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Posts tagged “L.D.S.

Friday: As WE Understand Him …

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You never know, when the subject of Faith and God will arise.

Earlier today, I got a call from my Friday driver, to say he was going to make a 12 step call on the way to the meeting, and if I could take the Metro to the meeting, No Problem.

I met with a sponsee for an hour and made my way uptown for 7 p.m. I got there 10 minutes early. I cranked it out and waited for folks to show up.

Little did I know, that the 12 step call would be for someone I know, from the Monday meeting. This particular man, talks about God, in words and actions that nobody else I know use, in the rooms, across the board.

The other night, he was talking to an old friend, as they shared old war stories between themselves, and he ended up with a crack pipe in his hands, on a two night binge.

Where his faith went, even he does not know…

I sat and listened in, to a conversation, and then I asked him about his faith life, If he had lost his faith, or was he still hanging on to it. From what I had been hearing from him, I just shot into the dark with an idea.

Last night, I listened to several talks from General Conference. Thomas S. Monson, Carol McConkie, and Robert D. Hales. For some strange reason, I was moved to mention General Conference to my friend. I had no idea where he had been, in the way of faith or church, but I began to talk, nonetheless.

I told him what I had seen last night about Prayer, and Community, Service, and Discipleship. He Listened, then offered that he was indeed Investigating.

We had an entire conversation about faith from the L.D.S perspective. A few minutes later, we were sitting there talking, and my phone rang, and it was the Young Elder, who was new to Montreal, calling to say hello and to arrange a meeting with his new companion next week.

Is that ODD or is that GOD ???

I had a thought, I acted on that thought, that led to a familiar conversation, which then was cranked up a notch with a phone call out of the blue, from the last person, I thought would have called me at that very moment.

Tonight, Bill spoke to us, about Higher Power, as We Understand Him. In this reading he talks about the many ways you can find your way, into the program, with very little faith:

“They just don’t realize that faith is never an imperative for A.A. membership; that sobriety can be achieved with an easily acceptable minimum of it, and that our concept of a a Higher Power and God – as we understand Him – afford everyone a nearly unlimited choice of spiritual belief and action.”

This subject is treated in many different ways in A.B.S.I.

In a later writing in the book, Bill comments:

It does not matter what you choose to believe in, whatever will work for you.” At the end of the page he throws a wrench into the mix by then offering this nugget:

“That in the end, it always comes back round to God.”

Tonight, many of us who have been sitting in that room for years and years have seen people come in, sit down, say NO and Go. They come in, sit down, say NO and Go.

I’ve said it before that God, this three letter word, is the MAJOR stumbling block that prevents MANY people from getting sober. No matter how we couch, frame or talk about the “multitude of choices” one has to believe.

The numbers of people who have come, gone, drank and used again, never came back, or ended up DEAD are very high.

It Boggles the mind to ponder how many people we have seen come and go over the last three years.

BOGGLES !!!

They say that words are difficult in the beginning. But we all also agree, that the first simple action we take, leads to more simple actions, which lead to feeling better, which leads to sobriety.

If you cannot pray, to begin with, then say anything. You don’t need rote prayers or words you don’t identify with, and speak them to a God, you may not necessarily believe in, YET …

I have atheist friends who are sober today. And they do just fine.

We all agree that action makes the world go round.

  • Service
  • Making Coffee
  • Setting up chairs and tables
  • Greeting the Newcomer
  • Step Work
  • Reading the Big Book
  • Thanking the Chair
  • Participating in Fellowship

Simple steps of action, that done, over and over, DO LEAD SOMEWHERE.

It is not your word that matters, it is WHAT YOU DO that matters.

When you don’t have words, then do the next right thing. Over and Over again.

This is a program of action. We all agree on that. Once you begin to DO and to ACT, the rest falls in place as long as you stick around, and have an open heart.

When I leave my life open to Heavenly Father, He tends to amaze me in ways that I could not imagine.

I saw Him move in a room tonight.

In closing all I can say is this …

  • I am not the center of the universe
  • My world does not revolve around my navel
  • I have a God of my understanding, and that is great, as long as I remember that
  • I am NOT HE ….

 

 

 

 

 


Sunday Sundries: The Bone Collection

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The Holiday’s have begun here at home. After a slow start to the weekend, today comes to an end, with the Christmas Tree up, lit and decorated. A yearly tradition begins with Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer on tv and decorating the tree.

