Bill was tired of the mess in his basement. So, one Saturday, he decided to get cracking on what was down there. The first box he opened made him pause, though. It was filled with some of the stuff he had taken from his parents’ house after his father had died. What caught his eye was his father’s “Big Book” (which is used by those who are helped by AA).
Bill opened the book at random and on a piece of paper inserted in the page was written: “One day at a time.” And under those words: You can’t break an addiction by making a solemn promise that you will never give in to that addiction again. You are responsible for what you do today so, focus on today only.
Bill remembered that while growing up there were times when chaos reigned in his home until his father took his addiction seriously and started to attend meetings and use that support to help him achieve a new vision for himself.
There had been some collateral damage from all that chaos, though, and Bill knew that his tendency toward bad use of the Internet was something that maybe he was struggling with now because he didn’t resolve some things in his early life.
So, maybe he needed to pay attention to what he just read. Maybe his Dad was speaking to him and trying to help him out. Better yet, was this God’s way of taping Bill on the shoulder and saying to him, “Pay attention to this!” Maybe the Lord and his father were working together on his behalf. No matter how Bill looked at this, he knew that it was more than a coincidence.
Maybe this wisdom would help when it comes to his own spiritual life. As it was, Bill would only attend Mass on occasion, even though his wife kept encouraging him to come with her and the kids. Yet, he saw now that it might be better to say, “Lord, give me the grace to go to Mass this weekend, so that I can receive you in the Eucharist”, rather than make a pledge to attend Mass every weekend for the rest of his life. Focus on today only.
Same way to approach his Internet addiction—-one day at a time, Lord, please help me…
All these ‘little’ things that seemed to occur really were clear signs to Bill that God was interested in him— wanted to work with him and help him to become a better person walking on the path to heaven.
God intervenes in Moses life and clearly indicates that through Moses he will rescue the Israelites from their bondage in Egypt. God is clearly the one in charge and things will play out the way God wants them to play out! So, too, does the Lord intervene in our own life. He takes the initiative with us and wants us to cooperate with him. Moses paid attention. Bill, the person in the story, paid attention. We are also asked to pay attention, to cooperate with God and allow him to free us from the bondage of sin.
One of the ways that we can be freed from the bondage of sin is to learn to keep our focus on Christ and not only on our failings. There’s a great quote from Catherine Doherty that offers us a very helpful image. Here’s what she wrote about sin:
“Sin is turning my back on God. I walk away from God, into a deadly place, a Godless place, in which I look at mirrors, and in every mirror I see myself. Sin is the adoration of self, in a manner of speaking, instead of God.