Issue 6 - August, 1999

A Way of Life
Life On Life's Terms
The Texas Dust Bowl
What might have been -- Steps One, Two and Three
How it Was
One More Coincidence
The Moral Issue
Thinkers Anonymous
AA
Public Notice
The Sculptor's Attitude
The Cracked Pot
One-Liners

 

A Way of Life

I heard that if I would just let go of the old ways with all the earnestness at my command - If I would continue the journey that I started the day I attended my first meeting of AA - The 12 Steps and 12 Traditions and the Prayers of the program would be given to me as a gift for a new life.

I certainly was not looking for a new life. I thought you people would just repair the old one, give me a few tips to control the black outs and make my problems go away.

Alcohol had taken me down a path that changed my perceptions, arrested my growth and made life unbearable. Alcohol had been my way to escape reality, to escape my own fears, and to feed my selfish desires which had grown to unobtainable proportions. Self pity had set in to such an extent that I did not even notice those around me moving farther away from me - moving away for their own sanity. I had felt such a loneliness when I arrived, I was empty, cold, helpless and hopeless.

I brought - sometimes dragged - the body to AA meetings until my mind started following. I started surrendering to this simple program of recovery.

The first leg of my journey was the discovery of Hope. Maybe, just maybe I had found a program that could help me. After all, you did solve the black outs with one simple tip: don't take the first drink! And as for my other problems, you have taught me to live One Day At A Time.

Along my journey, the these words of the fellowship became the truth for me: The steps are a way to a faith that works. With them, a new way of living began. I learned that I had to be honest, to accept what I was, to accept that no human power could remove my obsession, and to ask a Higher Power for help from the depth of my soul. I learned that to live sober I needed to move into a process of discovering who I really am with all my defects, old pre-conceived ideas, and to become ready to have God remove those defects of character which hinder my life, causing problems to myself and others, removing my selfish, self-will-run-riot attitudes.

I began trusting my sponsor enough to share with her my real thoughts and feelings, instead of trying to live up to everybody else's expectation of me, or my own false expectation of myself. With her help, I embarked on a healing of old wounds. Resentments where my enemy. Self-pity had to go, else the old life would flood back in. I had to have the willingness to go to any length to recover from a hopeless state of body and mind. No simple feat.

It has been a real education in living, and I have practical ways to guide me in my daily living: Don't Drink. Go To Meetings. Work the Steps. Get a sponsor who has some patience (I'm still learning to have patience with myself. It's been a slow process). Find the willingness to accept the things I cannot change, ask for the courage to change the things I can, inside my own skin.

With the help of God you AA folks, I'm finding the wisdom to handle life, with all its joys, sorrows and adversity. I make mistakes, but all my experiences have taught me something about facing reality.

I love the promise, "We will intuitively know how to handle situations that used to baffle us." As long as I don't let pride get in my way and ask for help, it comes true. I'm not the big "I" anymore, it's "WE."

I am so very grateful for the life I have today. With my dependence on God I have found a new independence. Instead of making everyone else responsible for me, I hope I have become responsible. Living in the solution rather than the problem, I have been given the gift of a New Way of Life - a life that is to be enjoyed not endured: "Happy, Joyous and Free!" One day at a time I can meet challenges of life head-on instead of head-down. As we understand God, may God bless you all.

Love & Peace

Rosemary

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Life On Life's Terms

I am an alcoholic and my name is Katherine.

I don't understand social drinking and, to the best of my knowledge, I never tried social drinking. There is no denying the obsession and compulsion I had for alcohol.  I know that if I picked up a drink today the obsession and compulsion would overpower me and I would drink until I passed out.

I do not doubt my allergic reaction to alcohol but, today, I don't fear alcohol.  I have accepted a power greater than myself and turned my life over to "His" care.  Today, I experience calmness instead of calamity when I am "God-conscious".

My journey before this miraculous change was quite the learning experience. I was an emotionally crippled mess who hid her feelings and kept secrets all her life.  How I viewed my childhood, and the feelings and pain I absorbed, drove my future actions.  I couldn't learn how to live.  I wasn't willing to look at the pain - even with help.  The loneliness and my resentments crippled me.  I repeated the same actions endlessly, expecting different outcomes.  But they were always the same - nightmares from my past, my present and my future.  False Expectations About Reality (FEAR) ruled my life.

