FollowCraig: Oh God!

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Before I get to far ahead let’s talk some about faith. I never had it! Really! I was brought up in the Mormon church and never gave any of this much thought. It was assumed that after high school I would participate in a church mission then marry a good Mormon girl and have lots of children. Sounds easy enough doesn’t it? Well that didn’t happen for me as I was a bit of a rebel when I was young. Going my own path would be for me and that I did. I left home when I was about 18 years old and moved to Arizona to live with my father. My dad was not a religious man so it was refreshing not to be attending church all the time. I’m pretty sure it was then that my agnostic point of view took shape. It was easy to just not really participate in any church, religion or faith for the next thirty or so years. Even as a married man with children, I never went to church or introduced my kids to any level of faith teachings. Why bother I would say. Funny thing though? Faith was always surrounding me wherever I would be. As a salesman faith and faith principles would be taught in most sales training classes. People at work would talk about their faith, always on television I would hear it. Faith and God were always around me but I would not jump in. I just didn’t want to talk about it, it was uncomfortable! Once while attending a sales seminar we attendees were told to draw a wheel with eight spokes.

20120626-154011.jpgSo I drew one like this, then we were told to mark the spokes from 1-10 rating our own life experiences, then connect the dots. Needless to say when it came to the spiritual spoke my wheel was very flat on one side.

I really knew for a long time this part of my life was not in balance, what was not known by me was the effect this imbalance would have on my life to come.

All this talk of faith became very important as my activity in the 12 Steps of Alcoholic’s anonymous became part of my life. Earlier I wrote of reading the Bible when I first stopped drinking. Believe me, I found it an interesting book of incredible stories. So many people say it’s hard to read and perhaps that’s true. However I struggled through it every night for a couple of months then read it a second time and it was much easier to understand. Reading this book really did not lead me to my faith however. I just knew it was time for me to decide what I believed. Was I to believe that no God existed, or that no higher power surrounds us? That was just not possible for me, I really could not accept an atheist position. So if I believed in a higher power, should I have faith? Well yes faith made sense to me. After all someone or something had been watching over me all these years. After all the screw ups in my life, my wrongs, my lies, my craziness. I was still here and pretty healthy at that, so I knew about faith. Now it was only a matter of deciding whether or not to accept and celebrate my faith. To take one last leap of faith on my own to believe that God was real or not. Oh the proof of this can easily disputed if one wants, but I always had this one question that still haunts me. A question that no scientist can really answer? The one thing that makes me believe that a God exits. That question is; “how do we know to breathe?”

Only a higher power can decide that. Knowing that, I chose to practice my believe as a Christian and celebrate as a Lutheran. I did indeed take a leap of faith and was baptized into the Christian faith at a Wisconsin Synod of the Lutheran Church in all places the heart of Mormon land “Salt Lake City, Utah“. It felt Great!

For me and I can only really speak to that, I found freedom. My eight spoke wheel of life wasn’t so flat anymore. My life got easier, it really did and has.

My first and second year of sobriety was only a beginning of the tests to come. My relationships with my friends, my family, my children and all those I knew would be affected by choices I would make. As I have learned over these years is that many people care about each of us just as we care about many people ourselves. They all want the best for us and make every effort. But until we decide for ourselves to surrender our self-centered behavior and begin to have faith our lives will never be peaceful. We will never be able to lend a helping hand up to those we care about without doing this for ourselves.

As I talk more about my times and trials to come it should become clear I am still learning these lessons everyday of my life.

You’re still reading, I’m still writing, so please keep following……

Craig

FollowCraig: “Re-action” vs “Pre-action”

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We all have heard it, be pro-active or pre-active. Here I am 60 years old and I finally heard so I understand. Think of it this way, when you plan ahead for an event like a party, wedding, etc., if your plan is good and you’re pro-active enough in the choices you make for food, caterers, music and such the event will likely go well. If on the other hand you wait till the last-minute to order the cake, food, entertainment or whatever it may very well cost you more money and a lot of stress? This applies to our weight, our health, the way we drive and in just about everything we do. Do you like to stress about this kind of stuff? I sure don’t! Crazy as it sounds I do this all to often, especially when it come to financial obligations. Waiting till the last-minute to pay a bill always causes stress and very often costs more money in the form of fees or interest penalties. When I am pre-active in these matters I have no stress. Just like when I walk each day and think to plan my meals I am healthier and experience less stress about my weight. So I suggest we all remember this;

“Re-action always costs more than Pre-action, always!”

