God. For those who believe in God.
We met on a Metro platform, and over the weeks, as we sat together and talked about God, Faith and Life, that coincidental progression began again.
We did not know one another, but as the days and weeks progressed, our conversations turned into serious topics. And as God is, made manifest to us.
Spencer was LIT with God. This young man, knew his book, knew his faith, and knew his God. He was a miraculous presence in my life. And subsequently, we are friends to this day.
It was serendipitous.
On our last meeting together, I handed Spencer my 14 year chip to take home with him. He carries it with him to this day. I gave him a mission to take home with him.
It was the best piece of advice he had been given while on his mission.
I asked him to purchase a journal, and begin documenting all the lessons he learned while he was here. He had journal-ed while he was here and he had certain dates of importance and certain stories recorded.
Events only, not what he learned, or how he felt, or how each situation made him feel.
It was only when he went home, with my direction to write, did he begin to learn the wisdom of his mission.
We have spoken here, at length, about being ON THE BEAM, when it comes to God and Spirituality. Spencer and I, are, On The Beam, together.
Returning home, he wrapped himself up in the transition of going home, beginning his university career, and over that first month, we had not reconnected yet.
He Fell Off The Beam, so to speak.
We had ventured up a mountain, saw and met God, and when we parted, we both came down from that mountain. Spencer into darkness, myself into unknowing.
We now know, that we have to carry that mountain within us, every day, to the best of our ability, some days are better than others. There is wisdom in that.
Spencer said that while he was off the beam and disconnected while we had not begun to talk again regularly, it was a very dark and disorienting time for him, one that he does not want to repeat.
Our subsequent re connection was the best antidote for the darkness that fell upon him.
We know this now, because hindsight is our best teacher.
Last night, Spencer mentioned God, and thus it went:
God did not just throw everything together in one fell swoop, and BANG, the Universe was created. No. God carefully selected and collected all the constituent parts together, very slowly and methodically. Every perfect piece that is everything, is gathered together, over long periods of time.
And then creation happens. God knows what he is doing, in the cosmic realm.
So it went with Spencer’s Mission, followed by our friendship.
In hindsight now, Spencer speaks of God, thus…
Over that two-year period, looking back now, through journals, thoughts, feelings, emotions, and effects, God sprinkled our paths with bread crumbs, puzzle pieces, so to speak.
Sometimes, we need distance between the past and the now, to see the wisdom of God, in the grand scheme of things.
These coincidences, or as the Big Book calls it, God Consciousness, are littered throughout Spencer’s Mission and my life. The past few months of his mission included meeting me and beginning our friendship.
There were many spiritual lessons to be learned by both of us, from one another. And as these coincidences began to unfold, it fueled our spiritual journey together.
Spencer knows now, the wisdom in his experiences, because he added experience, feelings and outcomes to those journal entries.
The DOT on the map, with one event, became a web of everything, that is still in motion to this day.
Over time, God reveals puzzle pieces to us, one at a time. And Not all at once.
Little by slowly, God reveals his plans and ministrations to us. It might not seem that way to many, who do not necessarily see things in Spiritual or Godly terms.
But we do. Because we have eyes to see and ears to hear and hands to work.
There is a tapestry that has unfolded for both Spencer and myself.
Every decision we make. Every person we meet. Every person we minister to, is on our path for a certain reason. We either have something to learn from them, and/or they have something to learn from us.
There are no coincidences, as to why Spencer was standing on that platform that afternoon, and we met, greeted and now we are here almost a year later.
God’s handy work, at revealing “Little Things” one at a time, takes time to reach the point where a partial picture, most of the picture, or the whole picture is revealed.
Both Spencer and myself know, today, the picture of his mission. In our discussions, we have greater understanding of those two years, now that we are removed from them.
And God had dropped puzzle pieces, one at a time for both of us.
Spencer was on his mission, and I was in my life.
It was on that Metro platform that God introduced us, for a specific reason.
Spencer to speak of God, and my needing some serious spiritual help at the time, because my life was in turmoil and had fallen apart. And Spencer was the spiritual glue that put everything back together, along with a few key people in my life.
The Vineyard …
In the book of Jacob, the master of the vineyard and his servants are caring for olive trees. Some had fallen fallow, some are doing better than others. And some are dying.
As the story unfolds, the trees that need help are rooted, dug out, watered, and cared for. In some of the trees, the dead branches are pruned, and in some trees, they graft wild branches into them to fortify and save the trees.