God kept me as safe as could be under all circumstances I provoked.  I had certainly carved my future through my past actions.  My will kept me from breaking through to freedom.  My diseased mind and spirit slowly distorted the many basic God-given principles and morals that I had been given. The last geographical trip to Hell was a turning point in my life.  I moved back to the town where I had lived most of my life in and proceeded to do some more serious drinking. Alas I found my bottom.....

Katherine

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The Texas Dust Bowl

I was born in the Texas "dust bowl" in 1930.  It was  called "The Great Depression" in the U.S.  I don't remember anything "great" about it, but nothing, then or for the next forty years, seemed or stayed great for very long. My father had lost a leg in a cotton mill accident at about the time I was born.  He was on the bottle during the times I can remember.

I was taken to an orphanage when I was five years old.  I was adopted by a farm couple whose six year old son had died a year before they got me. They had also lost their farm, and everything they owned, because of the depression.  I was unable to replace the son they had lost. Depression seemed to stay with them until they died.

Over the years, doctors tried to treat MY depression with the newly discovered tranquilizer drugs.  Alcohol seemed to do the job pretty well at times.  My second, ten year marriage was breaking up when a doctor, who had been prescribing huge dosages of Thorozine, told me that he had been going to open AA meetings for a year and it had helped him even though he didn't even drink. He said he didn't think I was alcoholic, but open meetings could help me find a new way to live.  I discovered, at that first meeting, that I was an alcoholic and could not manage my own affairs. I didn't drink for over five months and began working the steps but, on Valentine's Day, my former wife, whom I loved as much as an alcoholic can, turned me down for someone else. I went back to: "What's the use!" and drank again.

I left that small town after that one night of drinking and have stayed clean and sober since  2/14/1971.  I had a great fear, though, of abruptly stopping the 1000 mg of Thorozine that I had been taking daily.  My doctor was reluctant to let me stop it, too.  My sponsor took me to a hospital where a doctor was working with this kind of problem. It wasn't easy, but I did it.

I was very bitter. I was always trying new things, different jobs, new towns, new women. I could never remain even reasonably happy for any length of time. I had a serious problem with a god.  My adopted parents were convinced that only those in their religious denomination would be saved, and several others believed the same about theirs.  The kind of things that did make sense to me were like this story:

"A story was told to me about a carload of wild teens who were driving down the switchbacks on a mountain side. Watching from the other side of the valley, the storyteller saw a school bus loaded with children lumbering up the same road.  Suddenly, he saw the school bus pull over and the driver got out to look at his flat tire. The teens screamed by, and would have hit the bus, had the bus driver, now very angry at having a flat and not even noticing the teens, not stopped to fix the flat tire."

The man who told this story said that God must have been watching, just like the storyteller, and intervened, just as God often does in our lives. Another one I liked was about three gods who were trying to hide happiness from man. Said the first, "Let's hide it on the top of the highest mountain". The next god said, "We could hide it in the deepest part of the ocean." The next god said, "Man would find them in either of those places. I think we should hide happiness deep inside man himself.  He'll never find it there."

God and I have a wonderful relationship now. I live alone but am never lonely. After having some children of my own, I understand how my adoptive parents could be bitter, and not accept me as a suitable substitute. They had seen their son gradually die over a long period of time.  I can only imagine their pain. I have finally been able to forgive what I had once believed was a careless disregard of my needs.

Jim
Fort Worth, Texas

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What might have been -- Steps One, Two and Three

My name is Brice and I am grateful to be a recovering alcoholic, perhaps one with an overactive imagination!

From the Ottawa Citizen, February 1995...

"A single car accident at midnight yesterday took the life of Ottawa resident, Brice B.  Mr. B's car apparently went out of control, hitting a concrete abutment at the Parkdale exit on the Queensway.  Police investigating the scene estimated that the car was travelling at 150 kilometers per hour at impact.  Mr. B. had left Friday's Roast Beef House about half an hour before the accident.  'He was a regular here', said a customer who asked to remain anonymous.  Another observed that while Mr. B. usually left the bar 'with what I'd call a glow on, he had been drinking a bit more than usual that evening'.  'He was a bit unsteady on his feet when he left', said an acquaintance, 'and he seemed a bit incoherent.   You know - we all get that way sometimes.  I guess he'd had a bad day, what with the bankruptcy and all.' Other regular customers noted that Mr. B. had been recently depressed following the loss of his job and the break up of his marriage. The investigation continues."

