“When you recognize your own radical inability to really obey the purpose of the law and, in that same moment, ask for God’s mercy, you have achieved its deepest purpose.”
Richard Rohr: Meditation for 5-22-17
Wow! I had to read this, and read it again several times to just let it settle as deeply as I could at the time.
Laws……. What is your first thought when you know that you are supposed to obey a law?
Be honest. I think of driving according to the speed limits. Most always, I am a few miles over the limit. Why? Simple. I don’t get caught. After all, it is not ‘excessive speed’, like I hear when someone died in a car crash. Does this sound familiar to anyone else?
So, what does this have to do with my sobriety?
As sober addicts, we know that we are one addictive decision away from death, just one addictive decision away from death.
Each of us has set up our own set of laws for our individual sobriety, right? How do we play with these laws to justify the games we play? Well, I’ll be a bit more personal. I know that I play with the boundaries of the laws of my sobriety. With the guidance of the 12 steps, my sponsor, my spiritual director, and my conscious contact with God, I HAVE SET UP MY LIMITS, MY/GOD’S LAWS. When I live within the boundaries of these laws, I am blessed with sobriety, grace and love. This is the simple fact of my sobriety.
There are many written sources for the laws of sobriety, like conscious contact with God, and the gifts of grace, love and sobriety. Some of our writings refer to commandments, beatitudes, sutras, rules, etc. The simple fact is that we must live within the limits of laws to enjoy the grace of our sober lifestyle.
I’ll ask the question again. What is your first thought when you know you are supposed to obey the law?
The thought of obedience takes in to childhood. My parents, the nuns and priests, teachers, and a large variety of my community were all shoving some rule down my throat and I was supposed to obey, “or else!” I lived with a persistent, internal fear of disobedience. Disobedience was a sin and I would be punished.
But, God loves me.
Grrrrrrrrr! Major conflict.
Whew! I am so grateful to have been guided in to a relationship with a loving Higher Power.
My source of guidance is the stuff of recovery. It is the loving Higher Power experienced in our fellowship of patient, non-judgmental acceptance, our 12 steps, our practice of our individual spiritual lives, and more. I encourage each of us to make our individual lists of the sources and evidence of our Higher Power. My list is one I cherish. I express gratitude daily for the people of this list. I visit this list often as it grows with each new member to our fellowship. It grows with each new person in my life. It balloons with each new experience of love and grace.
This list is the evidence of the deepening of my appreciation for the purpose of our laws. Each relationship offers a new perspective on law and sobriety. The evidence grows. These growth spurts are the stuff of daily inventories and self-study, daily meditations and readings, hugs and smiles, mistakes and pain.
Mistakes and pain: How loving is a God who will turn our mistakes into a source of joy and celebration? At the end of a journey through a mistake, I often visualize God laughing off Her backside. See Greg! When you simply surrender to Me, life is good.
Dam! The end result of surrender is always love and grace, joy and fun. So why do I fight is so?
I’ll surrender that answer to the ongoing tension between my human nature and my divinity. I am going to fight for my way. The pain of my way will bring me humbly and painfully to my knees in surrender. Then I will muster more humility and express my deep gratitude for the lesson.
There is a constant vision when I am on my knees: God reminds me that She sent you to guide me, support me, hug me, love me, and tenderly laugh at my foolishness and share my humility.
You become my ‘deepest purpose’. I will continue to practice surrendering to God and you as I seek to serve.