Over time, the wild branches take over the good tree, the roots are overcome, and the wild trees bear bad fruit. Unusable an unprofitable.
Over time, trees are moved from one location in the vineyard to others. Some to good soil, and some to not so good soil. The subsequent outcome is that some trees prosper and others do not.
And in the end the vineyard falls into disrepair and all the trees end up in fire.
The vineyard is lost.
What do we have ? Good trees, Bad Trees, Good Fruit and Bad Fruit and Wild Fruit.
Not all the fruit harvested is worth anything.
So it goes with people. People, like trees, and all living things, need nourishment, love and care. A vineyard can be small, or it can be huge.
In our lives, there are good trees and bad trees. Some trees take root and grow by the work of our hands and hearts, and some do not root, do not grow, and turn wild unto themselves.
Sometimes we have to prune our vineyards.
We are finite humans, with only so much capability of maintaining a vineyard.
Humans, cannot be all things to all people all at the same time.
Hindsight speaks once again…
Both Spencer and I were working in our respective vineyards, when we met.
I have shared with you, in the past, some of those encounters, after the fact, looking back on his mission. I also have hindsight into my own vineyard.
The pruning of my vineyard was beginning before we had met. As the trees that were wild, and the trees that we not growing accordingly, we pruned right out from under me, much to my dismay.
I had been in the middle of an emotional upheaval when Spencer came into my life, and the serious pruning had been done. Looking back, God, in His infinite wisdom, knew what He was doing. It is only now that we learn the how and the why…
Jacob Chapter 5.
In my work, I cannot be all things to all people, and I have only a certain amount of spiritual, mental and emotional energy to devote to my peers.
Some of my trees rotted out from under me. Some of my trees needed to be cut down and burned. And just a certain few of my trees still exist, are growing in good soil and are prospering.
My vineyard is much smaller today.
Those people who were not growing and sapping me of my good will and love, have been pruned away. Those people who remain in my vineyard are good trees who have grown up around me and they bear good fruit.
The Basis of Recovery is to have a spiritual experience, and for each of us, in our own ways, to expand our spiritual lives.
The basis of Mission is to meet people in the field. To bring them the Book, and walk them into a community of faith. The vineyard is full of different trees that respond each in their own ways, to our working in them.
Some trees took root, grew and prospered. Many did not.
Spencer came and planted me a tree. It has grown, prospered and bares good fruit.
Our relationship is the fruit that was bore, so many months ago.
Not everybody IN our lives, are meant to BE in our lives forever.
Some are meant to be there for just a season, others, may be around longer. It just depends on God’s plan.
The people meant to be in our lives, stay for one reason, because we invest in one another, to the degree that we thrive on each other’s presence.
The bane of recovery, not everyone who walks into our lives, will stay.
Some will take root, for a bit, hang on for dear life, and many will fall away, go fallow and end up in the fire.
Then there are those who will take root, grow, prosper and bear fruit. The odds are stacked against the many, but a handful succeed.
Knowing who to invest in, and why is the key.
Knowing when to prune our vineyards is key, also.
I thought that pruning my vineyard on my own was a bad decision, until I learned that I did not need permission to prune my vineyard.
In the end, God did the pruning for me.
Now I Know…
Spencer read me excerpts from Jacob chapter 5, last night. I read the chapter myself today, and the lesson about the vineyard was instructive and divinely appropriate for me right now.
I know that if I pray, and don’t get a direct prompt, then I have to go listen to my friends talk, and usually, an answer comes, if I have ears to hear it and eyes to see it.
Living On The Beam takes a lot of work, patience and commitment.
One either decides to invest in a Spiritual or Godly life, or you don’t.
Those who do invest, seem to take root and live much better lives.
Last night, I spoke to a friend about gratitude, after the meeting.
Our visitor was from out of the city, she was sober a while, and had a fresh new message we had never heard. The story about loosing everything, coming into recovery, and then getting most or all of it back, are few and far between.
Our woman last night had lost it all. And now 11 years later, she is eternally grateful for the rooms, and of us, who took care of her.
And a thought came to mind last night as we were walking home …
People who come from the First world have huge problems with gratitude. They don’t know the rest of the world from Adam.
People who come from the Third world, have much less a problem with gratitude than their peers. Because they know what going without means and feels like personally.
And so it went in my vineyard.
My First world trees fell fallow and ended up in the fire. My Third world trees all prospered and are doing better than the others.
Not sure where that thought came from, but it made clear sense to me as I shared the words with my friend.