“There are two kinds of people, those who say to God. “Thy Will be Done,” and those whom God says, “OK then, have it your way.” C. S. Lewis
All Roads Lead to God
Walking my dogs this morning I realized, as I looked around me while at the same time, feeling a heaviness in my stomach, how alone I will be when they leave me. At thirteen, both animals are showing signs of old age. They have taught me well with their must-smell-the-roses routine as we walk three times a day, both dogs off-leash, the two of them always by my side. Between my tears of realization, I admit, I will be downright lost. After my daughter died (my husband was already long deceased), these animals quickly became my reason for getting up in the morning. I hate the question that never leaves me, without them of, “OK God, now what??”
When we find ourselves alone, and especially when we are in recovery a subliminal fear of having to stay in the solution of life surfaces. We must work harder, more diligently than the next to maintain a faithful, calm and balanced existence as we realize, there is no one to count on but ourselves. Not a child, grandchild or sibling, not a spouse.
At times like this, the temptation to submit to a pity party is never far away. This pity party of one is forever waiting for a time of weakness to knock on my emotional door. Most days I can ignore the invitation. Oh, for Pete’s sake! I think, as my restless conscious tugs my arm and like a virus, looks to find a way into my psyche.
We’re not talking about a real down and out drunk here, at least not at first, but for me to join in on even one of the pour-me concoctions of despair is the equivalent of digging my grave, only I’d be digging it drunk because there is no such thing as moderation under duress. This poor-me, pour-me another one party is the perfect excuse to leave this world and not come back, for a hundred reasons that may or may not make sense to anyone else, but they all do for me.
The fact is, I have NO ONE at all to rely on. Except for me. The more I think about what this means as I journal, the more terrified I become. In this big house I meander from room to room, day-in and day-out listening to my voice that sings to the top ten hits in the morning, to the ridiculousness of my sad thoughts as the day wears on. The clearer my vision becomes I scare myself with my thinking. I tell myself I have no one who loves me with that deep down, unconditional love that delivers proof I am alive. But there is a higher kind of love.
In an article in Christian Living https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/when-god-feels-far-away/ they write, “So when we feel our God has forsaken us, we rely on what we know to be true: God’s holiness reigns, and he has granted us endless access to his presence.” This truth, the “endless access to his presence,” combined with the tenets of my own recovery tell me it is positive, enduring statements like this that keep me safe in the power of positivity that allows me to believe this is the easier, softer way. And so I believe that as His child, I can tap into His endless reserve of power, strength, and love any time of day regardless of what I’m doing, how I feel, or where I am. This is the comfort that I need, the proof-positive assurance that I will never ever be alone, unless I choose to be.
Don’t get me wrong. I understand that this solution may not work for some, but I speak about it because this is my truth and this is how life works for me.
In one of his presentations at Founders Day Florida Style, AA’s beloved Sandy Beach, now deceased, mentioned his belief that, “All roads lead to God.” In other words, this whole idea of faith, of people dying, of pain and suffering doesn’t happen unintentionally. My personal thought is, that from the earliest existence of man, the pain of loss through the death of a mother, a father, a sister, a friend, we as survivors have been left behind. No matter the details of how, when, or where the outcome remains the same. People and pets leave us, and it is just plain hard to face, and oh so very hard to accept that here we are without them.
Let Go and Let God
In recovery we are asked to take it easy, to Live and Let Live. For me, the perplexity of faith lies in the intent of these words. The authors of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous knew the fear and prejudices, the experiences wrapped up in the words “God” and “faith” that shot revulsion through many skeptics. The chapter We Agnostics goes far to illustrate these and other salient points; to provide a road map for learning to live and let live.
Those of us without a program of recovery have difficulty comprehending the larger picture. To do so, imagine the world as a huge puzzle and each human as a piece of that puzzle. After all, we were made one-of-a-kind which means our placement in that puzzle is ours alone. Now imagine as we “keep it simple” (meaning our faith in this case,) we understand the idea that each of us is one infinitesimal piece of that puzzle board that is our world. Every day our Higher Power puts pieces of His puzzle together and how that happens, in my humble opinion, is when He calls us home to be with Him.
