God’s Will

Part 1 – How to Recognize it

When I think of how to figure out what God’s will for me is, I think of my uncle Whiting, He’s an Artist (pronounced Ar-Teest). When I say that, I mean he’s not just a painter or a sculptor; everything he does is a work of Art. When he makes breakfast, the presentation is so good you want to hang it on the wall instead of eat it. That kind of Artist. So, years ago he built a bedroom upstairs with eight doors. They all had doorknobs and frames… He even painted the bottom of the door so it looks like there’s light coming from underneath it. There’s one bed in the middle of the room.

When I’d get drunk he’d put me in that room. I’d wake up in the morning, I gotta piss like a racehorse, but which door was the real door? I found a way to tell which one was the real door: it’s the one that opens. Of course it is.

Now, if I find a door that doesn’t open, I have the right to stand there shaking the knob for as long as I want. If I find the right door, I don’t have to walk through it. I can close it back up and go shake another knob.

That’s what free-will gives us.

God’s will is effortless and smooth. How many times do we fight and struggle and claw — don’t seem to get anywhere — then stand up, panting, and say: “Let me try this one last thing…” Plink, plank, plunk! It all falls into place. “Holy Shit! That was easy! Why did it take so long? Why was it so hard?” Probably because I was trying the wrong door.

What I really like is when no one saw me struggling for what seemed like an eternity. All they witness is the effortless ease at the end, when I’ve surrendered to God’s will, and they say: “How did you do that? You made it look so easy!”

I ‘fess up. I tell them the truth. I tell them: “I’m a genius!” Hell, yeah, I take credit for it. But I know all I really did was to find God’s will.

What doors do I shake for a long time? The other day a friend wrote on his Facebook page: “It’s better to have loved and lost… than to have stayed with an idiot.” It’s true, but how many times do I allow myself to be put through living hell first, before I admit it’s no damn good?

I’ve stayed with jobs that didn’t pay the bills, lived in places that didn’t feel like home. I drank to be happy, even when it made me more and more miserable. I sought comfort with faceless, nameless women who didn’t care about me so I wouldn’t feel so alone.

Believe me, I’m an expert at missing God’s will, and only beginning to understand that I might be able to recognize it more quickly. I think the keyword is: “Frustration”. I don’t think there’s any frustration in God’s will. If I’m experiencing it, I’m probably in my will.

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Part 2 – Inevitability

Is there any way to escape God’s will? I happen to believe: no, there is no escaping God’s will. As a result of my belief I don’t pray like you people do. I feel stupid asking him for things. My God does not take requests.

How would that work? “Dear God, please keep me sober today. And make my sick child get well. And get my boss off my back. And get that girl in accounting to smile at me. And of course, do whatever You want, not what I want, ’cause you know best.”

Why did you even flap your dicksucker? You either A) trust him to know what you need and provide it, so you don’t need to tell him, or B) you don’t trust him, in which case you sure don’t need to tell him.

I think of God’s will as being guided in a general direction. He wouldn’t be much of a shepherd if he let the flock go wherever they wanted. But at the same time, he doesn’t make us goose-step. He gives us plenty of leeway, with consequences and rewards along the way. I can take my own path, and make it more rewarding or less rewarding.

Imagine you’re not a great swimmer, and there’s a pretty strong current. If you just dog paddle, the current is going to take you to the mouth of the river. If you swim up river — resist the current — you’re still going to end up at the mouth of the river, but you’ll be tired and it will take you longer to get there. If you swim gently with the current you’re going to end up at the mouth of the river, but you’ll be refreshed, and get there sooner.

Like the cops told me, I can do it the easy way or the hard way, but I’m going with them. I think “Easy” and “Hard” are the only choices we have.

We’ve all noticed we get lessons from God, and if we don’t pick up on them they tend to get stronger, with more pronounced punishment. This is true everywhere in everything. It’s a matter of physics: new models aren’t invented; old models are repeated on a different scale. The movement of electrons and protons and neutrons mimic the movement of planets and moons and stars.

Something falls, then it falls faster, then it falls faster faster… Until it hits something. It doesn’t fall for a little while and then gravity says: “Ahh, Fuck it!” and it floats. It doesn’t happen.

Just like my drinking. Got bad. Got worse. Then worse faster. ‘Till something stopped it.

So I get a little lesson, then the lesson is repeated with the volume turned up. The sooner I learn the lesson, the sooner I get the blessin’, and move on to the next one. Escaping the cycle is not an option.

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Part 3 – Benevolent or Malevolent?