Sadly, when we started, and we tested the lights we have been using for the last decade or so, some of them did not make it through the last storage period. So we tossed them.

Now we are planning Christmas Shopping strategies. There is a neat retro shop that has all kinds of retro 80’s stuff… There are two of these shops in separate shopping malls downtown that I know of, and I think we are going to go for a Retro Christmas this year for the family. That should be very interesting because all the sisters and brothers in law are in the same age bracket as I am … (read: Pushing fifty)

I have made a dent in my recently purchased books read. There are about six books “in process” on my bedside table. I am slowly still reading Andrew Sullivan’s Far and Away, and a new book by Ben Ehrenreich, and a few others.

My Kathy Reich’s books came a few days ago from Amazon, so they were pushed to the top of the pile. Last night I finished reading “The Bone Collection,” a book of short stories and novella’s that have been compiled into a single volume.

When I began reading the Kathy Reich’s series, the Temperance Brennan series, you just don’t get investigation stories, you also get Tempe’s social, family and love life with them. And I’ve been reading her books for a long time, trying to follow ALL the story lines from book to book.

On her last write Tempe had been condo shopping with her beau, Andrew Ryan. And he had asked her to marry him.

She has not answered yet.

I have been waiting for the next installment to see what she had decided. And was pleasantly surprised when she touched the subject in the short story “Bones on Ice” about an investigation of a climber from Mount Everest who dies and is eventually brought off the mountain for death investigation.

Really, it was one sentence … But it was a healthy sentence.

The Bone Collection does not disappoint. Reading this book, put the other early books in perspective, knowing how she was invited into her first case, and the why, and what happened, that led her from archeology to her present job as criminal forensic anthropologist.

Temperance had a hard journey into the force in the first several books. It took a long time for Tempe to find her way, and to also find respect as a female lead in a male driven work environment. She eventually grew into her own.

The second book I bought was Cross Bones. I bought it because it had a very recent publish date and I thought it was new. But as I sat with it last night, reading the first chapter, i was having a case of Deja Vu… Me thinks I read this before …

I got out of bed and searched my library and sure enough, the book was in my already read library against the bedroom wall.

UGH, what a let down. I was hoping for some fresh current news about Temperance Brennan. Now I will just have to wait for the next installment.

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After the Elder/Sister shake up last week, we learned that several of our LDS Elders and Sisters had been moved to other locations and cities, and I had been told who was coming in to fill those positions. Tonight, I actually got a phone call from my new Elder team, with formal introductions, so we will meet for the first time tomorrow night.

This was the best piece of news to come this weekend.

I was feeling a bit abandoned.

THERE ARE ONLY 28 SHOPPING DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS …

 


Deseret Books – Utah

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American Idol runner-up David Archuleta surprised fans in 2011 when he announced that he was putting his music career on hold to serve a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In David Archuleta: Called to Serve, see the pop star proselyting on the streets of Chile, hear why he decided to serve, and how his faith directs every decision in his life.

David Archuleta: Called to Serve is an inspiring look into how serving others changed forever the life of one of the world’s brightest stars.

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“Some things simply matter more than others,” writes Robert L. Millet in his foreword to this landmark book. “Even some doctrines, though interesting and fun to discuss, must take a backseat to more fundamental and foundational doctrines. It is just so with the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The Atonement is the central act of human history, the pivotal point in all time, the doctrine of doctrines.”

With The Infinite Atonement, Brother Tad R. Callister offers us what may be the most comprehensive, yet understandable, treatment of the Atonement in our day. He thoughtfully probes the infinite scope of this “great and last sacrifice,” describing its power and breadth and explaining how it redeems us all.

Using the scriptures and the words of the prophets, Brother Callister explores the Savior’s divinity and the depth of his love for mankind. He explains the blessings that flow from the Atonement, providing insight into the resurrection, repentance, and the gifts of peace, motivation, freedom, grace, and exaltation. He explains the relationship of justice and mercy and the importance of ordinances. Through discussing the effects of the fall of Adam and our individual sins, he reminds us in a powerful way of the incalculable debt of gratitude we owe Christ for his unparalleled offering.

