Thursday, 12 January 2012

Turning the Ship Around

by Dov (See all authors)

The 3rd step is about switching to a new attitude that is something like this: "since G-d is... well, G-d, then He must know better than me. He can give me anything. And He could not possibly have anything against me, for He needs nothing - He doesn't even need me to listen to Him. He's G-d, period. It must be that exactly what He is giving me is the very best thing for me, right now.

It must be that I am the dumb one and He is the smart one in this 'equation'. Certainly I have made a shocking mess of things, so far. He has given me plenty of brochos - I ruined many of them. He gave me potential - I use much of it for selfish, self-destructive ends. He gave me relationships - I built a wall of lies with my 'double-life' and escapades and hidden shame.

And by all indications, all will only continue to get worse and more convoluted under my 'strong leadership'.

I'm finished. The sound of the 1st step is a quiet: "Uh-oh."

Putting my life and will into His care is not focused on whether I agree to keep His mitzvos or not, but on whether I agree to start to really trust Him to take the best care of me possible. Or at least do a better job than I can to look out for myself. That's called 'enlightened self-interest" in the book, "AA". It is not a religious thing, but a personal decision that has to reflect my most honest self-centered desire: I need to really believe that it is what I want - not that I am 'being good'. And this is not a bad thing, as the gemorah says: we all intuit 'chayecha kodmin'. It's just a fact that survival is an instinct - and should be. In the steps, it is really what saves us.

So many of us waited for a long and painful time for our righteousness to finally come to the rescue. So many more of us are out there, still waiting. Nu. The steps that I am familiar with get their initial power from instinct of survival, not from our (obviously failed) righteousness. It's the ultimate 'isarusa d'lsata', no? Think about it. It's the 3rd step - the step no one does perfectly. That's why it reads, "Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of a Power Greater than ourselves." It is a start, and it grows over a lifetime. But at least the ship is turned around!