God being “good” or “bad” is not the same thing as me “liking” or “not liking” what he asks of me. For instance, you would like to help people stay sober. Would you like to help MORE people stay sober or FEWER people stay sober? More? Great! God just informed me that your GOOD example will only keep two people sober, so he’s going to make you get drunk and kill a pregnant woman with your car. As a result of your BAD example twenty will now stay sober. Feel good? You should! We all want more bang from the buck, right? The only thing that stops you from feeling good is your ego.

It makes me physically ill when people talk about how “cice” God is and make statements like: “my son was sick, and I prayed to make him better, and now he’s fine!” The audacity and ego in that statement makes me cringe. By your logic if your boy had died then God must be a real bastard! And if my boy died it’s because I didn’t pray right, is that it?

Equating being “good” with the universe rewarding me is not so much spirituality as it is superstition.

Things happen. That’s all. 10% of life is what happens and 90% is how I react to it. If my boy dies and I fall into depression and remorse and self-pity, I will waste time that could have been spent with my daughters. That would obviously be bad. The Big Book tells me in chapter five: “It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness. To the precise extent that we permit these, do we squander the hours that might have been worth while.”

If your boy dies maybe it causes you to realize how fleeting life is, and you make the most of it. Maybe you do more “Living” in your remaining years than you and your son together would have “Lived” had you not had that tragedy. Isn’t that a net-gain to the universe? If you give more Love to your remaining children, friends, and loved ones, you may have turned a tragedy into a blessing. In chapter six of the Big Book I am told: “…we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to others.”

Recently I heard: “It’s not what they call you that’s important, but what you answer to”. I have a feeling it’s a similar principle.

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Part 4 – Purpose

The second law of thermodynamics states — quite simply — “Entropy increases“. What that means is that the soccer ball I kicked will always slow down as it goes across the field. The car I bought new will always turn old. The weeds will attempt to take over my garden. Left on the table my beer will get warm, and my coffee will grow cold. Things deteriorate.

What if we reversed the things that we can? What if we fixed up that old car and put a new coat of paint on it? Would it make someone smile? Would we have saved some natural resources? Would we have made the world a slightly better place? One more nice thing, one less eye-sore? What if we weeded the garden?

How about if we found a man in despair, and gave him hope? Would that make the world a better place? Would that please God?

In some languages, the term for Satan is expressed as “Decay”. Maybe that’s what we’re supposed to fight. The Inevitability of Decay. All that’s required for Evil to flourish, is for Good men to do nothing. If I take no action, things will get worse.

One of my teachers explained that in physics there is no such thing as “dark“, there is only lack of “light“. There is no such thing as “cold“, there is only lack of “heat“. Maybe, there is no such thing as “evil“, there is only lack of “good“.

God’s first act was to create light. Pre-historic man ceased being an animal and became human — began to influence and control his environment — when he harnessed fire (created heat). Maybe we can transcend our humanity — become the spiritual beings God wants us to be — when we do “good”.

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Part 5 – Seeing it in Action

If I’m looking at a river, sometimes it looks so calm and clear and still it’s hard for me to believe it’s moving. Then I throw a stick into the middle of it and I see it carried away. I can’t see the current, but I can see it acting on things.

Likewise, when I look at you, I can’t always see the Godness in you. But when I see that your car got a wash and wax instead of collecting another dent, when I hear that your job made you a supervisor instead of firing you, when I hear you talking on the phone to your kids before the meeting and a smile brightens your face as you say: “I love you, too!”, I know that God is working in your life.

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These are the musings of one of God’s children, struggling through spiritual kindergarten at the age of fifty. I turn my thoughts into words so that I can examine them more closely. I don’t expect anyone to grow from this, except maybe me.

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“In thinking about our day we may face indecision. We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. We relax and take it easy. We don’t struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while. What used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind. Being still inexperienced and having just made conscious contact with God, it is not probable that we are going to be inspired at all times. We might pay for this presumption in all sorts of absurd actions and ideas. Nevertheless, we find that our thinking will, as time passes, be more and more on the plane of inspiration. We come to rely upon it.”

Alcoholics Anonymous (p. 86)

“We usually conclude the period of meditation with a prayer that we be shown all through the day what our next step is to be, that we be given whatever we need to take care of such problems. We ask especially for freedom from self-will, and are careful to make no request for ourselves only. We may ask for ourselves, however, if others will be helped. We are careful never to pray for our own selfish ends. Many of us have wasted a lot of time doing that and it doesn’t work. You can easily see why.”
Alcoholics Anonymous (p. 87)

“As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day “Thy will be done.” We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions. We become much more efficient. We do not tire so easily, for we are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves.”
Alcoholics Anonymous (p. 88)

“It works – it really does!”
Alcoholics Anonymous
(p. 88)

 

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