Thursday, October 14, 2010

meine kleine kerzlein

Greetings, imaginary readers. I am sorry to have neglected you so long. But in my defense, you do not really exist. Also, I have been seeing this girl, who we will call Hello Kitty. She's very nice, and I like her a lot. Also, she speaks Japanese.

Anyway, HK and I were talking a while back about my calling. Right now I am a group leader for the church's Addiction Recovery program.

And one thing I love about being in AR is that I get to basically share my testimony, my faith in Jesus, every Thursday night. That's pretty great! And I was saying to HK how I wish she could come, just so I could share that with her. Unfortunately, the group I lead is just for men, so that's not possible.

But it occurred to me that I could blog it-- that I could write down here what I said there. So I decided to do that. And so now, two weeks later, I am finally going to give it a try. So here is one thing I have been thinking about sharing tonight at our AR group.

Tonight we are talking about step2, which is hope. In step two we come to believe that God can restore us, free us from our addictions. This is not always easy for me to believe, in large part because these patterns of thought and behavior have just been with me so long. It seems that I am always fighting myself, that my first impulses are always wrong.

For example, I have a bunch of quizzes that I told my students last week I would grade and return today. Last night I started on them, but I got tired of it and quit without finishing. I went to bed early, telling myself that I would get up early and get them done. When I woke up at 6:30, instead of getting up right away which is what I do most mornings, I went back to bed because I didn't want to work on them.

So when I got up, I told myself I would give myself a little time and then get them done in time for the big class, which meets at 11. Well, at 10, I hadn't started grading, so I said I would get them done in time for the section meeting at 3. And then I put it off a bit, and then it was lunch, and then I decided I'd better shower, and suddenly it was 1:30 and I had only 45 minutes to grade before I had to go catch the train. The whole morning had slipped away from me.

I decided to sit down and send out a quick email to let the kids know they wouldn't be getting the quizzes back today as I had promised. And my first impulse was to make an excuse, to lie to them and say that I had graded them but wanted to make sure that my scores were in line with the other TAs. I had used this excuse before, and it was plausible enough. But why lie? It doesn't make the kids any happier than the truth. They just want their quizzes back, and if they don't get them then the reason is more or less irrelevant. It's just that my impulse, honed by years and years of covering for my addictions (like procrastination!) is to lie.

So anyway, I was typing this out, and somehow my pinkie hit the stupid button on my laptop keyboard that makes the web browser go back one page. (I hate that button.) And when I went forward again, the lie I had typed was lost. And as I started typing again, I thought better of it and told them the truth. I was not handing the quizzes back today because I had not graded them. And I sent it off, and felt better.

Is that enough reason to hope? After all that disfunction, after all that self-destructive behavior, after all that indulgence of my addiction, can I find a ray of sunshine in the fact that I wrote the truth after the lie serendipitously disappeared? Yes. I have hope because I told the truth, even if it not at first. I have hope because I let myself feel bad about covering up my addiction in time enough that that guilt could motivate me toward better behavior. And I feel hope because of that providential little accidental bump of a key.

I know God is looking out for me, always. I know that he has sent his Spirit to light a little candle in my heart and show me a better path than the one I am inclined to follow. I know that each time I chose to follow that better path I become a better, happier man. And as I continue to make these choices, my inclinations change, too, through the power of Christ's love and his sacrifice.

Yay hope! Yay candle! Yay me!



Alice Wills Gold said...

John, I really really like this..except the part about me being non-existent.

I go to a 12 step class for Codependency. LG works the 12 steps for his addiction, which you will have to ask him about. But the 12 steps are awesome. The way I like to explain 12 steps is it is a step by step self help program on how to apply the atonement in your life...get yourself out of the way so that Christ can heal you.

Anyhow, thanks for the post. I love it.

And, Have you ever read the book Driven to Distraction about Adult will be floored.

Randi said...

What a beautiful post, Juanito. I loved it, and love you.

Deal with it, HK.

David said...

Proud of you, amigo.

the House of Payne said...

Thanks, everyone!

Grettle said...

I'm living proof that change occurs and can make us better over time. Be brave. Just do it now, as SWK would tell you. It save lots of back tracking to just do it now. (This from a woman who did a sudoku instead of getting up this morning. But, after nearly finishing, I discovered a mistake that meant I had to erase the whole thing and start over. I'll do that one later. Now, I am facing my computer reality.) XOX, GOP