By: Vince DiPasquale
As little children growing up, we are very dependent on our families and our communities. We look to them for all the basics of life, i.e., food, shelter, clothing, guidance, and direction. The purpose of our families and communities is to help and guide us through the different stages of life so that one day we can become independent and responsible people on the journey of life. Along the way we begin to experience their humanness, faults and beauty even at the times they become dependent on us. We are all God’s creatures sent here to learn the lessons of life. As we enter into our teenage years, we start to ask questions and even rebel against the answers. The more dependent we become the harder it is to learn the real meaning of life. Even our families have to learn the lessons of life. Real love is allowing people to learn the reality of life and to take responsibility for our personal journeys. We call it the school of hard knocks or what’s known as tough love.
This is the month that we celebrate the 4th of July, the birthday of freedom. We have picnics, fireworks and family celebrations while all around the world we see countries struggling and fighting for freedom. We too suffered through many wars, depression, and recessions in order to earn and maintain freedom. The question is do we truly understand the meaning of freedom or do we just take it for granted. At times we almost feel entitled. So many of us are frightened to grow up and it’s easier to just be a child.
If we study history, we will understand how many countries and empires struggled for their existence then got comfortable and fell into the trap of thinking they were better than others and that led to their own downfall.
There is a special and wonderful program that started back in 1935 that came together out of need, hurt and struggle. Alcoholics Anonymous started with two men, Dr. Bob and Bill W., who in their own hurt and despair battled with the powerful disease of alcohol. Their struggle led to a movement that all nations and systems could learn a great lesson from. They, with the help of other alcoholics, put together the 12 principles of life and the traditions to help all of us balance our egos. They called upon a Higher Power to be their guide. Thus a beautiful spiritual program was born where all of us can learn how to accept reality and take responsibility for our lives. These principles remind us that we are not in charge. There is only one ultimate authority, a Higher Power. All of us are equal and just servants. These beautiful principles remind us that money, power, and prestige are forms of ego. Honesty, humility, openness and willingness to change and grow are the secrets of life. Each one of us has a story. Your story and mine are the greatest stories of life. Each day we write a new chapter in our book of life. Once again, the founders of this special program told us to get together with each other and share our personal experience, our strength and our hope. I call it the human library where we listen to each other and relate. They put together the famous “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous which contains stories and the principles of life – the steps. I truly believe the steps were written with divine inspiration by our Creator to give this wonderful spiritual program to the world. I have a lot of gratitude to God for this gift and I pray every day that I do not take it for granted. I also ask God each day that I might be open to every life experience. From this program I have learned that all of us are addicts. We all have deficiencies and dysfunctuality. Isn’t it great? I never thought of dysfunctuality as a gift but it is if I face it, embrace it and allow it to be my teacher. I have learned so many wonderful principles from this simple program. For example, “Take what you can use and leave the rest” and “Live life one day at a time.” Each person who becomes part of our life journey is our teacher. Be open to “learn and grow”, to “progress not perfection”, “easy does it”, etc., etc. Everything in life we have to earn. Nothing is free. Real freedom is to face the reality of life and to take responsibility for our personal journey.
We are all a people in process of growing, Empires, nations and systems come and go. There is only one constant – our spirit. The ego makes us think we are in charge and our spirit is who we are. All material things will come and go. Our spirit will always live on until it makes its journey back to the Creator. Remember we have been given the gift of life. Share your spirit and gifts with all you meet. Say thank you every day to God for the gift of life and be open each day to God’s will for us. Enjoy the month of freedom, live life and share your gifts with all. Thank God and pray for God’s blessing on all people. Remember we are all equal in God’s eyes. Enjoy the summer in the spirit of peace and love.