Sunday Sundries … The Spirituality of Imperfection
It has been steamy HOT these past few days. We have seen a string of 30+c days, with humidexes in the mid thirties. Rain is on the way for the beginning of this week.
On Friday, I was at Rafa’s house and he gave me a book, well he gave me several books, the one I chose to read was “The Spirituality of Imperfection,” Storytelling and the Search for Meaning by Earnest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham.
If you are a Big Ole Drunk, this book, is spiritual Gold, as a friend said to me earlier tonight. The book came to me at a crucial point in my spiritual quest for understanding.
“You cannot expect to receive anything, if you don’t extend the same courtesy.”
Meaning: After considerable thought and conversations with my inner circle, and reading about spiritual imperfection, I have come to a new understanding of life, my character defects and my shortcomings.
At the beginning of the modern age, the nineteenth-century nun Saint Therese of Lisieux rediscovered the original sense of prayer as a cry for help. From total darkness, in utter desolation, she cried out, echoing the call of the crucified Christ: “J’ai soif”… I thirst
The insight is constant: our darkness – our sins, our doubts – it is a thirst … for “God,” for “the spiritual,” for whatever might alleviate this painful side of the human condition, for whatever might somehow fill the empty hole in our human be-ing.
We seek help for what we cannot face or accomplish alone; in seeking help, we accept and admit our powerlessness. And in that acceptance and admission, in the acknowledgment that we are not in control, spirituality is born.
Spirituality begins in suffering because to suffer means first “to undergo,” and the essence of suffering lies in the reality that it is undergone, that is has to do with not being in control, that it must be endured. We may endure patiently or impatiently, but because we are human beings, because we are not at each and every moment in ultimate control, we will suffer.
When I read this passage, I almost fell out of bed, because that is where I was reading, because the words “I thirst” have serious meaning to me. Firstly, I found that passage in a book about the late Mother Theresa of Calcutta.
When I turned 10 years sober, I had that phrase tattooed on my right bicep. Later, during the Roundup where we met Lorna Kelly, a woman who had been long sober, came to speak to us, and she tells the story about going to Calcutta to meet Mother Theresa.
In her book, “The Camel Knows the Way,” Lorna travels to Calcutta, and in the chapel of the Mother House written on the wall, adjacent to the crucifix, are the words …
I Thirst …
I have come full circle.
For the third time in sobriety, the words, “I Thirst,” have appeared.
Knowing that we are all human beings is too easy. But to understand that humans are imperfect, and that we have to understand the phrase:
I’m Not All Right, and You’re Not All Right, but that’s okay – That’s All-Right.
You cannot begin to expect to receive, let’s say, compassion or kindness, or understanding, or forgiveness, until YOU can fully, have compassion, give kindness, forgive, and have understanding.
The next thought that hit me was that, and I almost choked on these words myself, when they came, but, I have to forgive, and then let go.
I can either remain stolid and resolute in my hardened heart and punish and incriminate another human being, thereby, never allowing myself spiritual growth, OR, I can admit my powerlessness and lack of humility, in this case, and say, God help me, because I cannot do this on my own, I don’t know how!
This is where I am tonight.
We’re entirely ready to have God remove these defects of character.
I am ready. For God to remove my defects of character.
READY — To Be Prepared…
Steps One through Five are preparation for Six and Seven.
The Spirituality of Imperfection is an ongoing process.