By the Grace of God as I understand Him, that article was never written - at least, one day at a time -not yet.  But every single word in it was very plausible indeed six years ago, before AA and I mysteriously came together. I know many people to whom everything but the car crash happened - some of them are the individual miracles in the rooms of AA.  For some, the car crash or its equivalent was also part of the story: those who were not as fortunate as we are.

I have called this essay "what might have been" and to this alcoholic nothing could be more appropriate as for much of my 35 year drinking career I was consumed with regrets and resentments for the past - for what I had missed out on - never my own doing - for what should have been and would have been but for the obstacles put in my path by others...never by myself for course I was never wrong.  As my drinking career progressed, I regressed into the past more and more - and in the latter years - the last 10 or so, developed a new trait - not satisfied with wallowing around in things I could not change, I increasingly began to fear the things I could not know: the future.  In this peculiar state, my drinking became heavier and heavier: with one leg in the trap of the past and the other paralyzed by fear of the future, the present didn't exist at all, except as time available to drink and cultivate resentments and anger about the known and unknowable.

In 1990 my father died of kidney disease directly related to alcohol: he had been on dialysis for ten years. (When he would visit we would polish off a bottle of Scotch together just before I'd take him to the hospital for his 'cleansing'.)  Throughout all of this, while I would certainly admit to enjoying a drink, I never thought that booze was a problem.  That this delusion could have persisted for so long despite trouble at home , on the job and with all interpersonal relationships (someone else's fault of course) - is testimony to the insanity which goes along with the disease. In the last few years of my drinking career I became a virtual recluse-I pretty much had to as I had given up drinking and driving (one smart move anyway), and I concentrated on very long liquid lunches and continued to drink myself into a stupor when I got home - my wife was usually in bed early as she knew that arguments would almost invariably follow if she stayed up to keep me company in what was my egocentric, myopic self pity - my misery.

I came across the following note a few years ago when I was looking around for income tax stuff -

"I do hereby attest to the fact that having had too much to drink, the criticisms which I may offer of my wife, or the arguments which we may have are entirely of my own design in an unbalanced state and should be ignored, or understood as an aggressive expression coming from frustration with either my incompetence or my inability to deal with forces beyond my control".

The note was dated 3 November 1983. So many years before I admitted to having a problem-to being an alcoholic. Obviously at that time I had no inclination to change anything, to address any real issues-I simply wanted to continue to drink and be excused for the misbehavior which I knew would follow.  (I never gave the note to my wife, though she is certainly aware of it as she "inputted" this article for me.)

After my father's death, I continued to drink for another three years, amidst increasing professional and personal wreckage.  And then a miracle occurred, and it was a miracle, for I had been constitutionally incapable of asking anyone for help all my adult life, and my credo was that anything that had to be done I could do by myself.  Calling AA was an impossibility - I knew nothing about it except that I certainly wouldn't want to have anything to do with people who had a problem they couldn't deal with. Well, something made me pick up the phone and slur out a weak, stammering call for help. And help I got which I now believe was the work of my Higher Power, which I now call God, as I understand Him.  And one day at a time things got better.  I began to accept the past and to live in the present. While I'm still pestered by concerns for the future, a meeting, a reading, a conversation with an AA always seems to bring peace and an awareness of the reality: that today is all any of us has.

On April 6, 1999 I retired from the Public Service of Canada.  Instead of that ominous article which began this piece and which could so easily have been written, my boss sent the following note to all staff in my Department:

"As many of you now know, Brice B, Director General, Portfolio Executive Services will be leaving the Public Service of Canada on April 6, 1999.  He leaves Government after 29 years of unstinting public service.  Brice has been a stellar performer of this Department for many years and he will be missed. I know that you join me in wishing him all the very best in the future."

Of course, he then goes on to say who will take over - Alas!  I was not irreplaceable!  (Though for a long time I was terminally unique!)

Am I showing a lack of humility in quoting from my Deputy Minister's letter?  Perhaps. But I am proud of the note on which I am leaving .  Much more important, the only way this could have happened was with me sober and the only way I can be sober is through AA.  So pride, yes, but foremost, gratitude to my Higher Power, who I now call God, as I understand Him, by whose Grace I found AA.

