I am becoming a different person. I am going to use that word God more in my life. I want to define that for you, the few readers that I have. Thanks for reading , by the way. It matters. I have one or two friends who always read and comment on my writings. It’s really means a lot to me.
I was terrified to write. To paint. To direct theater. To do Art. For me, sports was easy. I played in some large filled stadiums. I had a self confidence that was both solid and naive. I think that describes it. Solid and naive.
God, to me is very personal. I use the word “God,” because I have no other one that is so simple. I could say “Spirit of the Universe,” or “Creative Intelligence,” or “Good Orderly Direction,” or “Group Of Drunks,” but all those substitutes for God would only be substitutes for God now.
Truth is, I was afraid of what you would think of me if the said God, because of what I thought of others who used that word. I didn’t like them much.
I had a lifetime of prejudice, whose foundations I needed to explore. so I explored.
I read about all the major religions and tried them on for size. I tried agnosticism and atheism on. I tried Pantheism on. Pure Science. I read, I thought, and I sought.
Then I made a huge realization. I had to make a choice. Just choose. Simple. I took the thinking out of it. I just let my heart decide. I threw a dart and it hit Christianity. I must have been aiming there. I am a jock, you know. My eye-hand coordination is pretty good! Ha. Was.
The fact is, it is what I know the most about. I was raised in a church. My dad was the choir director at St James Lutheran Church, in Chalfont, PA, for over 20 years. I sang in the choir. I learned to sing harmony in church. Music is very important to me, Spiritually. It works as an expression of Faith for me. But I needed more than music.
I needed structure. I needed to follow. I needed humility. I needed everything AA was giving me, but I needed just a little more. I needed a push.
Then the push came. I met a Christian. I didn’t know this person was a Christian at the time, I just knew I wanted what this person had. I felt loved around this Christian. “I love you” was never said, but I knew I was being loved. I don’t know about you, but for me, being loved is something I don’t want to do without.
Not being loved because I had some pretty great accomplishments. Just being loved, no matter what. Even when I was a jerk. I have bad judgement at times. I make mistakes. This didn’t seem to matter to my new friend.
By the way, I have two solid Atheist friends who I love, dearly and I think maybe they love me, too. They are incredible human beings. I’m pretty sure Atheists can love and be loved, too, you know. Ha.
Then things started to happen. I began to say “Thank You” when good things happened. It felt like the natural thing to do. I began to see the growth I was getting from the tough times. I said thank you there, too. I stopped taking credit for my life. I gave effort and gave up outcomes. I left the outcomes up to my God.
AA taught me a lot of this stuff but now my Higher Power is God. Not an Old Testament angry and judgmental God. A New Testament, loving me and wanting the best or me God.
Christian means simply that I want to follow the example of Christ. I want to be more like Him. That is not easy.
Buddha is also a great leader for many to follow. Mohammed is another one. Alcoholics Anonymous is another great leader. I pretty much believe that you can become a better person by using any number of different examples of kindness and love.
Maybe your dad. Maybe your mom. Maybe your AA sponsor. Maybe your church members. Maybe the people in the rooms of AA. Maybe all of that stuff. Yes. All of that stuff. Everything that is good in this world. That is what God is to me.
I choose to follow Jesus Christ, because I have had a head start there. I know something about Jesus. I went to Bible School in the summers. It is, for me, just that simple.
I get up in the morning and I read a passage from the New Testament, and an interpretation of that reading. I read a daily thought written in a book of C.S. Lewis quotes from his books. (That makes my brain hurt) Then I read two pages of “The Sermon On The Mount,” by Emmet Fox. (I got to the end of Sermon on the Mount. Now I read from a prayer book) Three Christian readings. There is so much Christian literature. I sought. I keep seeking.
And yes. I have my doubts about Christianity. All Christians have their doubts about Christianity. How can they not? There is lots of unbelievable stuff there! A wavering Faith does not make me a hypocrite. That makes me human. I have plenty of doubts about science, too, and I still use science in my life to make it better. I use Christianity in the same manner. I let my doubts coexist with my Faith. My doubts have become less important. My Faith has become more important.
How has this happened? The same way anything in life improves.
Want to play the piano? Practice. Want to be a quarterback? Throw the football. Want to write? Write. Want to paint? Paint.
Want to have more Faith. Practice. Read about your God. Act the way your God wants you to act. Treat others the way you wish to be treated. Love others. Practicing Love grows Faith.
So. I choose to be Christian. I choose to practice Christianity to the best of my ability. Do I give up AA? Hell no! (Yes. I can say “Hell” and still be Christian. At least so far! 😉) AA is my church. AA is built on Christianity, but accepts everyone. The Book of James and The Sermon On The Mount was used to guide AA’s early years.
So. Now I hope you understand.
Stuff has started happening to me. God stuff. I hiked for two days with a new friend on the AT… his name is Vagabond. Turns out, he is a Christian Pastor! He told me when we said good bye.
He followed that with, “You know, when I am out hiking, I don’t lead with that “pastor” fact about myself out here. Sometimes I meet overzealous or under zealous hikers. It gets in the way of my experience.”
I get that.
I don’t want to be an overzealous or under zealous type. Please God, help me to stay right in the middle of the herd. It’s the ones in the front and the ones in the back that get eaten by the lions. My AA sponsor Charlie Six always told me that. It’s very good advice.
I love these sunlight streaming photos. They give my Faith a nudge. Like. Just stop for a second and love. Love your surroundings. Love the people you are with. Just Love.
* I wrote this nearly 2 years ago. I kept it in a file of drafts for just the right time. There is no “right” time. 🙂