Today in church, I ha a chance to share the story of my alcoholism, from its inception 20 years ago to my eventual sobriety in 2005. Through the last 6 months or so, I have done a lot of reflecting and a lot of praying, which is a very new experience for me. However, it has given me a lot of insight into my past and the places and times where the Hand of God has truly had an effect in my life.
It's funny, really. I have known my story for years. I ought to: I've lived it. But in the past six months, I've come to see it from a new perspective, sort of like the second Back to the Future movie, where we get to see future Marty McFly running around behind the scenes while past Marty McFly is doing all the stuff from the first movie. Or maybe those Making of Star Wars specials they had on TV when I was a kid, where you'd think, "So THAT's how they did that!" I look back and see where the Holy Spirit has rewarded me for making difficult decisions, often nearly immediately, and I can see where bad decisions have resulted in negative effects.
Lots of bad decisions. I've made a few recently that I would give pretty much anything short of my soul to make right.
It's a little like that old Footprints poem, where God says, "Where there is only one set of footprints is where I carried you." I have some perspective now to see those places, and I can see a good number of them, as well as a number where he dragged me kicking and screaming.
As I looked back, I could see numerous inflection points where my life had been improved by Divine intervention, and if I were to plot a curve through those points, that curve would lead straight to the baptism I have now scheduled for the 23rd of November. I don't know what lies beyond that for me, but I've learned you can never see the top of the mountain before you actually attain the summit.
It felt really good to tell everyone about the trouble I'd had, and the help I'd had in overcoming it. There are a lot of converts like me, and one gentleman told me that I'm "not alone" in the troubles I'd had. There was a lot of support and many comments afterward. I felt relieved. I wanted the people there to know that the guy they're getting isn't perfect, not even close, but he's trying.
For the first time in my life I've found a church that I can believe in. A church that makes sense to me. A church that feels right to me and FOR me.
And for the first time in a long time, I can see a future beyond the next few weeks.
P.S. If anyone is going to be in the Akron area on the 23rd of November and would like to attend, you can feel free to drop me a line. We would love to have you.