As I was hanging up the ornaments on the Christmas tree a few weeks back, I began thinking about the messages or ‘ornaments’ of recovery. I’d like to share them with you as a gentle reminder of joy and peace this holiday season!
- Experience – As the heart muscle gives life to the whole body, so the experiencing heart centers on life: it is the place of recovery where being and becoming invites us.
- Wonder – Awe is the original spiritual act. Our first prayer is not actually “Gimme” but Wow”!
- Community – “You alone can do it, but you cannot do it alone.” Fellowship is a setting where helping and service flow from a new way of seeing.
- Dark – A person died and stood before God. God asked, “Where are your wounds?” The person answered what wounds? I have none.” God said, “Was there nothing worth fighting for?”
- Listening – To listen, to surrender, to trust, to be chosen, to love: these are to open us up to the experience of discovery.
- Forgiveness – Forgiveness does not require forgetting, nor can one forgive that which has been forgiven. Forgiveness is a gift given with full memory of what has happened to the self and others.
- Humor – Humor delivers something that one does not expect – it’s the comic surprise.
- Gray – Do pain and suffering separate and isolate? Or do they connect and bond? “Both!” But only if each is embraced and owned.
- Memory – God gave us memories – that we might have roses in December. To remember is to create links between the past and present, between past and future.
- Virtue – Humility allows us to be open-minded, honest, and willing in our efforts to recover. When humble we are willing to seek and receive help, support, guidance and direction with our lives. We are not alone anymore.
- Sin – Power, Prestige and Possessions hold us hostage to recovery.
- Prayer – 4 prayers: “Wow,” “Oops!” “Thanks” and “Gimme”
- Recovery – Recovery and Gratitude and Giving and Receiving…. All are – or can be – spiritual. Each is an invitation to practice looking outside of or beyond ourself.
Happy Holidays to you. Be Joyful Joyful Joyful!
Fr. Jim Swarthout is the Director of Clergy & Alumni Services at Rosecrance.