Saturday–The Day Of Waiting

I originally intended to write this last post of the 40 day journey as a celebration of drawing this portion of our journey to a close. However, I cannot do that today.

Today is the last day of Lent. Tomorrow is Resurrection Sunday, or Easter. Tomorrow is the celebration that ends the time of waiting, sacrifice, and quiet. Lent is a time for reflection, remembering, and learning to trust more in God. This is period of time that is intended to draw us closer to God. So my posts intended to talk about that journey and I hope they have done that.

Instead of writing today about the completion of 40 days and they celebration that is to come, I want to talk about the day as it is in the liturgical calendar.

Yesterday was Good Friday–the day Jesus died on the cross.

Tomorrow is Resurrection Sunday–the Jesus came out of the tomb.

But today, Saturday, is the day of waiting and darkness.
Friday reminds us that pain exists in the world. Friday reminds us of death and uncertainty.

Sunday reminds us the story is not over. Sunday reminds us that death does not have the final word.

But Saturday…

Saturday is the day that reminds us there are seasons in our lives when we wait; seasons of pain; seasons of doubt; seasons of loss.

Just this week, I have sat with people who are in the midst of some of the hardest pain they have ever endured. They know too well the pain of Friday. They are hoping for the joy of Sunday.

But for now they must sit in the darkness and despair that is Saturday.

Saturday is a day there are no answers. Saturday is a day for hiding away in a room and hoping we are not found.

Sometimes, as we journey, we reach a point where we need to stop and sit and wait. The journey is done. We are not giving up. But we just don’t have the strength to take another step. We just need to sit in the midst of the pain.

And we may not be able to see anything positive in front of us.

And I don’t have any answers for how to get past that.

Because it is Saturday. And Saturday is a day when we have no answers.

Opening Our Eyes

“When a man or woman has a spiritual awakening, the most important meaning of it is that s/he has now become able to do, feel, and believe that which s/he could not do before on his/her unaided strength and resources alone. S/He has been granted a gift which amounts to a new state of consciousness and being. S/He has been set on a path which tells him/her s/he is really going somewhere, that life is not a dead end, not something to be endured or mastered. In a very real sense s/he has been transformed, because s/he has laid hold of a source of strength which s/he had hitherto denied him or herself”–Bill Wilson.


Some of my favorite stories in the Bible are the ones where blind people are given their sight. I have never been deprived of one of my senses, so I cannot imagine life without them. But the ways I picture in my head what people’s faces must look like when they are seeing for the first time is almost magical.

(Maybe you have seen the YouTube videos of deaf people being able to hear through new technologies; it is amazing to watch the grateful and emotional reactions.)

When the Apostle Paul (while still known as Saul) has his conversion experience, he is blind for three days. After that, something falls off of his eyes and he can see again. There is a person who is born blind that Jesus heals and now that person can see for the first time.

When our eyes our opened, amazing things occur.

I am color blind. That does not mean I see things in black and white, but I have trouble distinguishing certain colors. I have a striped shirt that is gray and dark green and for the first couple of years that I owned that shirt I thought the green stripes were actually black!

I look at fields of flowers and I notice green and two or three different colors. I have been told that there are dozens of shades and brilliant colors present that I just cannot distinguish. I imagine that if I ever could, the sight would be breathtaking.

There is something about having our eyes opened that amazes, thrills, and changes us.

If we continue in our journey, our eyes will be opened. And we will see some amazing things.

We see that we are not walking this journey alone. We are on a path that many others have already walked to forge a path for us. And many are currently walking this same path so that if we falter, they can pick us up (while we are able to do the same for them).

We see that we are not the ones in control of our lives. We have the responsibility of making decisions. We have the responsibility of restoring broken relationships. But we are not creator or sustainer. We are not in charge. We are able to follow and trust in God; a Power greater than ourselves.

We see that our path has not come to an end. I have met many people who would not embark on the journey because they thought their lives were over. No matter where you are, you can get up and move forward. A friend of mine used to say, “If you want to finally reach bottom, then drop your shovel and quit digging.”

We see that we can keep walking, keep journeying, and we don’t necessarily need to know the destination; only that we are on the journey.

May we all continue to have our eyes opened.

Knowledge and Power

“Praying only for a knowledge of God’s will and the power to carry it out.”

This is one line in the 11th step: knowledge and power.

The journey of sobriety is a journey that leads to an awakening; in fact, it is several awakenings along the way. We have acknowledged powerlessness. We have learned about reliance on God. We have become more aware of our wrongdoings, the pain we have caused. We have acknowledged and admitted our faults and sought to restore the relationships we realize we have harmed.

And if this journey is to continue, we must continue learning. We must continue seeking. We must continue striving to aid and support others instead of drawing inward and hiding away from everyone else.

We do this by praying, meditating, reading, journaling, or any other number of practices. We intentionally enter into the presence of God in order to understand God’s will for our lives.

This part of the 12 step journey is one of those rather obvious places of overlap with our spiritual journeys.

As we continue on the path to know and be closer to God, we learn so many things about ourselves along the way. As we learn about our lack of power and need for God, our shortcomings and need for repentance, our need to restore relationships, we come to a place where we are ready to continue moving forward.

In order to move forward, we must continue learning–increasing our knowledge.

