The clean air, the smell of pine straw, the miracle of butterflies and bees give our brains a necessary airing-out from the challenges of our day. We accomplish great things and solve many of the world’s problems as we stroll, march, or jog around the trails which meander aimlessly through our woodlands. It’s as if this is exactly how God intended our lives to be before we stepped up to the plate and took over. Thanks God, but I’ll handle this myself. Those of us in recovery are especially proficient in running our lives our own way. And we paid heavy tolls along the ego highway. “Self will run riot.”
Those of us who profess Christianity are now observing the season of Lent leading up to Holy Week. In my younger days Lent was a dreaded time of year because it meant sacrificing something which was dear to me. Favorite foods, movies, sex, alcohol, and sweets were among the suggested targets of abstinence. Needless to say, with the ensuing alcoholism of early manhood, I chose to abstain from Lent.
In my personal quest for truth, celebration, and relevance in faith, Lent now has become a particularly solemn occasion. It is a soulful journey with Jesus to my personal cross. I stumble, I endure temptation, I become fearful, and I question God’s will just as Jesus did. I feel the humiliation, the stripes, the blood running down my body just as Jesus did. I feel the nails in my wrists and feet, the sword in my side, the unquenchable thirst just as Jesus did. Two thousand years ago Jesus and I were one essence, just as we are today, and I was there with the historical Jesus of Nazareth when he was crucified.
In 2017 Lent will culminate with the crucifixion of ‘self will run riot’ and will celebrate the resurrection to a spirit filled life with whatever name we ascribe to that Higher Power which now directs our lives. Our journey is a soulful expression of meditation and dedication. It is a time of refreshing renewal. It is a time of discovery and rebuilding. We don’t need to call it Lent, Holy Week, Good Friday, or Easter and we can practice it throughout the year.
In a nutshell isn’t this what our recovery programs are all about? Bill W. and Dr. Bob demystified religion, revealed God as an inclusive and loving essence, and built the program of Alcoholics Anonymous on ancient spiritual principles. It works because those of us who were losers, misfits, and runaways now have a spiritual home with a loving Higher Power.
“If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” JOHN 8:36