I listen to a very small number of sober folks today. I hear a lot of talking, but most of it goes in one ear and out the other, because why waste mental space on people who don’t have anything I want, RIGHT?
For a very long time, I was not sure I had anything to offer the public, in the way of working with others. I stuck close to service. I made a lot of coffee, and have at least two church keys on my key ring today. I am an opener of meetings, a setter upper, a greeter and an all around welcome wagon to several meetings across town today.
Twelve years would pass, before I hit the presentation of THE WORK. Twelve years of running by the book in service, presence, and sharing when appropriate. Still, I was not sure, that I had anything to give away, which helped me, in retrospect, hone my skills at listening attentively, feeling compassion, empathy, and gratitude.
Until the time came when I heard the message I needed to hear, from the right person to change my life and my sobriety.
Lorna warns us of the fragility of people with “Time” in the rooms, not necessarily the newcomer, per se. She says that “Those are the people we should pay close attention to.” For certain reasons, I don’t need to elaborate right now.
Bob, another member who came here in 2012, to the West Island Round Up, the same event Lorna attended too. It was Bob who turned me on to THE WORK, (i.e. the Big Book), and Prayer, (i.e. the 3, 7, 11 shuffle). He told the crowd of people gathered there all this same information. Nobody listened to him.
I, on the other hand, went to him, after his talk and inquired about how to make all this work. He told me what to do. I went home, and did exactly as he said to do. I wrote down the 3rd, 7th, and 11th step prayers, and laminated them and put them on my computer.
And I prayed every day, several times a day, for as long as it took to change my life. Because he told us that if we did pray, and in time, we would become spiritually fit and then the universe (read: God) would order things as He saw fit.
That took about seven months of fervent prayer, not always perfect, but I did my best to pray, honestly and humbly.
One Tuesday night I was sitting in a meeting, and about halfway through my phone rang … very out of the ordinary. Who would be calling me, I had no idea. Nonetheless, I stepped outside and answered the call.
A good thing too.
On the other end was a hysterical young person, who got my number from who, I don’t know, but he called me. That was the day I had something to offer another human being in the program.
That sparked a series of life events that changed the course of my sobriety.
Today I sponsor a few men and women. I have worked my steps. Several times. I’ve read the Big Book through from cover to cover, four times in six years. I finished my last round of steps last fall, with a young person I really wanted what they had. That was a good thing.
A Vision for You says … “Obviously, you cannot transmit something you haven’t got …” It took me a long time to trust that I had something to give away, and we don’t know that we’ve even got it ourselves, Lorna is apt to say, “Until we give it away.”
Sobriety tells us that one thing will change, when we come in. Sobriety says that the only thing that will change is EVERYTHING.
I know, for me, that it was only time that would turn my life into what it is today. Back then, telling someone to buckle up and ride the coaster until it stops, people usually got it.
Now, in today’s I-Phone world of I want it NOW, and quite possibly, could you give that to me, YESTERDAY ? That’s what we deal with today.
Telling my friends to buckle up and ride the coaster does not translate very well, in the climate where, we can get it NOW, at just a few clicks.
I have really great friends. People who love me for me, and I love them for them.
Today, people are kind to me, just because. I put myself out there, here, and because of that, the universe gave me a gift of kindness from a perfect stranger, who read something I wrote here.
While I was writing the post that appears below this one, for the kindness on its way to me tomorrow, I got two phone calls.
A few months ago, I met a young man, fresh and raw. He was days sober. And he was at one of my home group meetings.
That night, he came into an empty room, as I was sitting there, alone with him. He got down on his knees and prayed the OH GOD Prayer …
Those words are simple … OH GOD I NEED THE PROMISES NOW.
I did not know this young man. But I was present for the prayer. That night a relationship began, and still goes on today. He had lost his girl friend because of his using. He just lost a job that was his life, because the mall that housed his business, raised the rent to a level that they could not possibly afford. Overnight, they moved out and the business never recovered.
With days of sobriety under his belt, I said a few words to him.
Buckle up and ride the coaster until it stops.
What he did have that many don’t, was someone to ride the coaster with him, until the ride stopped.