It wouldn't be honest for me to stop here without noting that the decision to retire was the most difficult decision I have ever made.  I am certainly fearful about the future - is it green grass or a wasteland?  Am I re-tiring or re-treading?  I don't know the answers to these questions, but I am no longer ashamed to admit to fear and I am no longer ashamed to ask for help - it has always come, thanks to all of you. And one day at a time, if I do my bit, it will always come - even if I don't understand how  that happens. This article has been about my experience with the first three steps, and I'll leave you with an AA story, having to do with the third step: "Made a decision to turn our life and our will over to the care of God as we understand Him". An AA and God are in a rowboat - God at the tiller and AA rowing - progress is good, but the AA is sweating and God seems to be taking it easy.  AA asks God if he could take over the tiller - certainly is His reply.  So they change places...and go nowhere at all.  The AA is frustrated and asks God what's going on - God replies - "Well, of your free will you have taken the tiller...but I don't do rowing...." Steps one, two, three:  acceptance, faith, Thy will not mine be done and with a bit of rowing, what will be will be.

Cheers
Brice

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How it Was

One of the first suggestions given me in my early sobriety was an excellent one.  I was told that every morning, when I awaken, to thank my Higher Power for that night's rest and ask for help in my helplessness to stay sober for that day.  Then I was to spend some time in thinking about the simple rewards of sobriety: waking up in my own bed; not being sick with the dry heaves; no fear as to where my car was or that the telephone might ring informing me about some horrible incident of the night before; knowing where I was and where I had been; being able to look out the window and enjoy the sight of green grass or white snow.  Following this, I was to arise and face the day certain of the fact that if I followed the directions given me by Alcoholics Anonymous, made contact with other members, and placed my trust in the God of my understanding, I would receive the gift of another day of sobriety. For this I was and am very grateful.

Recently I began to think about another huge reason for gratitude.  We who are sober within the Fellowship of AA should be thankful that we live in a time where the treatment of the alcoholic is different than in the past. Having lived a long time, 84 years in July of this year, I remember very well the days prior to the entrance of AA in our world. It  was not an easy time to live for anyone who was alcoholic.

My memory goes back to a small county seat town in Minnesota where I attended High School.  It seemed that everyone in town talked about three of the inhabitants who were termed "drunks". Jimmy was the "town drunk". He spent most of his time in the county jail simply for being drunk in public. I remember him walking down the street screaming insults at the one local policeman who then took him by the collar and placed him in his cell. He was called the "town drunk" and everyone laughed at him.

Our second drunk and topic for conversation was Don. This drunk was a successful business man who went on wild benders. They were so numerous, he was sent to one of our State Insane Asylums, the name used for mental hospitals then.  Each asylum had small wards for "inebriate" men and women. Within these wards the alcoholics were under constant lock-up, and sometimes punishment for a small violation such as not having one's cot made up correctly was transfer to a  ward for the violent mentally ill. Alcoholics came back from such places with pale faces and eyes filled with terror. Sitting on his bunk one day, Don had a  strange religious experience and, after being released, never took another drink of alcohol. John,the third drunk living in my memory was a rough, hard working railroad man whose bouts with the bottle were repeated over and over again. Suddenly, after an experience within a church, John no longer drank alcohol. He left his railroad job, became the church janitor, and attended every service held at the church.

The drunks of my memory remind me that prior to Alcoholics Anonymous, the only place for drunks seemed to be jails and state insane asylums.  Once in a great while, a drunk would have a religious or spiritual experience and suddenly stop using alcohol, but such occurrences were few and far between. The others were scorned, laughed at, cursed, and considered to be weak willed and without character.  Many died in jails and insane asylums. How fortunate we are to live today when alcoholics may find joy and freedom from fear in sober lives lived within Alcoholics Anonymous.

Alf S
St.Cloud, MN

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One More Coincidence

Soon after I moved here, my sponsor asked me if I had gotten into action in AA in this area,I said,"not yet. The right person has not fallen in my path."

I am a nurse. That night I worked in an intensive care unit, and one of the hearts on the monitor needed attention. I picked up the chart. Under allergies, it said "alcohol".As I checked the patient I asked him if he was a friend of Bill W., and he gave me his card ,which introduced me to AA's H&I [hospital and institution] work in our area.

