March 13, 2015
We are continuing our topic series based on the spiritual principles found in each of the 12 Steps; this past Friday’s topic was Step 5: Integrity. The patients seem to be enjoying this series of topics, especially those patients who feel spiritually lost. They are a comfortable and safe place for them to meet their Higher Power.
I played the song “Like It’s the Only One You’ve Got” by 3 Doors Down, which offers a perfectly beautiful message. The favorite lyric for all of us: “Your mistakes do not define you; they tell you who you’re not.”
We spoke about this idea from the “Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions”: “…it amounts to a clear recognition of what and who we are, followed by a sincere attempt to become what we could be…” and “…we shall get rid of that terrible sense of isolation…”
In small groups, the patients shared their thoughts:
- “Spirituality isn’t just our relationship with G-d; it’s our relationship with others too.”
- “Integrity is about my life being comfortable and feeling OK in my own skin.”
- “Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking.”
- When asked how they could use integrity and honesty to encourage another in the group, a patient turned to his father and said, “Dad I pray for you to forgive yourself.”
We then discussed our “If” Questions:
Q: If you could say which of your emotions has grown deeper as you’ve gotten older what would you say?
Q: If you could finish this statement, how would you? “I love my life when…”
A: I’m with people who love me back.
Q: If you could rid yourself of one burden in life what would it be?
Q: If you could think of something for 15 minutes a day simply to better yourself, what would you think?
A: I would think of the sound of my children on Christmas morning.
I wanted to end the session with a lovely reading:
“A rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet.” (Shakespeare)
No matter what we call ourselves, no matter what other people have called us, no matter what they may have written about us, we are forever children of G-d. We can call the rose a tulip, but it will still smell as sweet as a rose. People may call you a failure, a loser, a bad child, a rotten person or many other painful names. You can choose to think these things about yourself, but it doesn’t alter the fact that you are a child of G-d.
It’s never too late to begin anew. No matter what we have done yesterday…we can turn to our Higher Power today. We can discard any ideas about ourselves that tell us we are other than a child of G-d. Once we make a list of our old ideas and then discard them, we can enter the realm of our new nature.
In your travels today, try to go by a rose garden or a flower shop. Stop and look at the roses. See in them the permanency of G-d’s work. Know that nothing can take away a rose’s fragrant smell.
Tonight, look deeply into your heart. Pierce the veil of illusion and give up those old ideas about yourself. G-d is in you.
- Sandy Beach
Reverend Laurie Durgan