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Beside Restful Waters

"In order to overcome my addiction, I needed to confess my sin of unbelief."

Luke Gilkerson

Well, this comment left me with a few questions.

First, I have to grapple with this idea of sin. Growing up in the Roman Catholic church in the 50's and 60's, sinfulness was pushed in my face as a constant reminder of the challenge to become perfect or go to hell. So, I resigned myself to hell knowing that there was no way I could be perfect. At least I could relax and know my destiny. There was an odd sort of comfort as I released myself from the ongoing battle to become something I could never be, perfect.

This resignation also gave me a distorted permission to enter fully into my addiction with acceptance of my sinfulness and imperfection. Therefore I could enjoy my addiction without the ongoing guilt and shame. However, the continuous practice of addiction ate away at my soul even though I knew I would never be perfect. Somewhere in the course of my growth, there was a real sense of Higher Power, God. I had enough Roman Catholic experience with love that I couldn't fully escape the reality that my addictive practices distorted my relationships of love. This presented an internal conflict that left me with an emerging sense of insanity. This pervasive internal irritation destroyed my relationships.

This pervasive irritation slowly eroded my concept of sin. I have heard many ways of both defining and denying the concept of sin. I really enjoyed the idea that sin wasn't really sin, but rather a mistake that offered an opportunity to grow. I liked this idea because it always put a positive spin on my imperfection. This really took the burden off me and my addiction. Yet the painful, nagging, festering part was how my actions, whether sins or mistakes, destroyed relationships. I just could not avoid the fact that my addictive behavior would not allow love to grow. This disconnection continued to erode further into insanity.

Is that what sin is? Are my actions that destroy relationships and keep me isolated and in a state of disconnection considered sin? Today, I will say yes to this question. The actions which impair, erode or destroy my relationships I will call sins. You may have another term. Regardless, relationship is the only way I can experience love and hate, joy and sadness, peace and grace. My relationship with a Higher Power, God, is in the flesh and spirit of those I relate to in love. Having said this, I am now challenged to believe this. Yes, I have to choose to believe this.

Messages of God's awesome and unconditional love are continuously in my face. Read scripture of any religion and what do we hear? Love, love, love, not because I have performed some act of goodness or kindness, but to draw me in to opportunities to be good and kind. I am noticing my God, my Higher Power is not waiting around for me to step up and be some type of recovering super hero. I am noticing that the love of my Higher Power reveals to me my goodness and kindness AND I am noticing your goodness and kindness.

It is not about me.

The love of our Higher Power is about us, together, in our pain, shame, joy, peace and all the other stuff we share with each other. It is in our sharing that we are vulnerable enough to more fully experience this stuff we call love, pain and all.

In loneliness and disconnection, I experience the growing sense of fear, shame, depression and all the other stuff that fuels my sense of being worthless. Yet, when I am with you and we are willing to share all of our anguish, we enjoy the miracle of peace in our pain, joy in our suffering, and we often find ourselves laughing like crazy people.

Our craziness strengthens my willingness to believe. Our foolish suffering gives us space to let in the unbelievable stuff of love. Do you agree? I hope so because I need all of our craziness, heaped in a pile, covered with gratitude, and hurled toward our Higher Power, toward our God. This gives me the freedom to enter into the happy dance that only us crazies can fully enjoy.

Any one up for a happy dance, beside the water or in the water, naked from our fear and shame. A skinny dipping happy dance. What's better than this?


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