Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Salute to AA

Perhaps you’ve heard the term army brat… well I’m an AA kid.

Is there a finer philosophy to live a life by than Alcoholics Anonymous? Why? Because it’s the pure, unadulterated message of Jesus Christ. Humility, honesty and hope rolled in one. What’s not to like?

I still remember the day my mom joined AA.. I’d been called by my Dad who couldn’t leave work to go over to their house and let a visitor in. My mom had been in her room for days. When I opened the front door the woman brushed past me saying brusquely take me to her. She entered Mom’s bedroom and came out an hour later announcing she’d be back the next day to pick mom up and take her to a meeting. Before she left very kindly she looked at me, patted my arm and whispered in a soft tone, “It’s up to her, but she can be okay.”

My Mom started attending meetings regularly. The Serenity prayer appeared on our refrigerator door. Sure there were some setbacks like the time I attended an open meeting with her and to my utter embarrassment I realized after we arrived that she’d been drinking. I wanted to disappear through the floor when one of the leaders approached me and suggested I take her home.

The Big Book appeared on the coffee table and Mom talked about Bob and Bill as if they were immediate family members. Anyone within earshot of her heard about the twelve steps, nine of which refer to God/higher power. How fitting since in Him we live and move and have our being. Mom became a Christian for real and startled going to church. The first verse of Scripture that she learned was “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phillipians 4:13) I was sooo proud of her.

In time the constant inner panic, the fear of what condition she’d be in when I came home, the horrible dread that blanketed every holiday lifted. My Mom’s compassion and sense of humor and enthusiasm for life reappeared. The world changed within our home and a precious aura of peace appeared.

I owe much to the fine men and women of AA who helped Mom and most of all to the God power that makes the program work. Because AA does work. Bill got it right. It’s community and the power of God and sharing love and truth with others that changes minds and hearts. I’m proud to be the daughter of a deceased recovering alcoholic and salute all those who’ve carried AA’s message of hope and healing.

As I go through the motions of preparing for the celebration of this holy, holiday season, I'm mindful of the men and women fighting for their very lives in the throes of addictions and of those in hospital wards seeking to slay the monster cancer. And those facing financial woes in this economy they never dreamed possible.

Life is fraught with challenge, but in all circumstances and every generation these words still ring true: "I can do all things [that need doing] through Christ who strengthens me." There is always reason for hope and victory in Jesus Christ. And sometimes Christ relies on people like AA's founders Bill and Bob and the rest of us to make it happen.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Celebrating Marriage

I believe marriage should be celebrated well, it’s such a beautiful, tender relationship. I always like for my wedding gifts to highlight how special this union is. A financial gift in a card is great, but it seems there should be something more memorable. This is what I came up with for a dear couple recently:

Dearest Melissa and Joshua,

Your wedding is so special, as are both of you, so your gifts must be too. There are several:

Three Crosses

The crosses symbolize Christ. Hopefully, at least one will match your d├ęcor. If you like them display all three to remember the Trinity, but only one is needed. This is to be a reminder of the selfless love of Christ who gave his life for you. At times you may feel you are doing a lot of sacrificing for one another. Do it with joy, following the example set before you of perfect love.

Blessing Cups

The ceramic mugs are to be used as Blessing Cups. Once a month on the ninth day, your anniversary day, you may want to use them at your evening meal. As you drink from them, tell one another the blessings you’ve experienced the past month either together or individually.

The Blessing Cups are also Healing Cups

If you should ever have an argument, be the first to take out your Healing Cups and set them on the table as a sign you want to sit down and talk. Be sure you never let the sun go down on your anger. Work out every difference of opinion when it is still little.

Ist Anniversary Dinner

The check is for your celebration of Year One. Please cash the check, but put the money in a special place to use for a lovely dinner. And always honor this special day when you joined your lives together.

Marriage Enrichment

In about a month, you’ll be receiving a collection of my two books: 52 Ways to Keep Your Promises As A Man, Husband and Father and A Woman’s Guide and 52 Ways To Choose Happiness and Fulfillment to enrich your married life.

That's it. I signed the card with love from Wayne and I. By the way, the crosses and cups came from Hobby Lobby and were beautiful but inexpensive. I love that store. Nothing wrong with buying your own Blessing Cups if you never received any. Is there anything special you typically give as gifts to celebrate a marriage? I'd like to know.

“What God has joined together let no man break apart.”