Just another Craig’ism..

I’m still writing, you’re still reading, so please keep following…….

Craig

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FollowCraig: Brotherhood of Men

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It happened this week, eight men age 50-60 plus gathered together. Each with very different backgrounds, each who at one time were defined by their career and station in life. One an engineer, another a wall street broker, another a diesel mechanic, a car salesman, and so on. Just what do they all have in common? What brought them together at this time in their lives? Everyone in this group have had to pick themselves up from what had defined them just a few years ago to now change the direction of their lives and begin a new career. On Monday these eight men did not know each other and now have been learning and training together to become professional chauffeurs. Yes it’s true each one of us have joined together to learn and become something different from our past. Each of us have picked ourselves up after many changes and challenges in our lives to continue to move forward. As we help each other learn this new career and a bit about each other, it reminds me what a wonderful experience it is to be among the “Brotherhood of Men”

I’m still writing, you’re still reading, so please keep following…….

Craig

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FollowCraig: “Follow the Leader?”

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Follow the leader, remember that game when we were kids? It was so much fun; each person one by one follows the leader often times in single file copying what ever the person in front of them is doing and the one in front of them and so on all the way to the leader. So imagine several children following along, if the leader jumps the first kid jumps and then the next and so on. Now they are walking, hoping, stopping then turning and pushing the one behind, then of course the next and so on. Wait a moment did the leader just push the first kid who then pushed the next, then the next? Didn’t they know that pushing someone is wrong, not nice? Or are they are just kids following the leader in front. Of course they know the difference between right & wrong don’t they? So if they know then why would they push rather than just stop and say wait, pushing is wrong. It’s funny isn’t it? We all know what is right and wrong but how often do we just follow along with everyone else anyway? Perhaps it’s just human nature to think it’s ok to do something we know is wrong when everyone else seems to be doing the same thing? Just follow the leader and it’s all ok because the person in front of them did it and the one in front of them. So just what do you think would happen if just one of these kids stopped and did not push the one behind him because he knew what was right? Just think about our own lives today, if we just stop following and not questioning and instead stood up for the right thing to do and stood on our principles of right and wrong. Is it possible that your world and the world of others around you would change? So maybe it’s worth trying. The next time when you’re ready to do something just because everyone else is doing it, weigh what you’re about to do with the weight of your principles. If your principles are too heavy to move, then don’t!

I’m still writing, you’re still reading, so please keep following…….

Craig

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FollowCraig: Miracles II

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A couple of months ago when writing Miracles I spoke of my God car and how in the face of adversity, desperation and fear I was given this gift. So, I thought I would follow-up with a little on this story. Almost five years later I was attending an A.A. meeting in Las Vegas while on my way to California. At the end of the meeting a fellow came to me with the greatest smile and the warmest hug. He said, Craig you might not remember but you drove me to WestCare one day when I was in a drunken and drugged blackout. I know you didn’t want to take me in your beautiful car but you did. I wanted to tell you that I haven’t had a drink or drug since that day, I have a job as a taxi driver, my own apartment and a car of my own. And Craig he said: it’s because of you and what you did for me that day, you stayed with me until I was safe and told be it would get better. No one else had ever said that and been so nice to me. Tears come to me when I remember him and his story. You see it was not me or my car or the care facility, it was God that made that day happen for him, the rest of us were only God’s servants that day.

I’m still writing, you’re still reading, so please keep following……

Craig

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FollowCraig: Be Yourself

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I’ve spent a lifetime trying to figure out how to just be myself. As a young man I was always told what I was to be when I grew up. You should be an architect, an accountant a lawyer and so many other things. I was taught to believe a certain faith and be of one political party. When my children were growing I didn’t ever tell them what to be, what religion or faith and nothing about politics. Let’s see who turned out best? I think the kids did. You see they found there careers, perhaps have found their own faith. So when I read the following written by; Ralph Ellison, “Battle Royal” I felt like me!

“All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was. I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory. I was naïve. I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer. It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with: that I am nobody but myself.”

I’m still writing, you’re still reading, so please keep following…….

Craig

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