longsuffering

“Dear lord, please lift me up and heal me.  Cast out of my mind all thoughts that are not of You.  Cast out of me all harsh and critical nature.  Cast out of me all violence and all anger.  Cast out of me all demons from my past.  For I would be made new.  I wish to walk so close to You that we might be as one.”  Marianne Williamson, ILLUMINATA
truth

“Harsh and critical nature, anger and violence”.  We betray the truth of our lives, the love and compassion of a Savior, when we fail to speak our truth kindly.  Our Lord’s truth cannot be spoken in any other way.  Tolerance, patience, and forbearance are synonyms of the old English “longsuffering”, a word which occurs frequently in Scriptures.  Probably the most familiar is:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith…”  Galatians 5:22

and in the Buddhist tradition:

“The greatest prayer is patience.”  Lord Buddha

Is one born with patience?  Probably not.  Most agree that patience is earned the hard way.  Life situations teach us patience.  Other people teach us tolerance.  Compassionate listening is developed by listening for hours to the trials of another person.  Children teach us unconditional forbearance.  Our friendships are the result of communications tempered by attitudes of longsuffering.  When we enter into a life occurrence with anything less than a prayer for patience on our lips, the outcome will likely be less than spiritual.

“Our first objective will be the development of self-restraint.  This carries a top-priority rating.  When we speak or act hastily or rashly, the ability to be fair-minded and tolerant evaporates on the spot.”  Bill W. AS BILL SEES IT, pg. 113

Finding a patient friend is a blessing of the greatest order.  Being a patient friend is more desirable than fame and riches.  Nations have crumbled, politicians have failed, families have disintegrated, wars have been waged, and genocides have been initiated because one person failed to engage another in conversations of tolerance and longsuffering.  Words that are harsh and critical, angry and violent will never establish mutual understandings which are necessary to peaceful survival.  And that is our mission, that is our evolution.  We are commanded by all of God’s messengers to live as a brotherhood of mankind speaking our truth kindly.

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making new

angry emojiWhere do you go in times of emotional turmoil?  A quiet space, a walk in the woods, a favorite book, a mind-numbing movie, maybe a favorite destructive behavior pattern?  Sometimes an escape is essential to my sanity and I have numerous options from which to choose.  Thanks to the fellowship, drinking or drugging is no longer one of them.

That’s where I am at today.  What course of action do I need to take to address a living situation which has been festering for several weeks and for which I see no solution other than packing bags and living in my pickup truck?  It’s a tough mental exercise which has at times led me to believe living on my truck is the better option.  But, I still love the creature comforts of a warm bed under a tin roof and meals at a dining room table.  What I don’t like is the theft of serenity by the constant turmoil.

I would love to say that I immediately go to my Higher Power in these times.  But, I don’t.  There is a vestige of the old Larry which says, “I can handle this by myself, thanks,  but no thanks, God.”  I continue to squirm and wiggle trying to work this out through my own powers of decision-making.  And I grow desperate listening to the voices of ‘self will run riot’.  It is not a safe place to be.

My old nature is to be confrontational, to become self-righteous about the perceived wrongs committed against me.  The old me walks away in a huff muttering about the stupidity and insensitivity of other people.  The old me would stew for days over an incident that was misunderstood by all involved.  The old me will get me drunk or dead.  I don’t like the old me anymore.

One of my daily prayers inspired by the writing of Marianne Williamson in ILLUMINATA sets the stage for an assessment of my character defects while asking for relief:

“Lord, cast from me all harsh and critical nature; cast from me all anger and violence; cast from me all doubt and insecurity; cast from me all demons from my past, for I would be made new.” 

“If we were to live, we had to be free of anger.  The grouch and the sudden rage were not for us.  Anger is the dubious luxury of normal men, but for us alcoholics it is poison.”  Bill W. writes in AS BILL SEES IT.

My answer is staring me in the face.  I know what the spiritual response needs to be.  Now, the action part of this discovery must be pursued.  Namaste.namaste rainbow

the critic

Marianne Williamson

 

Dear Lord, please lift me up and heal me.

Cast out of my mind all thoughts that are not of You.

Cast out of me all harsh and critical nature.

Cast out of me all violence and anger.

Cast out of me all demons from my past,

for I would be made new.

Amen

CANDLEMarianne Williamson’s work has been a part of my inspirational readings for many years.  Like me, she grew up in the turbulent decades of “drugs, sex, rock and roll.”  She also caved to the demons of her times.  ILLUMINATA  The above excerpt from a prayer for healing reminds me everyday that my “harsh and critical nature” is not totally resolved within me.  It is one of the major character defects which can turn my daily interactions into completely chaotic fiascos.  Just one word from my quick, unthinking tongue can erase tireless efforts to be the man whom I believe my HP wants me to be.  A biting comment, an insult, an unwanted opinion in the morning has the power to shadow me for the entire day.  Today, I am aware of my defects and at least now I have the tools to prevent the unkind thoughts and words from ever escaping out of my mouth….most of the time.

We don’t claim spiritual perfection, just progress.  Thank God for this disclaimer.  Without it I would be eternally lost in the seas of self-loathing and despair believing that I am the least worthy and most despicable of God’s creation.  But, my HP delivers to me each new day the strength and resolve to become a better version of the old drunk, to become a vessel carrying his word to a suffering and distraught fellowship of other drunks, and to become a recovering voice in the darkness of addiction.  And because he says I am a work in progress, I need not do this perfectly.  I merely need the willingness to try.

That same harsh and critical nature is frequently turned inward.  I am undoubtedly my own worst critic.  If I truly believe that God’s saving grace has covered me with unmerited and undeserved mercy then how dare I dispute the work he has done in my life and the plan he has for me?  How dare I criticize the miracle working within me?  It is not up to me to judge others or myself.  The indwelling Spirit allows me to be the observer of life, allows thoughts to enter and depart without passing judgement on them, allows others to travel this path alongside me without passing judgement on them, and allows me to be nothing more…or less…than a simple messenger.smiley 3

PRAYER FOR THE EARTH

by Marianne Williamson, ‘ILLUMINATA’

Dear God,

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Please bless and protect this sacred jewel, Our vulnerable planet so besieged.

May the rivers and the oceans and the sky and the land all be repaired somehow, dear Lord.

May the barbarism end, which threatens to destroy our priceless treasure.  For surely the earth has been our home, the home of our parents unto all generations.

For the sake of our children, Lord, save this earth.  Place in all minds a greater awe before her mysteries.

Shield her and heal her wounds, restore her to her former glory.  Save her, Lord, from us.  Amen.