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Beside Restful Waters

“Our role is to listen and allow and at least slightly cooperate with this almost natural progression.”

~ Richard Rohr

This past week, Fr. Rohr and Fr. Louis Savory have been, as always, stating the obvious: Out with the old, in with the new, with challenges to practice this way of life. Today, Fr. Rohr is talking about a 'natural progression' of “order – disorder – reorder”. He references many examples in Christian scriptures and non-Christian sources. While theses sources offer powerful witness to the dilemma of life, I believe we only need to look at our own social connections.

If we are in the midst of struggles with our own life stories, then we are meeting people who are sharing the trauma of disorder and the pains of reorder. As we listen to each other and to ourselves, we speak and hear a resounding and painfully challenging task:


Our Higher Power has brought us each to a place of stillness. Personally, this was a most frightening experience as it was my first experience with honesty. It was my first experience with the need to ask for help. It was my first experience with true spirituality. Since that time, many of the teachings that had been shoved down my throat in the name of religion began to take hold in my soul.

No matter the source of the teachings and stories, each had a common thread: the main character seemed to think he or she had their lives in control. Life seemed to be in good order. Then there was a trauma: the effects of addiction, trauma, agony..... something brought the character to their knees in an agonizing moment of silence.

“You are under arrest for....”

“I hear by sentence you to ….”

“I found out that you were....”

“If you do this one more time, I am leaving....”

“You are fired....”

“I'll never let you ….”

Whose words of loving pain brought you to your knees? Did they come from a police officer? An abusive partner? A stranger? A 'trusted' friend?

Regardless the source, the results also have a common message, often heard in silent desperation:

“Be not afraid.”

“Nothing is impossible for God.”

“Surrender: Thy will be done.”

These lessons are heard by every one every Christmas whether we are Christian or not. The story is told in many different ways. Regardless of our religious affiliations, the power of the reality cannot be changed. A young, unmarried woman was faced with a reality and told, “Do not be afraid. Nothing is impossible with God.” Her response was “Be it done to me according to your will.” Then she left to tend to her cousin.

Our addictive, trauma plagued minds, early in healing and recovery, are barraged by fears. What are your fears?

We are asked, NO, we are led to a Power greater than ourselves.

I found this Power in the struggle with the mere humanity of the process. There was a man in recovery who led me to others in various stages of the same journey. These were not scriptures, but human beings sharing their journeys. These were the life experiences of Higher Power in action. Who is the face of your Higher Power?


Here is the place of my greatest struggle, and my highest joy. My experiences with surrender are the practice of my sobriety. These experiences are daily, hourly, momentary.

These are the practices of silence.

These are the practices of listening.

These are the practices of empathy.

These are the practices known in the flesh of our surrender.

These are the practices we bring to each other. These are moments experienced in fear. These are the moments of recognition: Nothing is impossible. And these are the moments of surrender.

We do these things, 70 times 7. That is the practice. Repeated over and over, together.

We enjoy these moments beside the restful waters.

We hold them in our pose and breath.

We hold them until we experience the release and surrender.

We hold them as a reminder of the power of surrender.

Then we rejoice, splash around for a while in our crazy moments of ?????? You fill in the blank.

In gratitude,


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