She Lives! She Lives!

A friend invited me to an AA meeting on Easter Sunday–not because she thought I needed help to overcome alcohol problem, but because she wanted me to hear her story.

I was honored to be asked, and I am so glad I went.

I have known this woman for some years, as a faithful member of the church and someone whose company I enjoy. Like all of us, she has some ways that are particular to her, and that sometimes rub others a little roughly–but over the years I had begun to appreciate her as someone who tells the truth as she sees it, with a healthy dose of self-awareness.  So I was eager to hear about the time before and during her 30+ years in AA .

Wow! She has a story to tell, and she told it–with grit, grace, and humor. No holding back–and at the same time she drew us all in. She has a gift for story-telling.

As I sat in the meeting, I thought of how much I wish I knew the stories of all our church members in as much detail as she shared. I could be their pastor, and their friend, so much better.

And as she continued to share, I began to pray that everyone in the church–indeed everyone in the world–can get to the place she is. What I mean is that she did not waste time blaming other people for her mess. In fact, she celebrated those who helped her see how she was messing up in life and what she could do about it.

I am very positive about 12-step programs. She is one among hundreds of people I know whose lives have been turned around “in the rooms.” Sometimes, I think everyone should go.

But then I know it is like church–you have to want to go, or feel the need to go–and you have to believe that maybe, just maybe, there is, or could be, more to life than whatever your situation is in the moment. Not everyone is ready for that, but when they are . . . well, the change can be extraordinary, and lives are saved.

It seems right that my friend spoke on the Sunday of the Resurrection–she did not use religious language but I realized she was telling us how she escaped the tomb, and as we had done that morning in worship, I rejoiced all over again. This time I said, “She lives! She lives!” I know God, and Jesus, were, and are, rejoicing with me.

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