The Prodigal Son / The Loving Father ~ Book Excerpt ~ 11

Coming to his senses

Coming to his senses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prodigal Son (b) Rembrandt's  Return of the Prodigal Son 1662 The Prodigal Son (1) Pompeo Batoni (1773)

 

 

Home Coming!

Home Coming!

The Prodigal Son / The Loving Father

With one of my usernames on a recovery blog site being “prodigal returned,” I cannot not comment on today’s Twenty-Four Hours A Day reflection. Yes, I have squandered my Father’s resources, indulged in “riotous living” and ended up sleeping with the pigs, longing to go home, not even worthy to be called a son, but just wanting a place to call home. Certainly one of my favorite sections in Scripture is this portion in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 15. This solid-gold chapter includes three “lost but found” parables about the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son.

One of the most difficult things we will ever do in recovery, and in life, is to humble ourselves, push away our pride, and deal with our resentments by making amends. The only way we can truly do that is to remember where we have come from. We can forgive another and ask for forgiveness because we have been forgiven.

Thankfully, and grace-fully, these words are not so much about the lost son as about the loving father, who welcomed his ragged, smelly son home after watching and waiting for him for so long. It was right that he should celebrate and have a huge feast because his son, who was spiritually dead, is now alive! He was lost and is now found! It doesn’t matter that his son’s self-righteous older brother hated him and could not understand such unconditional love.

In 12-Step language, we could say that the older brother still has not completed Step 1, as he is failing to realize his own life is unmanageable and out of control through his prejudice and self-righteousness. He cannot move on to Steps 2 and 3 and come to know a God who loves him no matter what he‘s done or where he‘s been sleeping. The loving father understands, forgives, heals, and welcomes his resurrected son home.

 AA Thought for the Day

The Prodigal Son “took his journey into a far country and wasted his substance with riotous living.” That’s what we alcoholics do. We waste our substance with riotous living. “When he came to himself, he said: “I will arise and go to my father.” That’s what you do in AA. You come to yourself. Your alcoholic self is not your real self. Your sane, sober, respectable self is your real self. That’s why we alcoholics are so happy in AA.

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 Have I come to myself? 

 

Think About Such Things . . .

"The always juggled heart between fire and ice . . ."

“The always juggled heart between fire and ice . . .”

The apostle Paul has a powerful and practical verse in Philippians 4:8-9b:  

 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things………And the God of peace will be with you.

escorting leah at her wedding

Walking my daughter Leah down the isle at her wedding!

This post is simply a combination of things to “think on” such as beautiful photos, phrases, and thoughts. In such a world of violence and non-stop inundation by the media, we need to think on things that empower and inspire us as well. And, there is a blessing attached in this verse to such thinking, meditating, and reflecting: “….the God of peace will be with you.” 

Blessings on your ‘thinking’………..Ken.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Our granddaughter Nora Jean (12-8-10)

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Holy Land Pilgrimage. In front of the Treasury Building with Joan on camels in Petra, Jordan.

Holy Land Pilgrimage. In front of the Treasury Building with Joan on camels in Petra, Jordan. (2006)

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6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.. 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (2 Corinthians 4:6-7)

6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.. 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
(2 Corinthians 4:6-7)

“Peace of Mind”

“Everybody wants p-e-a-c-e….peace of mind.” (Loggins and Messina). 

Trying to get my confirmation students to open and read their Bibles on occasion, I would ask them:  “How often would you open and read your Bible if  every time you did a fresh, five dollar bill would appear???? Duhhhhh??? Yes, a no-brainer. How about you? How about me??? And it doesn’t have to be a bible, it can be any kind of inspirational book that encourages you to let the light shine through you in a greater way—reflected words that give you a little extra strength to let go and let God.