“An attempt to master this doctrine requires an immersion of all our senses, all our feelings, and all our intellect,” Brother Callister writes, “Given the opportunity, the Atonement will invade each of the human passions and faculties….The Atonement is not a doctrine that lends itself to some singular approach, like a universal formula. It must be felt, not just ‘figured;; internalized, not just analyzed….The Atonement of Jesus Christ is the most supernal, mind-expanding, passionate doctrine this world or universe will ever know.”

With clarity, testimony, and understanding, The Infinite Atonement teaches us rich and wonderful truths about this “doctrine of doctrines.” and elevates our spirits as we contemplate the perfect love of Him who gave all that we might receive all.

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As the latter days grow later and later, opposition, complacency, and uncertainty can cloud our view and bog down our steps. Whether we are new converts or lifelong Church members, sincerely trying to follow Christ in today’s fear-filled world can make us feel acutely aware of how far we have yet to go.

How, then, do we stand steady in such a world while continuing to move with surety toward the “better world” the Lord promises his true followers (see Ether 12:4)?

In this candid book full of personal stories and rich doctrine, Elder Bruce C. Hafen helps us think and feel in fresh, deep ways about faith, reason, and other elements of a well-anchored testimony — one that will stabilize, orient, and energize the disciple’s quest for that “better world” while “abounding in good works” in this one. The book shows how developing such faith is a process, not an event — a process that includes overcoming the snares and stagnations that punctuate our life’s paths.

Elder Hafen here teaches us how we can again feel movement and find joy in the journey, with both anchor and sail so well set that “the furious wind” that blows “upon the face of the waters” actually hastens us “toward the promised land” (Ether 6:5).

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This new order of Books and Movies are on their way to Montreal. I am really excited to read these two books and see David’s film. I am hoping to bring it to Family Night for our little group to see when it gets here.


Wednesday: Missionary Update

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My Elder Team. Elder Sorenson to the left, and Elder Christensen to the right. Tonight we said our goodbyes to Elder Christensen, who leaves for Idaho on Monday. These two young men are wise beyond their young years.

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I got together with my team this evening. And we talked for a good long while about being forged in fire, and how that plays out in our lives. If we are a piece of metal, in the black smith’s hands, and he fires that metal and begins to form it, Heavenly Father does that with us as well.

Our lives are not meant to stay the same all the time. Life is about learning and being formed and reformed in His hands. Sometimes that hammer comes down and the hit can be rather hard on us. But if we allow that reformation to take place, we grow.

But we must allow for that space to be made in ourselves.

Adversity comes, and Adversity goes. Sometimes it is a quick hit and we move on, and other times, the hit is long and sustained, and there is something we need to learn, something we need to do, or there is someone we need to be with.

People who have faced serious adversity usually see the world and themselves in ways that most normal people cannot comprehend, unless that happens to them personally.

I am in the firing forge right now. And we, as a team, have decided that we are going to keep moving forwards, together. Even with the current state of decrees set down, in my case, we believe that there is hope.

Elder Christensen said that there have been too many coincidences to ignore that hand of Heavenly Father in our midst.

So we forge on wards.

We intend to meet with the Mission President together in the coming weeks for a serious sit down discussion. If nothing changes, nothing changes.

It all begins with amicable discussion. If you want things to change, one needs to e able to sit down and talk about what needs to be changed.

 


Monday: You Cannot Enter

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What a difference a day makes …

Yesterday I was talking about Heavenly Father and the church and all that was good in my life and how “on track” I was, heading towards the finish line, as one of my Elders, leaves for home, in Idaho, next Tuesday.

I have been the subject of high level talks in the Church hierarchy. Over the weekend while we were all at the Stake Conference, my name came up in discussion between my Elder team and the Mission President.

Tonight, after family night, I inquired about that discussion.

Eyes turned downwards, and they broke the news to me, and this is what was said.

My Gay Marriage, my On Paper Legal Marriage in the Province of Quebec, Marriage is unacceptable. In order for me to become a card carrying Mormon member, baptized with all the privileges due … I would have to end my marriage and get an ANNULMENT.

In a word, well two words … ABSOLUTELY NOT …

I knew this was going to be the sticking point. I just knew it. But I was holding out hope, and giving my hope more power than I usually give my hope, because I know how ALL IN I can be and what happens when I commit to ALL IN, I get my heart broken.

Well, my heart is broken tonight.