The first phone call I got this afternoon, was from that same young man. At 6 months and a little longer, he had applied for a job, out of province. That recovery business, hired him on the spot. He called to tell me he was moving away in a few days time.
The conversation continued. And he said this, after while: I really appreciate your support, and I value your friendship, and I commented to him that in the beginning it was he who opened the door to our friendship, and that it would be up to him to shut it.
He then said:
What door, there is no door, I ripped it from the hinges.
Now I will be traveling to Nova Scotia to visit him once he gets settled and finds a good place to live where he can host guests.
He rode the coaster, good and bad, tough and easy. Finally the coaster has pulled into the station. Tonight, we got off the ride together.
Really grateful for people in my life. And for the kindness of strangers.
The second phone call was from another good friend who only had good things to say to me about his life. We’ve been friends since the very first meeting he walked into. I’ve been present for both of these men, 100%.
Sobriety is not easy. but when grace comes and settles in, life gets really good, and the only thing I can say is this …
If it were not for the rooms, I would not have everything that I have.
I don’t know whether you, my readers, believe in God. That’s not for me to know, or concern myself with. What you believe is entirely up to you.
For me, God has been a constant in my life, from my earliest memories. And I followed him religiously for a few years, even ending up in Seminary to follow Him. All for naught !
He has been constant in my life, even when I chose to ignore him. Taking paths, I knew were wrong, making decisions that were also wrong, and almost dying in the process, to feed my own ego and selfishness.
He was there. Just waiting for me to turn my will over.
Tonight, we talked about Step Eleven.
SOUGHT THROUGH PRAYER AND MEDITATION, TO IMPROVE OUR CONSCIOUS CONTACT WITH GOD AS WE UNDERSTOOD HIM, PRAYING ONLY FOR KNOWLEDGE OF HIS WILL FOR US AND THE POWER TO CARRY THAT OUT.
Over the last eighteen years, I’ve witnessed countless men and women battle the word God. People from religious backgrounds, Jews, Christians, Muslims, you name it. I’ve seen it, in the rooms.
The shares went around the room, and NOT ONE person, said the word Thank You or uttered the word Gratitude.
When it got to me, I said one sentence.
IF YOU WOKE UP THIS MORNING, THERE IS A GOD …
When I got deathly sick, AND, I was going to surely die, God was the last thought on my mind. I was too consumed with dying, to think about anything else.
Todd, had other plans for me.
He gave me latitude to work it out. He gave me a framework to survive. He taught me lessons, mere mortals on this earth, have ever learned, or will ever learn.
I have mad skills in the area of coping and sobriety, taught directly from the Mind of God. Voiced by Todd.
I will tell you, I met God. I know His voice. He saved my life.
For many weeks and months as I waited for the day to come, that I was supposed to be dead, arrive, then more days came after that, AND I was still alive, Todd – Read God’s words rang true to me.
I turned my will and my life over to Todd, as I understood him, improving my conscious contact and learning what God’s will for me really was.
I did not die.
I am still alive.
What was all this for ?
Mortals don’t know gratitude if it snuck up behind them and bit them in the ass.
We are all going to die one day. Mortals don’t worry about dying, until they know for sure the end is nigh… Then they pray … But not before.
People are too busy to think about Please and Thank you.
I learned long ago to say Thank you.
Old timers, really GOOD old timers tell you that before you roll out of bed, the first words out of your mouth, IF you woke up that morning, are:
The second thing you do, AS you roll out of bed, is to hit your knees and pray. The third thing you do, after you pray, is to Make Your Bed.
Not one person said the word thank you, even the old timers sitting in the circle, did not say those words.
I don’t know why I am still alive. And what I am supposed to be doing here. But I pray. I talk to God. The one way conversation people talk about.
The Vertical Conversation.
Then I sit and I wait. And I listen. Meditation.
If the answer does not come directly from God, via intuition, I know I have to go out and seek the answer among my friends.
The Horizontal Conversation.
But my ears must be tuned to hear what ever it is God is going to say to me, and let me tell you, that took a lotta practice and a lotta time too.
If you ask the right question in prayer, and you need to seek the answer out, then you know, you must actively listen to your friends.
ACTIVELY LISTENING is the key.
