Beside Restful Waters

“But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost.” Luke 24:37

How do you fit in to my little box, my expectations of you?

What are your expectations of God as you know the God of your understanding?

In Luke’s 24th chapter, there are three accounts of the risen Christ appearing to his disciples. In each appearance, He was not recognized. In two, there were expressions of fear and terror. Why?

These references are from the accounts of Jesus according to the Christian experiences. However, I believe that people of any spiritual practice often fail to recognize the presence of divinity. Why?

How well do I have to know you in order to trust you? What does it take for me to recognize you? What happens to my sight that I lose my relationship to you?

I recall my days of active addiction. These are not pretty memories. Addiction blinded my honesty in any form. Recovery began with an invitation from a man who recognized my pain. He offered the resources to begin my recovery. This man, Don, recognized what I could not see. In my pain, Don recognized divinity. Don willingly entered my pain. How did he know? Don willingly suffered with me. He found divinity in my suffering. How?

As I enter my 18th year of recovery, some of these answers are obvious. I could not see beyond the blindness of my addiction. My familiarity with my addictive nature has been a difficult relationship to unlearn. Entering in healthy relationships has been a journey of slowly building trust. My addictive nature built a strong set of expectations. You needed to meet my expectations or I simply would not trust you. Sustained sobriety is a journey of surrendering expectations, of surrendering my ego, of surrendering my way of thinking.

The journey of the 12 Steps is one of surrender. I surrender expectations of you, of myself, and of God. I had you all packed neatly in a set of boxes. When you climbed out of your box, I would not trust. I would not surrender my expectations or my ego. Surrender always leaves an empty spot in my soul. Along this journey, I am learning how to fill those empty spots.

The primary substance of the empty spots is divinity. The presence of addiction took all the space. There was no space for divinity. Each of you has slowly revealed your divinity, which allows me to recognize my divinity. You accepted me, without judgment. You forgave me, over and over. You reached out to me, expressing my value and purpose. You lived divinity in the flesh. Christians call this incarnation, God in human form. There are many other references to divinity in other practices. In the end, we recognize our inter connection through a common Source. I’ll call this Source God.

I am becoming less startled and terrorized in the presence of God, in the presence of you. With the practice of meditation, I am more quickly becoming aware of my fears and judgments. This allows me to grow more each day, with each encounter we have. This is an ongoing experience of resurrection. Quite simply, addiction is death. Sobriety is resurrection. AWESOME! Each day can be an experience of resurrection.

The practice of meditation, the practice of reading sacred scriptures, the practice of 12 Steps, and the practice of entering in to your presence: these are the practices that fill the empty spots with divinity. These are the practices of continuing the relationship with God. These are the practices that calm the turmoil of raging seas and leave us beside restful waters. These are the practices I cherish with gratitude.


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