This was my experience this morning, and almost every morning that I live out my New Year’s resolution to read at least 5 devotional readings throughout the week. Earlier this week, I caught myself singing the great bluesy-song “Peace of Mind” by Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina. I hadn’t thought of that song for years, but there it was, encouraging me, almost sub-consciously; I was lightly humming the tune and that was it. This morning I turned to one of my readings and there, serendipitously and synchronistically, it was, “Peace of Mind.” Let me quote this short reading:

“‘Tis peace of mind, lad, we must find.”  (Theocritus.)

What could be more valuable than peace of mind? With it, no other valuables are necessary.  Without it, all the  valuables in the world aren’t enough. Truly, no human condition is more desirable.  All languages have words for the profound sense of serenity that is peace of mind.  Liberians talk about peace of mind in words that literally mean, “My heart sits down.” In other parts of Africa, peace of mind is called a “body song” or “where the cool water runs.”  In any tongue, the sentiment is the same.

Peace of mind isn’t something we go out and get.  It’s the result of something we do and keep on doing.  Peace is the reward for turning our lives and our wills over to the care of God as we understand Him, so we can do what is necessary.  When our response to shame is not a food binge, the afterglow is peace of mind; when we want to run from a relationship but don’t, we have earned the sensation of peace; when we want to hide but we extend a heart and hand, we have won peace.

Today, I will prepare myself to receive peace of mind.  I will thank God in advance for giving it to me. 

(From, Days of Healing, Days of Joy)

So, how many crisp, clean, freshly minted five dollar bills am I going to collect this week? How about you?  Blessings, and Peace of Mind………Ken.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yr3B2V1RC8M

New Years Resolutions??? Keeping it Simple, Keeping it Real!

 

 

There’s a lot of hype surrounding the beginning of a new year and the annual question of making resolutions. There was a time in my non-growing-slowly-self-destructing-years that I would curse the thought of any kind of resolutions that were doomed to fail through lack of discipline and unrealistic expectations. I would look at it as a big joke:

new years joke 2 like i won't screw that up right awaynew years joke 3

     Fitness centers must be drooling on this New Year beginning knowing how many people will join and only a minority will stick it out………But I’ve changed. There’s ongoing healing, hope, wisdom, understanding and joy in living each day, growing in seeing the simplest of occurrences as miracles and sources of wonder.

     Therefore, I do have New Year’s  resolutions, but they are simple and all that I need: 

1) To pray daily that I may be able to live as much in the present as possible, not fearful from the past or anxious about the future—to have that child-like wonder, not missing the mysteries of all that surrounds me;

2) To be able to read at least 5 life-giving readings a week from a host of tried and true sources, and stay as open as possible to new material that will be given me when I need it the most. With these two resolutions I believe I will be sustained and blessed to both hear and act for my growth and others.

    To this end, and since I have this New Year’s day off with more time for reflection and sharing, let me give you three reflections I read this morning for this New Years beginning. Take what works and leave the rest.

      The first is from Melody Beattie’s book, ‘The Language of Letting Go’ (Hazelden, 1990)

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    The New Year: January 1st ~  Make New Year’s goals. Dig within, and discover what you would like to have happen in your life this year.  This helps you do your part.  It is an affirmation that you’re interested in fully living life in the year to come.  Goals give us direction.  They put a powerful force into play on a universal, conscious, and subconscious level.  Goals give our life direction.

   What would you like to have happen in your life this year?  What would you like to do, to accomplish?  What good would you like to attract into your life?  What particular areas of growth would you like to have happen to you?  What blocks, or character defects, would you like to have removed?  What would you like to attain?  Little things and big things?  Where would you like to go? What would you like to have happen in friendship and love?  What would you like to have happen in your family life? 

     Remember, we aren’t controlling others with our goals–we are trying to give direction to our life.  What problems would you like to see solved” What decisions would you like to make?  What would you like to happen in your career?”  What would you like to see happen inside and around you?  Write it down. Take a piece of paper, a few hours of your times, and write it all down–as an affirmation of you, your life, and your ability to choose. Then let it go.  Certainly, things happen that are out of our control.  Sometimes, these events are pleasant surprises; sometimes, they are of another nature.  But they are all part of the chapter that will be this year in our life and will lead us forward in the story.  The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written.  We can help write that story by setting goals.