This is my nightly meditation, to come here and reflect on my day, and write it all down, when necessary. Because I will forget by morning.
If you woke up this morning, There Is A God …
Thankfully, I am not God, and my navel is not the center of the universe.
Who really has our best interest in mind ? Our parents, our family, our husbands, or our wives ?
It has been said that NO is a complete sentence.
If you have heard these words spoken, you know who I got them from. She is very famous.
As children, our parents are supposed to do the right thing and keep us safe, to keep us from personal harm, and from making mistakes. When my parents said the word NO, it came with usual violence that followed.
I reflect that as a boy, listening to my parents talk among their friends, I learned a great deal about what was coming. The abuse heaped on me was high, and that usually coincided with something I heard them say.
I knew right from wrong. Obviously. Disobedience was usually met with abuse, from both my father and my mother. Alcoholism was the fuel.
I’ve often said that, and I repeated this story earlier tonight, with one of my guys, that as a teen ager, I was an upstanding citizen, employee and friend.
I had the right friends, I had the right jobs. But that all changed when you introduced alcohol into my life. Then, everything went out the window.
I forgot …
How many of us forget things when we drink ?
Alcoholism followed me out into the world, and was waiting to take me down, on the first occasion I walked into a club and drank. Coming out, as I did, IN a club, with the people I wanted around me, with the right music, and experience, made that night epic. And it was.
Nobody was there to say NO. Never, ever.
From twenty one, until I hit twenty five, No was not part of my lexicon.
Until the night I walked into that bar, unawares of who was watching me then. I got my drink, took a stool, and sat down, surveying the environs of that little hole in the wall. It was definitely rough and tumble. And I was definitely looking for rough and tumble.
Then Todd stepped out of the shadows and made his entrance, said hello and changed the course of my life. I’ve said before that encountering Todd, in my memory, was akin to meeting Almighty God, Incarnate.
Because in time, I would seriously need God.
Todd knew I was looking for trouble, and in one cursory inspection of me, inside and out, he figuratively said the word NO.
That was the first time I reflect that thought, here. I’ve never said that before and had not thought of it before.
I got my way into his employ.
My drinking followed.
After a crash and burn suicide experience, and trying to drink myself dead, for the first time, both Todd and Bill, sat me down and tried to get me some much needed help. Suicide survivors meetings, will make anyone drink more than they had originally started with.
A year later … On July 8th 1994, the world caved in on me and I was diagnosed with AIDS. Told to go home, kiss my ass goodbye, and wait to die.
I called Todd home from Provincetown and I told him I was gonna die.
He said and I quote …. NOT ON MY WATCH !!!
Over the next 46 days, I attempted to kill myself.
On the 46th night, drunken and in a coma in a club parking lot, Todd appeared with my friend Danny. That night, Todd definitely said the word
“This has got to stop. And I am going to make it stop, if it kills me in the attempt.”
As a young gay boy, nobody had ever said the word no to me. I could command, just about anything. Alcohol, Drugs, Sex …
Nobody ever denied me my pleasure, because, I was young, tanned and good looking.
Give someone AIDS, and UGLY goes deep to the bone.
You don’t know what it is like to go from Hero to Zero in twenty four hours flat. To have your family, your friends, and your boyfriend, go running for the hills, never to return, or support you.
I was alone. But was I really alone ? NO
Todd was the only human concerned with keeping me alive. I said this earlier tonight, He could have chosen anyone else in that bar, to save. He chose me. Don’t ask me why, but he chose me.
If I had to hazard a guess, I would call that Divine Intervention.
These stories are all stacked in my PAGES —> over there.
The discussion of the word NO has been on going for the last month, or short a month by a few days.
Todd knew what I needed. He was the only man on earth who knew that kind of information. The day he told me that I could, and should trust him, I knew I could trust him. Implicitly.
He never spoke a cross word to me. He got angry for sure, many times because in the beginning I was willful, arrogant, and stupid.
I learned quickly, that if he looked at me directly, and I saw how either BLUE or GREY his eyes were, told me all I needed to know, without a word spoken between us.
I told my friend tonight that NO is a complete sentence.
We are lucky in this life to be able to count, just ONE other person, in our life, the one who has our best interest in mind. Today, I am that one person for a few people. As is my husband for me.