I am very saddened that my Young Elder Christansen will end his mission next week, and my journey will be incomplete.

Heavenly Father has a plan, I’m not sure what that plan is. I’ve been encouraged to follow through with my studies and prayer life and allow Heavenly Father to do what He is going to do, because I am ALL IN.


Friday: Shifting Sand

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“And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost.” 3 Nephi 9:20

Quote taken from The Broken Heart, Applying the Atonement to Life’s Experiences by Bruce C. Hafen.

My life pivot continues. I may not know everything, I do know, that I have a solid group of missionaries standing with me in faith and support. As the days go by, knowing what I am feeling and going through, and not being able to share it with anyone breaks my heart.

The only person I trust, knows, but he is not here.

The week has not been without its heartbreaks. Conversations with certain people in my life, led to my severing my service commitment to my Sunday meeting, where I have been a trusted servant for more than ten years.

I know I am not perfect, by any stretch. Having my difficulties tossed in my face like shrapnel is painful, and to be told that I have issues that have scared away an entire population of people from said meeting, was painful as well. With that information on the table, being delivered by a woman I trusted with my life, forced me to resign from my service positions at said meeting.

Monday I attended Family night at the church with my friends. Thursday I am hitting St. Matthias, and committed to service for the next month, while several members are away for vacations, leading up to the holidays.

Christmas Trees and Christmas Decorations are already up in both the Alexis Nihon Plaza Mall and the Old Forum, Cineplex Theatre. At the Forum, there was a huge Halloween costume shop set up in an old restaurant location on the first floor. They had not even been able to vacate the store of the Halloween stock, before the Christmas Trees were hauled out of storage for the season.

I did notice that the trees were decorated differently this year, so they obviously went to great detail to put out something different than last years trees.

As it is Friday, it was the Best Meeting of The Week, night. And it was a special occasion. North End English celebrated 67 years tonight. Sixty seven years ago, a group of drunks got together and opened our meeting.

To put that in context for Quebec Alcoholics Anonymous, Dave B., began Alcoholics Anonymous here in Montreal in the year 1944. North End English opened its doors just five years later in 1949. This meeting was one of the first meetings opened that far back, that still operate to this day.

In my fifteen years sober, here in Montreal, North End English has been through several incarnations and formats. Generations of folks have come and gone in those fifteen years. Attendance was up, then it was down, then numbers fell drastically for a while, until a viable format was put in place, that we have to this day.

Several years ago, with few in number, we had a back room, As Bill Sees It – meeting, that took hold. And over a three year period, people began to show up. We once, filled the back room, then we filled the overflow room in between, because we did not have enough chairs, and once we reached that threshold, we moved into the main hall, where the meeting is today. What started with less than a dozen people, we now count upwards of 40 to 50 people on any given Friday night.

It only works when there is service to be done, and friends to welcome each Friday Night.

The Miserable Holiday Season

I worked in the bar business for a long time, when I first got sober in the late Nineties. Both behind the bar, and on the floor, and also looking down from a DJ Booth. Some of the busiest nights in the Bar Industry are Holiday Nights.

Just the same, in the rooms, some of the highest traffic nights, fall on Holiday Nights. U.S. Thanksgiving falls on a Thursday. Christmas falls on a Sunday. With Winter knocking on our door, (it was 2 degrees Celsius) today, people go into seasonal planning mode.

Seasonal Planning Mode: Depression begins to set in. So people look at their schedules and their meetings. When temps drop and snow falls, attendance fluctuates widely. People plan how long it is going to take them to get from HOME to a TRANSIT POINT and then on to a MEETING. They spend their hour and the plan of attack going home runs in reverse.

If travel time is greater than fellowship time, people just drop off and don’t show up at all, because, why bother ??? Add to that Minus temps or big snow on the ground.

If you go to meetings, we all know the story of the venerable Literature Rack. We take it out at every meeting, we talk about it with the 12 step rep, who pumps the books, and the pamphlets, but as it goes, barely anyone looks at or takes anything from the rack.

I 12 stepped tonight. The holidays are almost on top of us. And there are going to be plenty of miserable people out there, on the sober side and on the no so sober side. The Holidays are some of the toughest times for the most people, for one reason or another.

Nobody escapes the Holidays unscathed.