On my first visit to his panel in a prison, he told the men he met me in bed but neglected to say he was the only person in the bed.I have my own panel now, at a hospital, and the nurse in charge is the same nurse who was with me in the hospital when it all began for me. I sit at my desk looking through the palm trees as I write. If we work the Steps the Big Book promises,"we will know how to handle situations that used to baffle us".I have been given an understanding of each patient as I stand at each bedside.God has given me the gift of helping others,and my Twelfth Step work has been a joy.Indeed ,I meet each day with joy, waiting to see what my Higher power has in store for me. Betty B
Santa Ana, Calif

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The Moral Issue

I didn't accept the disease concept of alcoholism until the end of my first year in AA. I would declare I was an alcoholic, but deep down inside felt I was a bad person.

I would hear recovering alcoholic women say," We are not bad people trying to get good. We are sick people trying to get well." I thought they were just saying that to help themselves feel better. I saw it as a failure to take responsibility. Of course, I didn't share these thoughts with anyone as I felt they were entitled to their beliefs. I am sharing them now as there may be a woman or two who feels she is really bad, not sick.

After I had learned to listen and listened to learn, I came to believe that Alcoholism was a three-fold disease. It had nearly destroyed my spirit, body and mind.

I learned that I must take responsibility for my behavior while drinking. As a mother, I needed to take responsibility for the harm I had inflicted on my children. I was obviously not much of a wife or daughter while drinking. Self-absorption had isolated me from those who loved me unconditionally.

I felt like a bad person.

Suddenly I realized I had made everything a moral issue,  not just my alcoholism.

Before the Grace of God shone on me, opening my mind and heart to the truth, I judged everything as either good or bad. I saw the world in black or white. I was close-minded,  self-centered in the extreme. I measured the world by how I experienced it, what I thought, judging everyone and everything that came across my path.

But then I had the proverbial spiritual awakening that allowed me to finally surrender to my alcoholism and my humanity. I became open to the Grace of God, as channeled through each person put in my path,  helping me to become the person I was meant to be. I could then understand I was not a bad person after all.

I am grateful I didn't leave five minutes before the miracle a continued life of sobriety brings; including the realization that we are all, in fact, sick people trying to get well.

One Day at A Time
Berg

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Thinkers Anonymous

It started out innocently enough. I began to think at parties now and then to loosen up. Inevitably though, one thought led to another, and soon I was more than just a social thinker.

I began to think alone - "to relax," I told myself - but I knew it wasn't true. Thinking became more and more important to me, and finally I was thinking all the time.

I began to think on the job. I knew that thinking and employment don't mix, but I couldn't stop myself.

I began to avoid friends at lunchtime so I could read Thoreau and Kafka. I would return to the office dizzied and confused, asking, "What is it exactly we are doing here?"

Things weren't going so great at home either. One evening I had turned off the TV and asked my wife about the meaning of life. She spent that night at her mother's.

I soon had a reputation as a heavy thinker. One day the boss called me in. He said, "Skippy, I like you, and it hurts me to say this, but your thinking has become a real problem. If you don't stop thinking on the job, you'll have to find another job." This gave me a lot to think about.

I came home early after my conversation with the boss. "Honey," I confessed, "I've been thinking..."

"I know you've been thinking," she said, "and I want a divorce!"

"But Honey, surely it's not that serious."

"It is serious," she said, lower lip aquiver. "You think as much as college professors, and college professors don't make any money, so if you keep on thinking we won't have any money!"

"That's a faulty syllogism," I said impatiently, and she began to cry.

I'd had enough. "I'm going to the library," I snarled as I stomped out the door.

I headed for the library, in the mood for some Nietzsche, with a PBS station on the radio. I roared into the parking lot and ran up to the big glass doors... they didn't open. The library was closed.

To this day, I believe that a Higher Power was looking out for me that night.

As I sank to the ground clawing at the unfeeling glass, whimpering for Zarathustra, a poster caught my eye. "Friend, is heavy thinking ruining your life?" it asked. You probably recognize that line. It comes from the standard Thinkers Anonymous poster.

Which is why I am what I am today: a recovering thinker. I never miss a TA meeting. At each meeting we watch a non-educational video; last week it was "Porky's." Then we share experiences about how we avoided thinking since the last meeting.