    Today, I will remember that there is a powerful force motivated by writing down goals.  I will do that now, for the year to come, and regularly as needed.  I will do it not to control but to do my part in living my life.

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My second January 1st reading is from Earnie Larsen and Carol Larsen Hegarty’s book, “Days of Healing, Days of Joy” (Hazelden, 1987).

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 “You are loved. If so, what else matters? –Edna St. Vincent Millay

     It is a critical task of recovery to get our priorities in order and keep them that way.  Sometimes as we trudge the path of recovery, we find that our priorities have gotten out of whack.  We can overextend ourselves in our efforts to learn to play, exercise, develop a prayer life, or acquire some of the material things what may have been missing from our lives for so many years.

As worthwhile as all of these efforts may be, they all work toward the same goal of helping us be people more capable of love.  If we are truly loved and capable of functioning in loving relationships, what else really matters?  What else is there?  We may never have all the things we once thought were justly owed us, we may never be as able to play as we think we should, we many never know all we think we should know.  But if we are able to glory in and share in the love around us, then we shall have found the key which makes life worth living. What’s important to me is changing.  My wants are becoming fewer as I realize that my needs are already met.

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Lastly, a unique book composed of what some may refer to as stories of fate or coincidence, while other would call them miracles. Hence the title: “Small Miracles, Extraordinary Coincidences from Everyday Life” by Yitta Halberstam and Judith Leventhal (1997, Adams Media Corporation).

 small miracles

     Allen Falby, an El Paso Country Highway patrolman, and Alfred smith, a businessman, met for the first time on a hot June night when Falby crashed his motorcycle.  He was racing down the road to overtake a speeding truck when the vehicle slowed down to make a turn. Unaware that the truck was slowing, Falby slammed full throttle into its tailgate.  The crack-up demolished the cycle and nearly amputated one of Galby’s legs. 

    As he lay in agony on the pavement, a pool of blood began to form beneath his shattered limb.  He had ruptured an artery in his leg and was bleeding to death.  It was then that fate brought Falby and Smith together.  Smith had been driving home along the road when he saw the accident.  Shaken but alert, he was out of his car and bending over the badly injured man almost before the sound of the impact died on the night air.  Smith wasn’t a doctor but could see what had to be done for the dying patrolman.  Whipping of his tie, Smith quickly bound Falby’s leg in a crude tourniquet.  It worked.  The flow of blood slackened to a trickle and then stopped entirely  When the ambulance arrived a few minutes later, Smith learned for the first time that he had saved Falby’s life. 

     Five years later, around Christmas, Falby was on highway night patrol when he received a radio call from headquarters to investigate an accident along U.S. 80.  A car smashed into a tree. A man was in serious condition, and an ambulance was on the way.  Falby reached the wreck well before the ambulance.  Pushing his way past a group of frightened bystanders, he found the injured man slumped unconscious across the torn car seat.  The man’s right pants leg was saturated and sticky with blood.  He had severed a major artery and was bleeding to death.  Well trained in first aid, Falby quickly applied a tourniquet above the ruptured artery.  When the bleeding stopped, he pulled the man from the car and made him more comfortable on the ground.  That’s when Falby recognized the victim.  He was Alfred Smith, the man who had saved his own life five years before. 

    Fate had brought the two men together again–and both meetings had been for the same purpose: for one man to save the life of the other in exactly the same way. “Well,” Falby told Doug Storer of the National Tattler; who first reported the story, “you might say, it all goes to prove that one good tourniquet deserves another!”

Comment:  When passing someone in need of help, people frequently think: “I’m busy, let someone else stop; it doesn’t have to be me.”  But what if the person who needs the help is really you, only the time hasn’t come yet for you to see that so clearly?