Sunday, June 20, 2004

accepting hardship as a pathway to peace

hardship and peace in the same sentence? really? and i have to accept it?

accepting hardship is stupid, i'm smarter than that. i spent most of my life thinking that very thought. take the easy way out, instant gratification, no worries. but i was like the chronic careless driver who has a glove compartment filled with citations, speeding violations and parking tickets. problems? i don't see any problems...

the road i was on was paved with puffy clouds of denial cushioning every bump, medicated air bags keeping me from feeling any pain. hardship? i'm smarter than that. why should i feel those horrible emotions and fears when i can block them out or inhibriate myself into believing they don't exist?

hitting bottom is really the only way god ever really gets an addict's (my) attention. i was so out of touch and out of control that falling flat on my face was what i needed. the road to recovery is the pathway to peace. i would not be where i am now if i had not experienced the hardships i have endured.


when i was seven i 'accepted' jesus into my heart. i 'accepted' presents at birthdays and christmas. i even 'accepted' awards and diplomas. accepting hardship? yuck. no thank you. can you please tell me where the customer service department is? i'd like to return this hardship, it just doesn't seem to fit.

but 'in and through' is truly part of accepting the things i cannot change. my life is my own. it's been bumped and bruised, chipped and crazed, but it's MINE. no one can take that away from me. god doesn't waste anything.


into each life a little rain must fall... crap. greeting card crap. how 'bout typhoons and hurricaines? and mine is mild compared to some. each of us have our bumps and bruises, our difficulties and our hardship. owning it is truly the pathway to peace.


the most recent gift recovery and therapy has brought to me is a gentle path through the 12 steps by patrick cairns. this book is a blend of workbook and spiritual practices, reading and doing. it has been integral in my healing from both the abuse and the addictions.

i am on a path, today a bit farther along than yesterday. it is a path i choose - a path that is leading me toward peace, health and recovery. i can choose to go backward, or even convince myself that standing still is a pretty good option. that the woods ahead are dark and mysterious and filled with unknown spectres and fears. but standing still looks an awful lot like camping after awhile. pitching a tent and deciding that comfort and ease are a better alternative. 'look how far i've come, let me rest awhile' can soon turn into a village of squatters and we all know how difficult it is to actually get moving again.

and the problem with squatting is that you soon are surrounded by other squatters. people who are also filled with fear and are also afraid to move forward. it can get so bad that going backward looks even more attractive than hanging around with them. at least those people 'back there' seem to be having a lot more fun. and i'm not having any fun at all here on the path. standing still on the path is the most dangerous place i know.

i have to keep my destination in clear focus. it's only then that i can truly keep myself motivated and moving forward. i am always only one bite away from relapse. one of my favorite sayings 'guru jim' always said was that during abstinence or sobriety my addiction is doing push-ups. it's getting stronger and more brutal even during the time i'm not participating in it. relapse is a deadly dangerous place along the path. sometimes it's marked with cemetaries, prisons and psychiatric hospitals.


pray for peace. give peace a chance. peace at all costs. peace on earth goodwill to men. i know it smacks of a beauty pagent answer - but don't we all just want peace? peace in the world, peace in our hearts, peace in our homes. peace.

i was raised in a very conservative fundamental church. the one that invented dispensationalism. war was something that was biblical, necessary, it marked the coming end of all things and the great 'sweep' so i have grown up thinking that peace was almost a 4-letter word. really. war was good, it meant relevation was true, peace was for leftist hippies and amillenialists (both equally as bad). john lennon was a heretic and peace was for the millenial kingdom. i even remember hearing a sermon about the 'peace sign' being a broken cross and how it was evil and of the devil.

so finding a pathway to peace could only be some figurative, artsy fartsy method that was probably involved some 'new age' mumbo jumbo and it too was 'of the devil.' how good it feels to be free from that bondage. to know that the god in heaven doesn't need 'wars and rumors of wars' to bring the fulfillment of his will. i'm still finding my way on what i believe and where i stand to the end of time as we know it, i just know that today i can pray for peace and not be a heretic.

so, just for today i can accept the hardships i have endured, and face the ones yet to come knowing that they are truly heading toward the goal of peace. peace in my life, and in my home. and maybe one day our world. pray for peace.

No comments: