commitment · community · courage · defeat · despair · faith · hope · hopeless · recovery · resilience

"This is the way to a faith that works."




I heard yesterday that another definition for resilience is
to move ourselves out of harm’s way, to get ourselves out of dangerous
circumstances. That resilience means to move toward health, wholeness and
…There are plenty of “definitions” I hear around, some more
Webster’s than others. But I get that part of resilience means to get out of
circumstances and situations that cause us to need to be resilient. – If you are the inflatable clown,
resilience means to step out of the way of the punch. You know, if you had
legs. Which I do. Long ones.
I didn’t actually intend to get healthy when I walked into a
room 8 years ago. I just wanted to stop getting punched. I listened, bawled,
accepted help, and getting healthy was the byproduct.
If it wasn’t my intention to get healthy, but by listening
to the voices in my head that told me to go somewhere I thought would help, I
got healthy anyway… is it possible that the same voices that feed me lines like, “It’s
worth it; You can heal; You are important; What you offer is important,” can
get me healthier almost without my willing it?
I mean, that’s the point, wasn’t it? It wasn’t me that
implanted that thought 8 years ago – the thought I had was, “Have another beer,
it will solve this moment, and nothing after that matters.” But the thought
that wasn’t mine was, “Go to a meeting.” Who the f*ck thought that?!
Wasn’t me. So that means there’s something inside me, beside
and under the voices that usually crowd out the cheerleaders and the still calm
being, that is there, speaking, helping, wanting for me things I can’t seem to
accept I want for myself.
There is something else inside me (not like a scene from Alien, though it feels as alien sometimes) that wants me
to be healthy, whether I like it or not. And most significantly,
I know how to or not
I don’t know how. But
the undergirding and buttresses of my soul do. And if that now long-ago experience was any
indication, they’re there, talking, waiting for me to listen, to follow, to
I was also at a point that I’ve later come to define as
surrender. All my best ideas gave me were the same thing, day after day. A Groundhog’s
existence. An eeking by, scraping at
the dregs of my self-esteem, morality, energy. I was running on fumes by then,
and in short supply they were. I feel
so much the same these days. So wan and worn and tired and unknowing and
I saw a bumper sticker yesterday that read, When you’re
lost, you can always follow your dreams.
Platitudes, sure. But it was a kind of wink to someone like
me who right now feels lost. It means
there’s always something to hope for. Without dreams, without hope, there’s
If what you can expect for your life is the same thing
you’ve always done, and the same experiences you’ve always had – if all you can
see for yourself is a life as an inflatable clown, … well, for me, there’s a
point at which I’m so exhausted of being it, that I simply don’t stand back up into
the firing line. And in that moment of surrender, of giving up the fight, …
well, that’s when it seems to me the change comes.
I’m not the first nor last to write about surrender as a
gateway to freedom. I’m not the first to terribly despise that that is so, or
to attempt lipservice to it in an effort to bypass the deflation. It’s not the
first time I’ve felt eviscerated by life and my efforts in it.
But, if I can recognize, remember, maybe even take comfort
in the fact that my evisceration led me to a place of light, friendship, joy,
health… I can try to let this time not feel as bleak. Doesn’t mean I don’t feel
like my butt has been kicked by life these past few years. Doesn’t mean I don’t
get to feel voraciously and vehemently angry. Doesn’t mean that I’m not going
to drag my fingernails down the face of “god.”
But the voices, the good ones, permit me all these feelings,
and gently – sometimes not so gently – whisper in my ear the directions toward
getting my heart inflated again.

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