I have been reading the same Celebrate Recovery bible for 3 years and just this morning read the back cover in full. I’ve seen it countless times, just like I’ve seen the foreward and the many pages dedicated to the 8 Recovery Principles and 12 Steps. But today I discovered something new. The back of the bible described the features of the bible, like the recovery stories, the character studies and… the key on the side column of each page.
As soon as I read it the pieces fell into place. The key told me that the little numbers in brackets next to specific verses referred to specific Recovery Principles. Ohhhhhh, the light bulb went off. It wasn’t a blinding light, but more of a flicker. This revelation didn’t fill a deep, dark hole of confusion in my life. It didn’t give me the answer to questions that had been plaguing me. It just made me go, “Oh, that makes sense now.”
The numbers on the side of each page had been there the whole time, just on the edge of my peripheral consciousness. Every morning, as I read the Word of God and highlighted diligently, I would sense the numbers but never really noticed them. They didn’t seem important and I never really missed them. I wondered, as I flipped back through my reading and looked more closely at the numbers, how many other things I had missed. Not just in my bible, but in general.
Before recovery, I never read the instructions on anything, never took the time to read the map before I drove. I wanted what I wanted and I wanted it NOW! And darn it to everyone else, I would do it my way – not the way the instructions detailed. But slowly, over time, I have learned to read the instructions God gives me for my life.
These instructions are revealed through the voices of other people in recovery, through my willingness to listen, and through my weak but developing ability to slow down and stay in the moment. This ability to pause, to just be and absorb the little instruction tucked in every moment has benefited not just me, but everyone around me.
When my daughter tells me casually that she likes that she can talk to me, I have learned to keep listening to her, even when I have 100 other things to do. When I watch Modern Family and see the overachieving child break down in her mother’s arms because her mother finally acknowledges how hard this child works, I learned that my overachieving son away at school probably needs to hear that, too. When my middle child, the one who I constantly tried to fix, gets lost on his path, I have learned that he never needed to be fixed because he was never broken. And that my only job is to guide him, through my example, to the only one who can make straight his paths.
This thought of missing the little details, the sometimes really important details, has been stuck with me all day. Since I’ve been in recovery and have allowed God to reveal things to me, I’ve noticed more and more of those little instructions, those loose little scraps of funny shaped cardboard pieces that connect abstract thoughts or feelings, completing some of my life’s biggest and tiniest puzzles.
I still want it all right now. But I’m glad God doesn’t give me the answers to everything all at once. I know that I am given only what I can handle. And just for today, because that’s all I have, I’ll take the instructions He gives me and try my best to share them so that someone else can say, “Oh, that makes sense now.”