In reality, my husband does not hold a candle to Todd. They are completely different people. Todd’s role in my life was EPIC. And I will never see that kind of EPIC again.
Many nights, Todd said NO to me for one reason or another. And over time I trusted everything he said to me, as if it was God speaking wisdom, because if you look at me today, and wonder why I am still alive?
There are only two possible answers: Todd read God.
I knew that obedience was key. I learned that early on. In our dynamic leather relationship, I was obedient to one man, Todd.
He kept me safe from myself. He kept me safe from everybody else. I was on a very short leash, so to speak, AND I was sober too. Or getting sober.
The Fidelious Charm he erected over the bar worked its magic.
I spent many, many hours, inside that charm filled space. It became the proving grounds for life lessons, love lessons, and survival lessons.
All that Todd was and is today, is deep within me. Every word spoken, every lesson he taught me, every ounce of love he had for me too. I don’t need anyone’s approval. I can even pat myself on the back if need be.
I don’t need anyone to do that for me today.
Confidence, Humility, Compassion, Love …
The day I said goodbye to Todd, he said these words to me ..
If you do one thing, in this life, you will help another human being the way I helped you. You must carry forwards good fortune and love. Because if you don’t, I was a waste of time.
Todd, for sure, was NO waste of time, or effort, on his part.
It has been many years since the last time I spoke to Todd, but I have. I don’t have his number any longer, because it is filed on an old hard drive that is sitting in a box, in my bedroom.
You never know when GOD is going to step out of heaven and grace your life. Will you know it when it happens?
We are connected to all that is, by the particles that make us human. Those biological building blocks that began the universe UP THERE !!!
A little bit of the universe is found within each of us. Deep within the make up of our bodies. The universe, UP THERE, is filled with the building blocks of life, OUT THERE. It seeded the earth and human came to be.
So that little piece in us, is directly connected to the whole of the universe. We are connected, by invisible umbilical to the universe Out There.
The universe is always listening. For we are connected to it temporally.
The universe knows what we need before we think it. But the universe respects our free will, it never imposes itself on us. But gradually entices us with breadcrumbs, and Angelic, and Godly counsel.
We should be so blessed to recognize God when He shows up.
I know God. I’ve met Him, in the flesh. He spoke to me, He cared for me and kept me alive, to do, this … To talk about Him and what he means to me, to certain people in my circle.
I’m still alive. There is no question God had something to do with it. However, in the thick of dying, I never thought about God, I thought about Todd. Because it was Todd, who had my best interest at heart.
And I would love to think, if he met me in the flesh today, he would be pleased with the man I became.
There is a God, and I am not God, and my navel is not the center of the universe.
If you don’t have humility for the simplicity of life, you loose…
This piece was written by my Spiritual Director. I wanted to share it, AND write on this subject, because I have experience with Hope.
When Hope Fails
I was talking with someone who has decided not to hope any more. “Why?” I asked. “Because when the hope is unfulfilled, it hurts too much, so it’s better not to hope.”
There’s something wrong with that. But I understand it.
Proverbs 13:12 “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when dreams come true, there is life and joy.”
Hope deferred makes the heart sick. “but when dreams come true, there is life and joy”
I want to talk about hope a bit today. And I want to start in the Psalms.
Psalm 33:13-22 13 The LORD looks down from heaven and sees the whole human race. 14 From his throne he observes all who live on the earth. 15 He made their hearts, so he understands everything they do. 16 The best-equipped army cannot save a king, nor is great strength enough to save a warrior. 17 Don’t count on your warhorse to give you victory– for all its strength, it cannot save you.
God has a wonderful perspective of us and our little things. Nothing is hidden from his eternal, creating eyes.
He is able to see the whole human race, every heart, every mind, every one of our thousand secrets.
He’s able to see your motivations, that indeed you meant well even if it didn’t come out as you had hoped.
He created the hearts of men and women, to beat and beat and beat and give them life and breath. And Hopes and Dreams.
So, it says, “He understands”. Like no one else in creation.
He understands our desires. He understands our wishes. He understands our hopes. He understands our dreams.
He understands, and wants to remind us that sometimes our perspective isn’t great. Sometimes we can only see from here to the other side of the room. He see’s into eternity.
