|Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—|
|I took the one less traveled by,|
|And that has made all the difference.|
(Robert Frost "The Road Not Taken")
So, friends are human and they don't always say what you want or need to hear. But I'm a firm believer that God works through all people that we come in contact with, and you never know where you're going to find relief. When I was going through the throes of my recent painful experience, I heard a lot of people use the infamous AA quote, "Let it go." This was probably what I needed to hear, but it frustrated me. How do you just let go? And then I found relief in the most unexpected places. I went to a meeting, and afterwards I talked with an acquaintance, someone that I don't talk that much with outside of AA. As tears were about to spill out of my eyes, I said with a despairing tone, "Everyone keeps telling me to let it go. I guess that's just what I have to do." To which he replied, "Let it go? Did they tell you how? I'm so tired of people throwing that phrase around. It's not like a light switch. Dude, if you find out how to let it go, tell me please!" I instantly felt a release of the weight, as we looked at each other and laughed. (Probably one of those you had to be there moments, but you understand what I'm saying.)
I've always loved this quote and this emotion, but I never really experienced it that much before now. When you walk through pain, you don't just feel the grief. You feel real joy at the glimpses of healing you get. Yes, you are crying as you laugh, but it makes the laughter so much more precious. You see, and are more grateful for, the blessings God has put in your life. Laughter through tears is a beautiful picture of hope. You get a clearer picture of God working in your life. If you're not feeling the pain, you also are not feeling the joy. And then you're not really living at all, are you?
3. "No problem is so great that a drink won't make it worse."
This quote is at the front of the room at my AA group. Numbing or ignoring the pain doesn't make it go away. It is always there waiting for you to wake up. Not only will you have to face the pain eventually, but you will also add to pain ten-fold if you drink over it. If I don't drink, when I make it through this, I will be a stronger, braver, more beautiful person. I'm already seeing the fruit of this just a week into this journey. Friends have noticed a change in my appearance. I am "glowing" even in the midst of suffering. I don't know what is going to happen in life. I wouldn't have chosen this path. But God is doing for me what I could not do for myself, and for that I am so, so grateful. It has made all the difference.
P.S. I just saw that the theme at Middle Places this month is "Let It Go". Coincidence? I think not.