I’ve seen hundreds of people come in just prior to the holidays, and in huge numbers after the holidays, sadly, almost none of them make it. The odds are against them to begin with.

I cautioned our folks tonight, to be on the lookout for someone who might need the gift we usually take for granted. I begged them to take literature and to put it to good use this holiday season. The holidays are not always jolly and bright.

I know that there will be misery all over the city. And we can only do so much. But there IS a place to Go and People who will LOVE and CARE for you.

You don’t have to be miserable – there IS a solution.

You might change a life in ways you might not imagine, if the options of Happy, Joyous and Free, are pitted against Pitiful, Incomprehensible, Demoralization.

Today, the mail man came early. The mail man usually does not hit our building until after dinner time. A couple of weeks ago I ordered a couple of Books from Deseret Books, out in Utah. (This is a Latter Day Saint Bookseller).

My two books came in the mail.

In Quiet Desperation – Fred and Marilyn Matis and Ty Mansfield

The Broken Heart – Applying the Atonement to Life’s Experiences – Bruce C. Hafen

During my discussions with my Elders, I was introduced to a man I now call a friend, who appears on the Voices of Hope website. A collection of stories from Men and Women, who are part of the Latter Day Saints, who deal with Same Sex Attraction, and how, through faith, they found their way to Heavenly Father to hold on to their faith.

A good potion of my Pivot, has to do with being on the back side of Gay. And the fact that Gay is no longer what defines me. It isn’t who I am any more either. The only two things that would speak to being gay is my HIV and my husband.

I’ve cleared the Missionary List to Baptism.

But I want to know how men and women, who deal with same sex attraction, think, feel and experience life. And in order to be able to minister to new brothers and sisters, friends in the L.D.S church here, I need to study, I need to read, I need to identify, with a process that came second hand to me. What was sexual attraction, when it comes to competing with a drink or a drug ?

Alcohol always settled that problem. I had my standards, as did every other gay boy I met back in the day.

Drugs and Alcohol made the process much easier.

For me it wasn’t all about attraction. It first started with a drink. Then a drug. If you were pretty then it was all the better.

I get on the Metro these days and I look around me at the people I travel with, and I see just how beautiful they are. When the specter of sex leaves the equation, people become human once again. And I truly appreciate human beauty.

Lots to read now. I’ve added several books to my bedside table.

There is always time to read, at least for me there is.

 

 

 


Monday: The Great Pivot Continues

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In business, like in life, or in love, we may come to a crossroads, where a major decision has to be made. It is called a PIVOT. And listening to The Art of Charm today, we heard from Jenny Blake.

“Get Unstuck – How to Separate Difficult Decisions From Difficult Conversations.”

  1. Make your decision based on gut instincts
  2. How to express your decision in words clearly and directly
  3. Deciding WHEN to have that discussion
  4. Communicating that Decision
  5. Responding to reactions and any ensuing consequences and follow up

There have been many serious pivots in my life, thus far. The last great pivot took place when I decided to move to Canada, and to Montreal. It was a gut decision, based on spiritual faith. I was sober.

Since that time, I have been sitting in a safe harbor. And people around me are in one place in their lives and sobriety, and I am where I am right now as well. No two people, are ever at the same place together, experiencing the program together. Little by slowly, Heavenly Father is showing me where I need to go, and what does not serve me. And contrary to the opinions of some, I am headed where I need to go.

This Major Life Pivot took place when I met my Elders on that Metro Platform some time ago. That series of discussions led to my reviewing my life and major a major life decision, that is EPIC in size. This move into a faith community IS a MAJOR PIVOT.

I regret saying anything to some of my friends, because now I am seeing just who they are, based on the words they are speaking, I should not have opened my mouth, but it is what it is.

Heavenly Father, in His wisdom is pivoting me away from people, places and things that no longer serve me. And I have a community of Elders both Men and Women who are taking out specific community farther along, each of our respective paths.

I know who I can trust, and who I cannot.

Monday is Family and Friends fellowship at the church. We meet each week for a teaching video from an Elder of the Church. This week we heard from Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf.

You can find him on the General Conference Page on the LDS.ORG website

He spoke on the story about the ugly duckling. And spoke to the effect that we are all Children of God, and when we look in the mirror, we will see exactly who we are. We are Children of a Loving Heavenly Father.