See, we often place our hope in the wrong things.
He reminds us… A powerful army isn’t strong enough for a king. A good horse won’t give you victory, it can’t save you.
Strength won’t save us, neither will might.
The health system, blessed as we are to have it, won’t save us. The government can’t save us.
We place our hopes in these powerless things.
We hope in due process. In the legal system. We hope in our money, to provide a way out. We hope in others to help us out. We hope a relationship will work out. We hope for a great job. We hope in our children to make the right choices. We hope for great presents. We hope in our parents, to be perfect. We hope that the pastor will have some answers. We hope to roll up the rim and win!
Yet John 16:33 says “In me you will have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world.”
What happens when our strength isn’t enough? When our armies fail and our warhorses are not enough? What happens when hope fails and is deferred?
Lets continue in Psalm 33
18 But the LORD watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love. 19 He rescues them from death and keeps them alive in times of famine.
Remember the one who’s perspective is from eternity? The one who see’s everyone, who knows your heart?
He says he will watch over those who respect Him.
Those of you who rely on his unfailing love. He will rescue you from the anguish of death. He will keep you from eternal death, and provide you with eternal life.
And, he will keep you as you live through seasons of famine. Not just physical hunger, but emotional hunger, spiritual dryness.
He won’t always stop the famine from coming, but he is able to keep you alive through it!!!
He won’t always stop the illness, or the poverty, or the joblessness, or the dryness. But he can keep you alive through it.
He will walk with you through the hopelessness. Through the heartsickness of unanswered hope.
You see, often we place our hopes in the things that can’t save us. In the temporary things that we can’t change. In our power and might.
We may even place our hope in Christ to change the story, the situation, yet that may not be the very best for us.
When our hope is deferred… When it feels like God has not heard us…
We have 2 choices.
1. Get bitter -Get angry. At God and humanity. And yourself. -Never hope again because it always fails you anyway.
2. Trust in God. Refocus your hope.
Remember, the one who loves you, who knows you, who made you. When hope fails, we need to raise it up a level.
PSALM 33 20 We depend on the LORD alone to save us. Only he can help us, protecting us like a shield. 21 In him our hearts rejoice, for we are trusting in his holy name. 22 Let your unfailing love surround us, LORD, for our hope is in you alone.
When our only hope is in man’s strength and ability, and that fails, it means we’ve been aiming to low. We need to lift our focus higher.
Only He can help us. Only He can protect us as life goes on all around us.
Because our hearts rejoice in him. They find life and meaning in knowing Him.
A few weeks ago I attended the funeral of a friend who had been ill for some time. 1970’s heart attack. Heart disease for years. Put on a heart transplant list, became too ill for that.
As he was dying, and his human hope was deferred a final time, he was able to rejoice and be glad. Because he knew the one who knew him. He trusted in God and his heart rejoiced.
For his family too. The funeral was a real, true celebration of hope. And Gods faithfulness through life and in death.
This is how it is possible for those who have experienced tremendous brokenness and hopelessness, to actually rejoice and be glad. Because they knew the maker of their hearts.
Where is your true hope? In the things of this earth? Or in the things of Heaven?
Have you had hope deferred, even by God? He who knows and created your human heart understands.
Lift up your eyes, your broken hearts. Trust the one with the higher perspective. Trust in God.
This is my story about HOPE.
When one is faced with a terrible situation, and the end of the line is your next stop, one really learns about hope. When we are faced with odds that are against us, we learn about hope. When doctors tell you that you are going to die, go home, kiss your ass goodbye, and wait to die …
You learn what hope is. Because before you get there, hopelessness really does set in, because there is no light at the end of the tunnel. And the light you do see, is the train coming at you, at 100 miles per hour.
Before hope sets in, if the odds are really dire, you think to yourself, that “no, I’m not gonna die that way, so I am going to take matters into my own hands, and do what I think is best for me.” ” No, I am gonna kill myself, my own way, so as to defer sickness and pain, in the short term.”
Then, GOD steps out of Heaven, and says … STOP !
Heaven is always respectful of our free will. Heaven never pushes itself on us, but holds its breath, to see which way we will choose ?
