Monday, June 30, 2014

mantras

i choose to see peace instead of this

peace begins with me

find the place within where this is possible

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

confessions of an addict: satan is real; so is choice

since February i've been in some cyclical free fall. my stress/anxiety was triggered when i began writing my project/thesis for my Masters program and i binge ate for the first time in over a year. then i went to my first OA meeting. i was fine for a few weeks and then another deadline hit and i binged. this pattern happened over and over...and over for four months.

i've felt great shame and embarrassment. i've felt guilt. i've also felt safe as i've met new friends who see who i am now and who i was a year ago, and a year and a half ago and they are amazed. i forget about the progress i've made. yes i've struggled over the past four months. i've struggled more than anyone other than my journal or God may ever know. but support and moments of brightness have popped up to bring reprieve from the struggle with satan. they have popped up to help me see the strength of my own personal choice.

these moments of support have come from friends, roommates, counselors, mentors, peers and spiritual leaders. God has truly had His hand in my life as these individuals have shared their grace with me.

when i got my mission call two and a half weeks ago to Arizona Tucson it didn't even cross my mind the war that satan would wage on me. that he would kick up his efforts even more to drag me down. and it didn't take me until tonight to see how dark the past two weeks have been on account to satan's efforts and my choice to listen to him over the voice of the Savior. yep. i've been listening to the darker side of my soul. not a good place for a recovering addict to be.

monday i prayed for forgiveness. i tried to pray to feel something. and the lyrics to 'my kindness shall not depart from thee' came to my mind. "for a little while have i forsaken thee. but with great mercies will i gather thee. in a little wrath i hid my face from thee. for a moment. ... though thine afflictions seem at times to great to bear. i know thine every thought and every care. and though the very jaws of hell gape after thee i am with thee. and with everlasting mercy will i succor thee..."

the reality of satan has never been a stranger to me. however, the reality that choice plays in my ability to handle satan is more real in my life. i do forget though, my natural man gives up though my spirit seems to consistently cling to light. sometimes i consciously choose things that are not for my good because i chose them. sometimes i was triggered and then i 'wake-up' with slight recollection of what i did or what happened. my own post black-out.

tonight in a recovery meeting someone shared about their bottom. about how they just went from fix to fix and kept going because their brain said they needed it. needed to keep the high going. needed this level of ecstasy. this rang so true to my core. i know that feeling, sensation, hunger deep in the pit of my stomach. it usually can keep it contained.

i'm grateful for the few people in my life who get it. who i can talk to. who ask about it. i'm grateful for meetings where people share and i can relate. i'm grateful for the spiritual highs i've felt today. for the love i've felt in my loneliness bc i've shared love with people around me. i'm grateful for the deep, cleansing breath i took tonight. it felt like the first breath i have taken in four months.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

lessons from les mis

I've written about this amazing show before. It is definitely time to write about it again. I went to go and see LesMiz on Broadway three weeks ago. It was a dream fulfilled to see the show on Broadway, to see it with one of my dearest friends. Probably the friend who knows my soul in the best and truest way.

LesMiz is about so many things, but one theme that is consistent throughout the story is the impact of love and God's role in that love. There is the love that the Bishop shows Val Jean; the love Val Jean passes on to Fantine and Cosette; Marius' love for Fantine; Enjolras' love for country and his fellow men; Javert's love for justice and his perception of God...and so much more.

Ramin Karimloo portrayed Val Jean in this version of LesMiz. And while I could write forever about the intricacies and subtleties about what made his performance beautiful and meaningful to me, there were three specific stand out moments to me.

One thing that I took away from this time is the relationship that Val Jean has with God. True to the part where the Bishop says he bought Val Jean's soul for God; Val Jean spends the rest of his life trying to serve Him.
When Val Jean sings Bring Him Home, he is truly having this conversation with God. There is this conversation going on on stage that has the personal-ness of talking to an old friend. At one moment Val Jean points to God almost as if saying, "you better keep your word." The intimacy of a relationship with the Lord is truly one that I admire and took much from personally. You can see the moment in this trailer for the show.

There is another moment, with those of you familiar with the show, when Cosette and Marius are to be married. Val Jean confesses his life to Marius as he asks him to take care of Cosette. As Marius asks what he is supposed to tell Cosette since Val Jean is leaving, Val Jean tell him to tell her he has gone on a trip. What got me here though was the look on Marius' face. He looked half disgusted half angry with Val Jean. In the versions I have seen before, I have never seen this, or felt it. The emotion shook me. Val Jean, a repentant man, was being discarded, in a way, by his soon to be family. He was left alone on the stage and alone in my heart. I saw a man who turned his life around, was living in such faith, devotion and discipleship to God and he was utterly alone in the physical world. Discipleship is and will be a lonely road. The lesson to me though was that no matter how physically alone we are, God is always there. He is always there. He will always be there. He is there in the love that we show and give and see but may never get in return. But He is there for us. I saw that personified in this show that speaks to my soul in a different way every time. I am so grateful for this experience.