We had a room full of Elder young men and women tonight, who all come from different parts of the world, speaking a multitude of languages, but together we shared, in a common language. After the teaching and share, we play a game.

Tonight we played Le Citoyen … The Citizen.

We had about a dozen people, each were given an identity:

  • Citizens
  • Werewolf’s ( there were three )
  • A witch
  • A Fortune Teller
  • Hunters
  • and A Mayor

It is a close your eyes, open your eyes game, led by a narrator who tells a story involving the people sitting in the circle. Nobody knows whom is whom, except for the narrator who leads the game. And it is a kill the werewolf’s and save the citizens.

The witch can either kill or save someone who is killed by a werewolf. Th Fortune Teller is given information he might need from the narrator to save the community. The hunters are trying to figure out, as the game progresses who the werewolf’s are so they can kill them, before the werewolf’s kill them and the citizens.

It was a good game. I won round two.

All is well. Tomorrow is another day.

 

 

 


Sunday: Part 4, The Fifteen Year Itch

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The Pre-Cake roller coaster is in full motion. And it is rocking like bat shit crazy.

This year has been a challenge for me, in many ways. A few years ago, when I was introduced to working with others for the first time, I invested in a community because that is where my guys came from originally. Long sober people have turned out to be fakes and charlatans, liars and cheats. Obviously, I trusted the wrong people, for what I thought were the right reasons.

Lessons Learned.

Sober people are not perfect and I am told that I have to accept that an alcoholic and an addict are sick people, and that I should not hold long sober people up to certain standards of respect, dignity and human kindness. But if you turn on me I will, walk away.

No questions, No excuses, No problems.

Two and Three Quarter years later, for a certain fellowship, it is no more for me. That stage of my life has come and gone. I could only do so much, as in paying for all the supplies out of my pocket, running three meetings, carrying the lion’s share of the load. And it came to a head and I walked away. I was done.

I’m only hitting a couple of A.A. meetings now, and my patience is wearing thin for those meetings as well. One meeting, is full of young people and is, at least functional. But I drew down my service to that group last Friday night, opting to open another night for fellowship where I want to be right now.

My Sunday meeting, people are acting odd around me, they have just gone quiet on me. The don’t talk like we used to, and nobody waits to walk home, and that is a trend I have watched happen in other meetings that met in that space as well. And my sponsor cared to inform me just how scared people are of me and that they don’t trust me and even to the degree that some won’t come to that meeting because of me:

AND HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO FEEL ABOUT THAT ???
Drop me another bomb why don’t you !!!

I am frustrated with people, I am short tempered. I am impatient. I’ve been running very hard at recovery for so long, that I am just about out of steam. I’ve pounded service, and tried very hard to grow up, yet I am reminded again and again, when it is expedient for my friends to remind me, that I have shortcomings, not that I have forgotten any of them.

I’ve accepted that I am damaged. And I accept that I may never heal fully. And I am told that over and over, I have to remember what I did to others, and that my issues are all about me. When you do life work and you pound it hard, you move forwards, sometimes only a little. What is done is done.

I listen to folks sober twice as long as I am. And I listen to them tell me where they think I should be, in relation to where they are themselves. Like I need to hit spiritual benchmarks already, that I know, for myself, I am not close to at all.

God is calling the shots. All the shots. And I am letting Him call the shots.

God knows how much time I have left.

My doctor does not even know what to do with me now, since I hit the fifty benchmark next July. I am not supposed to be still alive. And now this opportunity has come about, a path, a new focus in my life, and there is no better time than the present.

If not now, then when?

I’m bored with the rooms. I am tired of sitting with folks who, all they want to do is sit in, “Can’t be bothered.” We talk and talk and talk, UGH … enough talk already.

I just need some room to breath. I just need to have my friends give me some slack to decide what is good for me, without having to tell me how damaged I still am, thinking that if I listen to all the things wrong with me, I won’t want to serve Heavenly Father in the Church !

That’s what the enemy wants me to listen to. All those things wrong with me that make me less potential as a human being, because I am damaged. And I have faults. And I have challenges. If Adam and Eve did not fall in the garden, we would not have the dichotomy of good and evil, right and wrong, good and bad, light and dark.

If we did not have the bad, we would not know the truth and find the good and blessing of our stories, and our challenges. Gosh, I am going to be fifty next summer, and I cannot make decisions for myself, because people around me are so used to having me around, reliable, capable of doing all the work, answering to my fellows, and being the good sober boy I have been for the whole of my sobriety ???