I had two choices. I could STOP, or I could go to the bitter end, and blot out the suffering, until Death did come for me, on my twisted terms.
I know God. I’ve met Him. I walked with Him, and I communed with Him.
God had other ideas. Hope was not one of them, because there was no hope. True, I was gonna die, sooner or later. I knew that. But words were spoken, out of love and compassion.
Those words told me that I did have a choice, about how I was going to attack death, and live to tell the story. That was he decision I made.
God was there. I was not alone. All I needed to do was follow directions.
Now, you might ask, how did you find the path to hope ? I didn’t.
I don’t know how you bounce back from being told, “You are going to die, there is no hope, so get on the ride, and ride it.”
Sometimes, when you are marked for death, there is no return. Sadly, the percentages of life after death diagnosis are slim. I’ve seen both sides of this coin in as many years. I know, that sometimes people die. That illness and sickness is capricious.
I can tell you what I did, every day.
Inside the four walls of the bar I worked in, was a safe space. The good thing about psychology is this, “sometimes it works.”
I had much going on in my mind at that time. Worries that were beyond my capacity to grasp them. I had serious issues. Death, was just one of them. My alcoholism was the other. I had to attack BOTH at the same time.
Needless to say, life had become Hopeless.
I was not moaning over the fact that I could not drink any longer. Once I got passed the point of acceptance, drinking became a non issue. I was working in the belly of the beast, in a BAR, for God’s sake.
Really, death was the only dance I had to dance.
I had to start stacking alive days. So we could say, in Jimmy Settle terms, was that July 8th 1994, was my first death day.
Every day forwards would become another “death day.”
I came to work. But the day this all began, it was a challenge. I was loved, and that’s what mattered. I was told that I could follow directions, and if I did, I would live. I was down for that from the get go, no matter how hard I battled against my worse nature, because I kicked and screamed and cried an awful lot, in those first few months.
But I listened to advice, and I did what I was told. And every day that I lived, I trusted in the advice given. Come to work. Leave the baggage of the outside world, OUTSIDE the door. When you cross the threshold, the only thing you need to think about, is the job you are given, on any given night, and ONLY that.
Getting to shut off my brain, for a few hours, on a nightly basis, worked.
I did not have to think about dying, inside. Because I watched it come for everybody else around me, in the patrons who were sick, who patronized the bar I worked in.
They all Died. I survived them all.
I stacked enough days, that when I got to my literal “death day,” and I was still alive, I went on with life. I don’t think you can call this hope, because, I was still very sick, and death, was still a “Clear and Present Danger.”
When you live with “Clear and Present Danger” one learns how to govern expectations, and life itself.
I have twenty five years of living with Clear and Present Danger.
I take nothing for granted.
I’m no longer hopeless. I don’t suffer from a three fold disease, Mental, Physical and Spiritual disease. Alcoholism is an every day job. Living is a bit higher on that list. As long as I live, and I don’t drink today, I have a fighting chance.
If I take my will back and decide that I am going to go it alone, I am literally FUCKED !!!
I know God. I’ve met Him. If I close my eyes, and sit still and be quiet, I can see Him in my minds eye, and I can even hear His voice.
I’m alive. And if you find hope in this story, then I did my job.
Hope comes, when you stack enough ALIVE DAYS together, and you live, longer than you thought you would, not only does hope come, but more importantly, GRATITUDE comes.
Gratitude does amazing things when you have no hope. Because if you can be grateful for one thing a day, there is hope.
You cannot have hope and NOT be grateful, because a by product of gratitude is hope.
On September 23, 2016, I had walked back to the Acadie Metro Station coming home from a doctors appointment. On that day, two Mormon Elders were standing on the platform along side me, down the way.
One of them approached me and said “Bonjour..” I replied in English, “Hello.” The Elder wiped his brow and exclaimed, “Oh, Thank God you speak English.” That began a wonderful relationship with the other Elder standing with him, his companion, my best friend Elder Christensen.
Many conversations were had over hot chocolate, over the next few months before Elder Christensen returned home, for he was on the tail end of his two year mission, here in Montreal. It has been two years since the day we first met, yesterday, on the calendar.