I still have my job, and things are a lot better at home. Life just seemed... easier, somehow, as soon as I stopped thinking.

Anon

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Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship designed and administered by a bunch of ex-drunks whose only qualifications for membership are that they can't hold their liquor and have decided they don't want to learn how. Not that they could anyway, they never could, and it's highly unlikely that they ever would.

It has no rules, dues or fees, nor anything else that any sensible organization seems to require.

At meetings, the speaker starts on one subject, winds up talking about something entirely different, and concludes by saying he doesn't know anything about the program except that it works.

The groups are always broke, yet always seems to have money to carry on.

They are always losing members but seem to grow.

They claim AA is a selfish program but they always seem to be trying to give it away and to do something for others.

Every group passes laws, rules, edicts and pronouncements that everyone blithely ignores; members who disagree with anything have the privilege to walk out in a huff, quitting forever, only to return as if nothing has happened and be greeted accordingly.

Nothing is ever planned 24 hours ahead, yet great projects are born and survive magnificently.

Nothing in AA is according to Hoyle. How can it survive?

Perhaps it is because we have learned to live and laugh at ourselves. God made man. He made laughter too. Perhaps he is pleased with our disorganized efforts and makes things right no matter who pushes the wrong button. Maybe he is pleased, not with our lack of perfection, but with our sincerity. Maybe he is pleased with our trying to be nobody but ourselves.

We don't know how it works, but it does, and members keep receiving their dividends from  their AA investments.

It is smart to be sober, and much easier, my friends, to stay sober than to get sober.

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Public Notice

The process of life is pleased to announce:YESTERDAY DIED LAST NIGHT!

As a result of this divinely ordered event, you are no longer held in bondage of what was. All dreams, goals, arrangements, and agreements are now negotiable in terms of what is. This is not to imply that you are not accountable to, or responsible for, yesterdays choices. It is to say that things can - and have - in fact changed. No further explanation is required.

All parties who intend to evolve must maintain an open mind and heart to what the new day brings. Those who insist on digging in their hells, gritting their teeth, clutching, clawing, or grabbing in an attempt to hold on, will ultimately end up where yesterday is today.

I AM NOT BOUND BY YESTERDAY!

Craig

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The Sculptor's Attitude

I woke up early today, excited over all I get to do before the clock strikes midnight. I have responsibilities to fulfill today. I am important.

My job is to choose what kind of day I am going to have.

Today I can complain because the weather is rainy or I can be thankful that the grass is getting watered for free.

Today I can feel sad that I don't have more money or I can be glad that my finances encourage me to plan my purchases wisely and guide me away from waste.

Today I can grumble about health or I can rejoice that I am alive.

Today I can lament over all that my parents didn't give me when I was growing up or I can feel grateful that they allowed me to be born.

Today I can cry because roses have thorns or I can celebrate that thorns have roses.

Today I can mourn my lack of friends or I can excitedly embark upon a quest to discover new relationships.

Today I can whine because I have to go to work or I can shout for joy because I have a job to do.

Today I can complain because I have to go to school or eagerly open my mind and fill it with rich new tidbits of knowledge.

Today I can murmur dejectedly because I have to do housework or I can feel honored because I've been provided shelter for my mind, body and soul.

Today stretches ahead of me, waiting to be shaped.

And here I am, the sculptor who gets to do the shaping. What today will be like is up to me.  I get to choose what kind of day I will have!

Have a GREAT DAY ... unless you have other plans.

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The Cracked Pot

A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master's house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water in his master's house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you." "Why?" asked the bearer. "What are you ashamed of?" "I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master's house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don't get full value from your efforts," the pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, "As we return to the master's house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path." Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure. The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot's side? That's because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you've watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master's table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house."

Each of us has our own unique flaws. We re all cracked pots.  But if we will allow it, the Lord will use our flaws to grace His Father's table. In God's  great economy, nothing goes to waste. So as we seek ways to minister together, and as God calls you to the tasks He has appointed for you, don't be afraid of your flaws. Acknowledge them, and allow Him to take advantage of them, and you, too, can be the cause of beauty in His pathway.  Go out boldly, knowing that in our weakness we find His strength, and that  "In Him every one of God's promises is a Yes".

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One-Liners

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