And people tell me they care about me and that I matter and that I am important, and that I should return to places I have walked away from on purpose. And at the same time, the only time my phone rings is when certain people make concerted attempts to get my attention, when I had not heard from them for weeks.

Now that I’ve made my Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints commitment, people are freaking out.

For God’s sake, let me be … This is my call, not yours. This is my life, not yours.

I have not said a word in response to all this crap being shoveled at me recently. I’ve been respectful, because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but I am feeling a little pressed into a corner, having to choose between comfort and growth.

THERE IS NO GROWTH IN THE COMFORT ZONE AND
THERE IS NO COMFORT IN THE GROWTH ZONE.

I heard that from an Elder this morning. And it is true.

For people, who have nothing but the rooms, and their concept of a higher power, and they do nothing but stay within those confines, it becomes comfortable. And predictable.

I’ve been living a wholly comfortable and predictable life for all my sober years.

There are not many people who are devoted to organized religion, so to speak. And I’ve been around the block with numerous religions. And I know ALL the arguments made towards the LGBT community. Good and Bad.

And I think, that my friends think, that if I surf too far off the wave of sobriety, that I am going to find myself in some kind of serious jeopardy, that will threaten my sobriety. If you stray too far from the farm, you might get caught someplace you really should not be.

God forbid, you should find community somewhere else, that is not sober related.

The alarms go off, the lights start flashing and the warning sirens go off.

Whoa look out, one of us is heading in another direction,

Danger Will Robinson, Danger …

I made it here on my own steam. I am still alive and breathing.

Let me make my own decisions. I am of sound mind and body.
Really !!!

There is nothing bad or dangerous about God.


Sunday: Part 3, The Many Voices

kneel

 

After a great day, spent in fellowship, worship and community, I figured that the night would pass without incident.

I was WRONG.

People are concerned for my spiritual welfare, and the couple of my lady friends spent considerable amounts of time tonight, reminding me of my shortcomings and patterns they have observed, or heard me speak of, concerning my past.

When I work my Steps, when I reach Step Nine, the Amends process, I stop. Knowing that it will snow in Hell, before I can get past this step completely. And there is anger in my soul. Anger that I keep in check quite well, save for the odd moment, when the dam bursts and I speak words that I should not.

My spiritual director gave me specific counsel on these topics and I have followed his advice to the letter. I must turn my entire life over to God and allow Him to do what I cannot do for myself. The truth about anger and rage is real. I don’t think I will ever be 100% rid of it, and will probably take them to my grave with me.

Like I really need my friends to point out my shortcomings when it is expedient for them to remind me, which only stokes the fires burning in the pit of my soul. And exacerbates the utter sadness I feel about people who have hurt me terribly.

If we felt nothing, and buried the truth in a lock box, who would we be ?

I admit my truth quite openly. It is no secret, my past. But Must I be constantly reminded of it? It’s like pouring salt into the wounds in my soul ?

I told three people of my spiritual path. My best friend is standing by my side. The other two folks, not so much. I walked away from a community that I could do no more for, and it seemed that God had plans for me, because I am where I am at this very moment.

People are talking about me behind the scenes, because oddly, I got two phone calls that I was not expecting. You know how often your friends think of you, or how they don’t think of you often, when your phone does not ring for weeks and weeks. I tried my hardest to break a silent streak among my friends, to no avail. And now I have to explain why I am walking away from people, who have no concern for my welfare or me in general.

I know what silence speaks of …

So, knowing how fast the adversary comes in and tries to darken my spirits, I turned to my scriptures for advice. It did not take but a few moments to find the words I needed to read.

I did everything I was asked to do this morning, when I got home.

And I did everything I was supposed to do, to make the meeting a success again. And as usual, I locked up the church, and walked home alone. That is also a contentious issue.

I know that people think little of me, when we all walk the same direction home, or to the Metro, which is on the way home, when nobody waits to walk home with me, like they used to. Maybe the gossip I am hearing about me is true …

People have judged me and by their words, and actions or lack of either, speaks volumes.

All I know is that I must trust the Savior to care for me, and for Heavenly Father to take the lead and bring me that which will be fruitful in my life.

Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen

2 Nephi 4:35