We spend time in prayer and meditation. We spend time reflecting and listening. And through those processes, we learn and discern the paths our lives should follow.

But we need a step to add to that knowledge: the power to carry it out.

Whether we are talking about our sobriety or our spirituality (or a combination of the two), we need to have the strength to carry out those things we have been able to discern.

That power comes from a number of sources. First, it comes from a reliance on God, a Higher Power, something from outside of you. We must learn to rely on a greater source for help.

Second, simply from the fact that we have made it this far. The fact that you are alive and making it through the day (no matter how much you may be struggling) is evidence of the power you have.

Third, from community. The greatest gift 12 Step groups have given me is the gift of community. I know I am not alone. Additionally, I think this is the gift that churches should be giving to their members. We need other people in our lives strengthening us and encouraging us through all that we face.

As we continue our journeys, we pray for insight and knowledge. We pray for power and strength.

And we are able to continue moving.

Facing Up To Our Gun Addiction

For the last 9 months or so that I was drinking, I was likely never sober. Although I didn’t realize this at the time, I have learned a lot about my own body and the general physiology of alcohol’s affect on the body.

Because of the amount I was drinking and the fact that I drank for most of the hours I was awake, it is a safe assumption my blood alcohol level was always over the legal limit. Now, I did not drink early in the morning when I first woke up. But because I was staying up so late at night drinking, my body did not have time to process and metabolize the alcohol. And although I did not drink at the office, I started as soon as I got home. So anywhere I went in the evenings, I went buzzed–at the very least. The later in the evening it was, the more inebriated I would have been.

Which means there are a number of occasions that I drove drunk.

I never got caught. Maybe because I was extremely cautious. But most likely it was because I got lucky. I was never pulled over. I also got lucky in the sense that I never caused any property damage.

I bring this up to say this: I violated a number of laws and got away with it. Does that mean the laws are pointless? Does that mean we should go back to the days when there were fewer laws restricting driving under the influence?

I don’t think so.


I grew up riding in cars that had no seat belts. And if seat belts were in the car, they were never used. I often rode sitting on the floorboard, in the back of the station wagon, or sitting on someone’s lap. I think I even rode in my dad’s lap while he drove and let me turn the steering wheel. All of these things were okay.

Through my teenage years and into adulthood, a lot of laws have been added to promote safety while behind the wheel. Car manufacturers have to make their cars certain ways. Seat belts and airbags are standard. The legal limit to be considered intoxicated has been lowered (and may be lowered again in some states). Not wearing a seat belt can get you a ticket. We have speed limits, speed zones, and work area speed limits. There are signs alerting us to certain rules of the road all over the place. Failure to abide by the rules results in fines, lost licenses, and even potential jail time.

Yet with all of these laws on the books, there are still traffic accidents and fatalities every day. Does it mean the laws are pointless? Should we go back to the days when there were fewer laws?

I don’t think so.


We pass laws, in part, in order to make things safer. When distracted driving began causing numerous accidents, laws were passed to make cell phone usage while driving illegal. In Texas, it is illegal for a driver younger than 18 to have a powered up device in the car with them.

We have laws regulating food safety and sanitary conditions. Laws were passed to put warning labels on cigarettes and other deadly substances. Laws have been passed creating and increasing penalties for illicit drug usage.

And these laws, these attempts at safety, are important. Yet they are not foolproof. They have not completely eradicated the number of injuries, illnesses, or fatalities. So what’s the point of all these laws?

The point is that we are attempting to make things safer for the people in the world around us.

Have seat belt laws and lowering the legal limit and distracted driving laws made the roads safer? Yes.

Have they prevented all accidents from happening? No.

Should we remove the laws from the books or quit trying to make new laws that can help promote further safety? Of course not.

So why do allow that line of thinking to infect the way we talk about guns and gun safety? This past weekend, hundreds of thousands of people (led by young people) participated in marches all across the country asking for more gun safety.

And there are many ways we make this happen: enforcing waiting periods; closing gun show loopholes; studying the effects of gun violence; new technology that can help prevent a stolen gun from being fired; and so much more. None of these laws restricts or removes a right. Instead, they make life safer for everyone.

Should we get rid of all guns? Philosophically, I say yes. As a believer of someone who is called the Prince of Peace, I say yes. Pragmatically, I realize that may never happen.

But can we make everyone safer? Yes. Does it mean we are taking rights away? No. It means we are regulating them; maybe even regulating them well.

Will stricter gun laws end gun violence? No.

Will they reduce gun violence? Yes.

Will they reduce suicides? Most likely. (Side note: did you know that while female adolescents attempt suicide at much higher rates than their male counterparts, male adolescents successfully commit suicide at much higher rates? The main reason for this is that males are more likely to use guns, a more effective method at taking life.)

If one school shooting, one suicide, one accidental death is averted due to more regulations, will it be worth it? Yes.

Will we ever stop all the violence, all the killing? Maybe not.

But wouldn’t it be nice if we had fewer names turned into hashtags?

40 Day Journey; 6th Sunday Wrap-Up

So this week’s wrap up reveals how many days I missed adding new content! However, I have added the links to a couple of news stories showing some one of the events that kept us busy this weekend!

Healing Through Seeking Forgiveness

When I Am Ready To Give Up

And So We March

March For Our Lives story

March For Our Lives newspaper story