I was questioned today regarding ethics from one of my business teachers. He posed the question, “Who do you look up too?” This reminded me of a story of when I was living in addiction.
2012 Lake Tahoe
I was living in despair and consistent depression. Looking back, I always had people of faith reaching out. Strangely enough they would invite me into their house and offer me food and hope.
During this time, I was lost.. I needed a steady supply of drugs and alcohol just to keep from loosing my mind. I know this sounds strange if you are a normal person. If your a addict, this makes perfect sense. On a normal week day I would consume at least 6-8 beers and smoke about a gram and a half of pot. In regards to the weekend, I will write about this some other time.
I was driving a small Hondi without a licence / registration or insurgence! This was before recovery! I sold drugs to college students, as a 29 year old Army vet. I felt I was a bad guy, and I felt that God did not give a shit about me personally.
One day, I drive over to this Christian couples house. I was invited, so I took some time away from my usual habits and went over for lunch. I am going to call this couple Mr and Mrs G.
I go in and have the usual overly friendly welcome that I think all Christians have. Mrs G tells me “Hey, I am mad at you!” I ask her “why?” She says that they invited me out with them last week and I did not show up. I forgot, so I say, “sorry.”
This approach caught me off guard.. I was often unreliable in those days. In fact the only thing you could really count on with me was being intoxicated 9 times out of 10. Looking back now.. This young couple (Probably early 30 something) were confused and frustrated as to why God placed me in their life. Christians have a tendency to think like that… lol
Anyways I eat soup with my friends.. like usual after a while we got to a faith based discussion. I remember it being very informal.
Mrs G said, “You have been driving me crazy! I pray and pray about you!” I smiled and laughed at this imposition.. She than told me about Matthew 17:20. This is the easy to read bible version.
20 Jesus answered, “You were not able to make the demon go out, because your faith is too small. Believe me when I tell you, if your faith is only as big as a mustard seed you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. You will be able to do anything.”
I had come to admire their faith. Mrs G said, “here, I have to give you something.” She went to the cupboard and took out a jar of mustard seed spice. She got a single seed from the jar and showed it too me.
She said, “Look at this, this is all the faith you need to enter the kingdom of heaven. Here, take it! I want you to have it.” I said “sure, okay, whatever!” I placed the seed in one of my favorite sweaters, totally forgot about it…
I left peacefully and went about my business driving away illegally. lol
Fast forward over a year. I had hit my bottom in late 2013. Fresh out of jail, I was living in a halfway house in Reno. Another christian I knew (I’ll call him Ron) took care of my possessions while I was locked up. One day he politely dropped off everything I owned. I was so glad..
I look through my belongings.. I had expensive stuff, a computer, Dre Beats.. Also, I have more clothes than most women I know. I put on my favorite sweater.. Everyone has a favorite sweater!
Without thought, I reach into my pocket and I feel something small… I pick it out thinking it is junk… And, of course, it was the mustard seed…
Thinking about it, the seed was small and I may have overlooked it a couple times. However, it had stayed in my pocket for over a year worth of laundry washes. Not to mention, I was in jail! My stuff could of been lost or taken. This seed had defied the odds and lived in my pocket for over a year?
Let me paint the picture… I just did step’s 1-3 with a sponsor in AA… This is a old timer who showed up at my recovery home just to listen to me struggle with the program. This was also a few weeks before I was baptized at age 30. I became a born again Christian…
I remember looking at the seed for about 2 hours. I almost threw it away, you know…. But, I thought better of it… Eventually, I just ate it! Popped it in my mouth…
Being a problem gambler (this is a compulsive gambling recovery blog).. I thought of the odds? Probably astronomical!!! One of those unreal numbers where the calculator has a big E on it…
I know this story is all symbolic of faith. I think, Most folks would say. This is not a official miracle! nice try. I do get that perspective. Lots of Christianity is symbolic.
But, for the sake of my soul. I started betting on God from this point forward in my life. I have stumbled and struggled with surrender in recovery. I always come back around to the faith that ironically changed my life.
One more thing. All these people of faith I mentioned in the story would not take any credit for any change that happened to me. They would say something like “we just point the direction, you choose?”
It did take a village to show this addict / sinner, how to live in grace.
With faith the size of a mustard seed, I was born again September 2013. God was always in control of my life, I know this now.