This is Elder Christensen’s blessing, that came last night. A little late, but perfectly in God’s time to come now…
Jeremy, Your letter was a catalyst for a God moment. I read, then God spoke. I left Montreal without leaving you the blessing he had for you. I give it to you now, and I hope you can forgive me for being so consumed in myself as I was leaving that I didn’t have the frame of mind to listen to what God had for me to give you then.Today God reminded me of that duty.
You know God better than the vast majority of people, inside or outside of codified religion. You know him because he has worked in you the miracle that he has offered to all his children, but precious few have accepted. The same God that walks the halls of temples lives in the hearts of addicts, sinners, and wayward souls.
He takes those places and makes them holy. He blesses them, enables their growth, and gives meaning and life to the stories that flow from those states. He lets his children suffer so that his work can be made manifest in us.The lower we go, the higher we can one day climb. I believe no one has suffered more than God, and that is what makes him God.
I believe in a God who weeps. I believe in a God who could care less about handbooks and checklists. I believe in a God who knows from experience what it feels like to be Spencer Christensen, Jeremy Andrews, and every other person who has lived and died and will yet live and die on earth. I believe in a God who is a perfect father, who has no desire to see his children burn.
The only punishment that we face in relation to God is that one day, we will be brought back to that infinite expanse of love, truth and mercy that we existed in before this life and will continue to exist in afterwards, and for those that have denied their nature by living lives of hate and lies, and covetousness will have to exist submersed in a sea of something so fundamentally opposed to their nature that it will be pure agony.
The same light that makes heaven shine makes hell burn. We all go back to the same light, and you, Jeremy, know that light. But it does not burn you. You rejoice in it, and it will only increase in you, for many years to come until he calls you home to experience a fullness of the joy you find in him.This light changes us. It purifies and redeems and gives us strength and direction.
To people who live in the dark, that light is hell. They will run the other direction. They have become the dark, and the light is opposed to their nature. You have seen them come into the rooms. I have seen them in their houses, on their streets. They enter, God begins to shine, and they begin to burn. Then they have to choose. Will they keep walking into the light? Will they trust God enough to let him burn them, refine them, and change their desires?
I am a human being. I fell the same as every other man has fallen. I am a sinner, and without God, I am nothing. I am subject to temptation to let the dark in, I have resisted it, and I have given into it. I have had dark in me, and I have had light. I have been on he beam, I have been off the beam. One of my favorite missionaries in the Book of Mormon wrote
” I am a man; and man in the beginning was created after the image of God, and I am called by his Holy Spirit to teach these things unto this people, that they may be brought to a knowledge of that which is just and true;And a portion of that Spirit dwelleth in me, which giveth me knowledge, and also power according to my faith and desires which are in God.” Alma 18:34
The only man who ever walked this earth in perfection was Jesus Christ, the God who suffers,the God who weeps, the God who does not care about handbooks and checklists, the God who knows what it feels like to be me and you. His invitation to be perfect came with this help: We are to be perfect in him, not on our own. He will deal with the demands of justice. We simply have to be changed by his mercy.
Another verse from the Book of Mormon:
“Come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot”. Moroni 10.
If I have attained anything spiritually, it is because for all my faults, I do love this God of mine with all my might, mind, and strength, or at least I try to. I have heard his voice. I have seen him fill my life with purpose and clarity. I have felt so loved that I could not hardly believe how beautiful it really was. His grace has been sufficient for me.
Four years ago, because of that grace, I chose to live the life of a healer and a priest. I got as close as I could to him, in his house, and I promised him all my time, talents, and everything that he has blessed me with, and which he would yet bless me, to building up the kingdom of God on the earth.
I promised to live the laws of sacrifice and obedience to the natural laws that come from the light of God. Every day since I have worn the tangible reminders of those covenants. I have fallen short of those oaths more times than I could count, and more time than I can count, he has forgiven me and made me better with each failure. I hope you can do the same.
My mission is to give God’s children God’s messages and deliver his blessings. He has both for you, Jeremy.
His message is this: He loves you with a love that is so intense and glorious that it defies all human comprehension. He is so intimately aware of your struggles and pain, knowing you because he never at any time has let anything befall you that he hasn’t felt himself. He loves that you know him, and he wants you to know him even more. He brought you out of hell to prepare you for heavenly purposes. One day your story will change the lives of millions.