Simple? Yes, although recovery asks us to keep our beliefs simple by not subscribing to the heated and often contentious debating committee that implores us to have the answers to eternity, and that they be the right answers. What if by keeping it simple we saw, as did Sandy Beach, how all roads lead to God and we let that answer be enough for us?
We are told to Let Go and Let God. What does this mean? Let go of what? Our beliefs? Our thinking? Just accept that “we are,” that we exist? And how does that benefit us, make us more grounded, firm in the faith that we have all the answers we need and that the answers are part of our free will?
It just so happens that this is an area, try as we might, that we will never have all the answers no matter how many prizes we are awarded, no matter our stature, who we know, or what we know. If we are in recovery, we come to accept that thinking we had answers to the unknowable was for many of us, the beginning of a downward spiral to hell, and so, we are urged to “keep it simple.”
FOUR STEPS TO LETTING GO
In the article, “Four Steps to Let Go”, the author, Adam Fulmore, does a good job at illustrating on simple terms just how easy it cans be to Let Go and Let God in four little reminders.
What did come first, the chicken or the egg? The dinosaur, or God? What are the answers? And in truth, just How Important Is It to have absolutes? Are there absolutes in our world? In recovery many of us are told that the easy-softer way is to just accept that all roads lead to God. We don’t have to subscribe to any faith, any belief, any religion or practice other than “It IS, therefore am I” and eventually as we live and breathe closer to the end of our days, more becomes revealed.
Taken one step further, many of us believe that this has been God’s plan from the beginning of time. The story goes, man disobeyed our Maker and, as a result, was given the gift of self-will. The choice in all things has always been ours to walk in the sunlight of a spiritual faith or to walk in the shame of darkness. Self-will has always been part of our penance. We either use it wisely or we pay a price.
For those of us who strive day-in and day-out to accept life as it is and keep our thinking simple (meaning within these 24-hours of time) we become more open to the possibility that all roads, regardless of our journey, lead to God. We continue to die and the older we become, the greater the light at the end of the tunnel appears as we clean away the wreckage of our past, let go of material things and find acceptance that our journey, and the road we travel is designed to carry all of our beliefs. It is in the daily sickness and suffering of life that we live in our self-will, and it is in this design made perfect by our Creator that we return to Him, unshackled, free, imperfect, repenting for our sins, or not.
My own spiritual awakening occurred several years ago. My father lay dying on the east coast as I was at my mother’s, supporting her as my stepfather was living his last several hours on earth on the west coast. I left my mother’s immediately upon his passing to get to my father and in pure agony in realization that I would never make it in time to see him alive. I drove like a banshee, tears streaming. For support, I called several people as I drove, but no one was home.
As I slowed down to a stop and pulled off the side of the road, I realized this is right where my God wanted me: in His sight, calling out to Him, allowing myself to become engulfed in His arms. And I was.
Two years later my husband passed at home from cancer. An hour before he left this world, I drove down to the lake and, on the dock, fell in desperation as the acceptance of his leaving was too great to bear. It was here through the clouds I saw that I could stand with my God and let go, or in defiance act out, get angry and leave God. How dare He! I chose acceptance.
As we listen for our truth in quiet reflection, we hear the voice of the Great Spirit of the Universe. This is the most important answer as to how and why all of this happens, because it is the final line in the music of our existence. Regardless of where, what, or who we have been: agnostic, atheist, heathen or believer, scholar or bum: all roads lead back to where we came from, to a source.
I allow these thoughts to rise in my mind. In perfect sight I find that I am as blind to the knowledge of death and dying as I am to any other, yet, find comfort because these answers are none of my business. If I thought they were my business, I would have arranged, in my self-will, to live a thousand years, and die upon a mountain top and to shake the hand of my maker. The truth is much simpler. All I need do is to Let Go, and Let God.
Here, on my long morning walk with my two aging dogs, both busy searching for critters, cats, and other creatures, that I see my life’s purpose. With or without them, I meander throughout the day with the God of my understanding. My God will ease the loss of my babies. He will always be my buffer against my own, sometimes turbulent crazy ideas. Most of all, HE is my constant companion every single step of every single day.
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