Monday, July 23, 2012

Roll away the Stone

     Writing is therapeutic for me. It’s a healthy escape from reality, if there is such a thing. Over the past several months I have been working on something a little different than anything I’ve ever written. I’ve been writing my testimony for Celebrate Recovery.
     One of the 12 steps in this Christ-Centered recovery program involves writing out an inventory of my life. And it’s definitely a healing thing to write out one’s life and look at it all. For someone like me who lived in denial for so long, to start writing about my life with no façade in the way started to bring out things. As I wrote and read what I wrote I began to see connections and patterns of self-destructive behavior and their origins. I was supposed to do this inventory when I did the 12 steps for the first time a few years ago but didn’t fully get it. Only now as I’m writing my testimony is it all working for me. It really is like putting together a puzzle and suddenly seeing the big picture of my life. I’m seeing not only what I’ve done in my life, but what God has done.
     Before I was a writer I still made up stories. Then there came a time in my life when I started to avoid the real world and live more in my made-up worlds. I created worlds with my toy cars and spaceships. Back then toy spaceships weren’t sold in stores. I used hairbrushes, bottle caps, and other items that looked right. One might think that a robust imagination was healthy, but not how I used it. Not only did I make up stories, I convinced myself that I was an alien from another planet. Instead of trying to get along in the real world, I watched the skies and waited for my people to come and take me home. Living outside of the real world carried over into my adult life. It was dormant for years until crisis took the forefront of everything and I fell right back into denial of reality.
     Saved to my laptop right now is every word of this entry so far. (I hit the save icon often, sometimes with every sip of coffee.) But there are also folders of fiction stories, two of which are almost novel-length. They are created out of my imagination. Also saved is the testimony I’ve been working on for months. I rarely plan and outline writing the way I did with this. And since I called it completed two months ago, I have gone back and revised and polished it. This Friday I am reading it aloud at the Celebrate Recovery meeting.
     I don’t know how I could have written this testimony without practicing some vulnerability here on my blog. Some weeks I get somewhat personal. My testimony does too.
But that openness is a small thing compared to the healing I’ve experienced in taking the time to write my testimony out and see the pieces put together.  I have shared a bit about how four years ago I was in a bad way. I was entrenched in self-destructive behavior, living in denial and spiritually dead. I was just walking around refusing help. Jesus could have come up and offered to help raise me up and I would have told him no. I would have said that I wasn’t deserving of any help and besides, there would be an awful stench if my problems were exposed to the world. But somehow (people must have been praying for me) it happened anyway. The stone was rolled away.
I didn’t realize most of this until very recently when I started writing it all out. I think I might have been aware somehow of how blessed I was, but there are some astounding things I finally grasped. I will share it Friday night and put into my blog too someday.
I don’t like ending my blog posts with an entreaty like a homework request. But there are a few things I want to mention.
First, anyone can come and hear my testimony Friday night if they want to. I am thankful to so many people for quietly believing in me and being with me before I started the healing. I don’t know how else to thank them all.
 My second item up for bid is just me saying what works for me. Not just journaling or writing, even though anybody can do that too. But there is so much brokenness out there and there is healing. If I learned anything in my recovery it’s that I can’t do it alone. But it works. I’m getting better.
Thanks for letting me share.

     Celebrate Recovery meets at Yucaipa Christian Church every Monday and Friday at 7:00 p.m.  12954 Bryant Street, Yucaipa


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