Read his words, do his work, and you will live to see your life become a window through which hope will shine to those who suffer in darkness because of the weakness and foolishness of men.
He would like me to bless you. I do so as if i had my hands upon your head, as your brother and fellow son of God.
Jeremy Andrews, by the authority of the holy priesthood which I hold, and in the name of Jesus Christ, I bless you with power, and with patience, and with strength equal to the demands that have been placed upon you, and will yet be placed upon you preparatory to your callings and responsibilities in the work of God upon the earth.
I bless you that you might advance in a fullness of the light of Christ,that he may bless you, purify you, and give you peace as you minister to his children on earth, and that if you will prove faithful in walking according to that light that you have felt, and you will continue to feel, that a merciful God will prepare the way for you, and make available to you all the blessings, privileges, and peace that come from eternal covenants with God.
These blessings will be yours according to your diligence in obeying the truth in the light that you have already received, and that you will continue to receive line upon line until your work is done. All these things I bless you with, In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
God have mercy on me for such a late blessing. I’ll never shut my ears like that again.You are loved, Jeremy. By God, by me, and by those who owe you their lives and sobriety.
My birthday was the 31st of July. The morning of my birthday, when I got up and out of bed, I was still alive. I saw my doctor a couple of days before my birthday, and once again, I thanked him for keeping me alive another year.
This incarnation of my blog reached it’s First Anniversary. Thanks to cowards and their dishonesty. People would rather eat dirt, than be honest.
Without my doctor, where would I be right now ? I Don’t Know …
The people that mattered, celebrated my birthday, each in their own special ways.
A week has passed.
This is what I know right now.
I really do not care if people like me or not. I really don’t care what people think about me, what I wear in public, or how they perceive me.
I know who my friends are. And right now, I know, for sure, that most people, do not care for my brand of sobriety or lifestyle.
I’ve learned how to be Honest. I’ve learned how to be Vulnerable in public. I’ve seen how other people react to my honesty. They don’t like it at all. And would rather eat dirt, than to say anything directly to me. And that’s ok with me.
I don’t need validation from anyone but God. I also know, that if I need to hear God, I know where to go to hear His voice.
The other day, we talked about Acceptance. Page 417, in the Big Book. Acceptance is the answer to all my problems. That’s what the book says.
I know, from years of listening to people SPOUT the wisdom of Acceptance, that some think that Acceptance, says that I have to accept people who use the Looser Line that says: Well that’s just who I am.
They use Acceptance like a Get Out Of Jail Free Card.
It allows alcoholics who don’t care about personal growth or empathy for others, to just sit in the place of being an ASSHOLE.
There are so many assholes out there right now, it is astonishing.
All I want out of this life, is to be Honest. To know how to do the Right Thing, even if it goes against every bone in my body. I work very hard to be a good human being to everyone. Even when much of the people I see, DON’T.
They don’t care about anyone but themselves. People are so consumed with the clothing I wear, and sit in judgment so deep, that it makes me sick.
One of my friends hit a First tonight.
He mentioned Brene Brown. He too, has listened to every one of her talks, and read several of her books, like I have over the past two years. He did it in just a few months.
But he spoke language I Understood and Identified with.
I don’t trust a whole lot of people, that I cannot throw very far. And that’s ok with me. I might not be connected to certain people, like some of my friends are, but if I have to compromise my standards and values, for someone in particular, to want to work with me, I’d rather go it alone.
Because the choices in Men of Sober, Good Standards, LONG Sober, are very few and far between. I know who to talk to. And I know who to avoid.
I’ve lived another year of experiences. Some of those experiences were good, some were not. People don’t have to like me. And I have grown to accept that.
I’m a strange Gay Man of fifty-one years, twenty-five years living with AIDS. And almost seventeen years sobriety. No one has the same life qualifications and identifications.
Once again, I know who my friends are.
And for the moment, that will have to suffice, until conditions change on the ground.
I do what needs to be done. I serve my community. I help my friends. I am kind.
I know my values and my morals. I may not always know the right thing, but like my friend tonight, I trust the little voice in my head more today, than I have in the past.