Sunday, February 17, 2013

T.R.U.S.T. - Try Really Using Step Three

This past week I travelled to Northern Virginia to attend a Memorial Service for my dearest friend, Amy, who died in her sleep. She was 4 or 5 years older than I and was a big sister to me. I think I was also brother to her. She was always “just there” for me. I’m still processing the fact that she’s gone. I vacillate between being envious of the way she died – quickly and peacefully – and crawling up on my King Baby pity pot because she’s not gong to be there for me anymore. The shock of her death, her absence, my mortality is all frightening.
When I got home I read this: "When you are in fear you should remember to T.R.U.S.T. - Try Really Using Step Three.  [NOTE: Step Three: “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him.”]
“When I first heard this quote a great release and calm came over me. It was as if I had let go of all the fear, dread, and self-pity I had been carrying. In an instant I shifted from my will to God's will, and the peace and comfort I felt reminded me, yet again, that it works when I become willing to work it….
“After years of working this step, I have come to trust that God's will for me is always better than anything I can think of for myself. While in the grip of self-centered fear it may be sometimes hard to remember this, my experience is that when I really try working the third step my relief and release always comes.” From Michael Z [ ]
TRUSTTry Really Using Step Three – What a great acronym!
It forced me to remember wanting to be really sober and live the kind of life that others in AA seemed to be living. Critical to that, according to all the old-timers, was the power of Step Three. I kept asking myself (and anyone else who would listen, including Amy) “How do I know that I have REALLY, REALLY turned my life and will over to the care of God? How do I ensure that I did Step Three entirely, correctly and completely?”
The answer I finally received after badgering folks to death: “Don, you really do Step 3 - turning your life and will over to the care of God – by doing Steps 4-12 for the rest of your life.”
That did – and still does – make perfect sense to me.
I began to develop this image of floating with the current of the river and going where it takes me, rather than fighting to be so damned unique and rowing upstream all the time. I was truly tired of trying to be the exception. Of trying to maintain my sense of terminal uniqueness that believed all normal rules of life applied to everyone else – except me.
For me, to “float with the river” was to let God and the Program control my life. Doing that, I learned that it is very comforting to be simply one of the herd – just a straightforward, typical, run-of-the-mill alcoholic.
As that thought of non-uniqueness started to sink into my everyday consciousness, I began to change. I began understanding that it has taken everything that has happened in my life in the sequence it occurred, including the death of Amy, to get me right where I am today. Yes, I can choose to continue to fight it, doubt it, forget about it, or I can remember and go with the flow of life as God has planned it for me.
A Course in Miracles (ACIM) says the same thing in Lesson 42:2.3-6 – “Your passage through time and space is not at random. You cannot but be in the right place at the right time. Such is the strength of God. Such are His gifts.”
Allen Watson explains it this way: “As the introduction to the Text puts it: ‘[ACIM] is a required course. Only the time you take it is voluntary. Free will does not mean you can establish the curriculum. It means only that you can elect what you want to take at a given time.’ The curriculum is learning who we are, and we don’t have any say in establishing that. The only choice is how long it takes us to accept the fact of what we are, instead of trying to be something we are not…. So, you can’t help being in the right place at the right time; you can just relax in life and enjoy the show, instead of being anxious about it all. Why is this so? Because of the strength of God, and his gifts. Your reaching the goal is His will, and what God wants, God gets. After all, He’s God.” Allen Watson and Robert Perry, A Workbook Companion, Vol. 1, Circle Publishing, 2005, pp 128-9.
TRUST. Go with the flow and let God run your life. How? Work the steps of a 12-Step Program. Work the daily lessons of ACIM. Meditate. Listen for the whisper of the Holy Spirit behind the raucous din of your everyday thoughts. Ask the Holy Spirit for a newer, better, different way of perceiving the person, event or situation that is seemingly disrupting your peace and serenity. Trust. Work. Daily. Hourly.
Rather than focusing on how much I miss Amy, I now focus on how blessed I was to have her as a friend. She was in my life. I was in her life. Life has simply changed. She will still be in my life. I will not be in hers.
Although these messages are mostly for me, thanks for listening. As always – feel free to forward this message to your friends, family, and those accompanying you on your spiritual journey.
#3 February, 2013
Copyright, 2013

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