If you're new here, this is a weekly column consisting of letters written to my (eventual) grandchildren (who exist) and my great-grandchildren (who don't yet, aka the Stickies) to haunt them after they become grups and/or I'm dead.
- Who The Hell Is This Guy?
"There are some things you have to give up to the higher power" -Jimmy Smits
Dear (eventual) Grandstickies & Great-Grandstickies,
In last week's letter, I brought up the concept of the power of a higher power as conceived and practiced by those seeking to be restored to sanity via the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and like-minded groups.
I mentioned that as far as I'm concerned this is employing the power of transcendence to repair one's life. I also mentioned that I think everyone needs to find a higher power of some sort, even hardcore atheists, to live the best possible sort of life.
While I did mention my own particular version of tapping into the power of a higher power I didn't explain how/why I think everyone can.
I don't claim to know all that much about a given twelve-step programs concept of a higher power. I've discussed it with AA people in general, Nana in particular. Someone told me it didn't matter who or what your higher power was, it could be a tree, as long as you accepted that there was a higher power that would/could assist you in getting sober if you were open to the possibility.
Since this was a natural fit with my belief, detailed last week, that all there is, is, the Great Big Sticky whatever the f-word (GBSWF) manifesting itself, I "got it" immediately. It provided clarification/justification to my concept of who/what God is, which in the intervening years has grown stronger and clearer.
[Wait a second, how is this a natural fit with...]
Well, I failed to mention, Dana, last week I mean, was that I believe it's possible for anyone to tap into the power of the GBSWF, I guess that's my idea of a higher power. I also believe there are all sorts of ways to access this power ranging from the purely spiritual to the purely secular and/or at all sorts of levels betwixt the two.
[Could you be a little more vague please?]
Oh, hell yeah, you know me, but I'm gonna shoot for clarity. I make no promises though.
At the risk of being accused of having a keen eye for the obvious, my friends the recovering drunks told me that it doesn't matter, specifically, what your higher power is as long as you conceive of it as something that will keep you on the straight and narrow and moving towards a worthy goal of some sort. Sobriety for example.
And you don't have to be a drunk or a druggie to access a/your higher power.
Say you're a drunk, any sort of addict really, and the thing that has you by the ass is just not that much fun anymore. In fact, it may be ruining your life. It may be screwing with the lives of people that you allegedly care about.
Try as you might, you haven't been able to stop. A twelve step group will try and teach you, among many, many other things, that you need a higher power to help you out.
Conveniently, a lot of folks believe in God, the most traditional, go-to higher power. Surely, a being that is infinite in every possible way has the ability to help ya out. You just have to figure out what your concept of such a being is, what the rules of the game are as far as you and the big G. go, and ask to borrow a cup of grace.
Pay it back, and forward, by living a life that would make your mom happy, that she would brag about. Unless, of course, your mom's a basket case. The good news is that finding a substitute whom you'd like to make smile is easy (don't forget you). The bad news is that finding another mom, a real mom (or a dad...), is hard. You can deal with it though, you have a higher power to help you out.
"Well, I believe in something like God, but I'm confused/uncertain/etcetern as to the details."
Piece of homemade caramel apple pie. "I act as if God exists" -Jordan Peterson. I interpret this as meaning I believe that morality/ethics/etceterics exist and that I'm going to be a good dude/dudette because I have to share the playground with the other kids. And I know that 99% of the time, if I'm honest with myself, I somehow know what the right thing to do is. It's like I have a higher power.
[Is that John Lennon I hear singing Kumbaya, verse 23, in the background. There ain't no God, there ain't no higher power, it's just yours truly trying to get through another day in paradise without getting my body or soul dumped into the car crusher down at the local scrap yard.]
Dana, spreading the sunshine as always huh? where are your trusty companions?
[Marie-Louise was just here a second ago... I don't know where she disappeared to. We just got back from dropping the Igmeister off at school. Which reminds me, the principal wants you to call, something about a BB gun?]
Great. Thanks. Listen, you've got a goal or two, right? I'm talkin' biggies, not going out for lunch.
[Sure, in fact, I've got a lengthy bucket list. Number one is...]
And I know for a fact that you have morals and ethics, and that you regularly commit to being a better person and to try harder to always do the right thing, particularly when you're loaded, yes?
Cool, ever stop to think about the fact that you have goals and aspirations and that they're a completely abstract phenomenon? that they help keep you on the straight and narrow and out of an institution? that you just plain feel better when you heed their call? that when you surrender to just aimlessly drifting through the day indulging the appetite of the moment you feel like shit?
Still don't believe in a higher power?
The end. Poppa loves you.
Have an OK day.
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©2018 Mark Mehlmauer