Conclusion to the Story
The next morning Roger and his new friend Fredrick went for a walk to the cemetery. Roger laid flowers on the headstone and sat on the ground. He was glad that Fredrick had joined him. Today would have been his wife’s birthday and he wanted to visit one more time before taking off. Roger had heard a rumor that had his daughter in Florida. He had put in a request for the hotel to transfer his job to Orlando and it had been approved. Soon Roger would start a new life. He was moving on, still hopeful that he would find Joanne. Fredrick had bought a cake for the occasion and a couple of sodas. They enjoyed the little snack. Fredrick patted his friend on the back and let him know that he would miss him. Fredrick left for work.
Joanne noticed that someone was sitting near her mother’s grave but she could not really make out who it might be. The person was sitting there relaxed in a baseball cap and sucking on a lollipop. As she got closer her heart nearly stopped. “Could it be?”
Roger sat deep in thought. He had a running conversation with his wife. In this conversation he said all of the right things. He was able to save her life.
Cautiously, Joanne approached the person.
Roger did not even hear the footsteps but felt someone looking down on him and looked up. He nearly choked on his lollipop.
Mike road his motorcycle and noticed that something was just not right. It seemed like the bike was losing some of its steam. Taking note of several different sounds and even the way it felt, Mike made a mental list of all the pieces that he needed to take the time to work on.
Michelle brushed her teeth and did what she could to make herself presentable for court. There really was not much she could do with the orange jump suit but she did what she could. She could not believe that she was getting another opportunity this afternoon to meet with the judge and maybe work off some of her fines. Since she had run away last time she really did not hold out much hope. But the chaplain was going to speak on her behalf as well as one of the guards. It might just work.
Roger and Joanne just stared at each other. Slowly Roger got to his feet and moved toward her. In the stillness of this place they moved together at a snail’s pace. They embraced. Both were crying.
Six months had passed since Sarah first started attending the Freedom Club. Rarely did she miss a week. Between meetings she would hang out with others in the group. She had even gone on vacation with Fredrick, Rosie and Angie. The time out at the cabin that had belonged to Rosie’s grandfather was a turning point for Sarah. Somehow being out in the woods with friends, swimming in the cold lake and breathing in the fresh air gave her new perspective. Michelle would be getting out of jail soon. They had visited often and had established some solid boundaries. Michelle would be going to an inpatient treatment program. That would require another six months apart but they both knew that it was needed. Michelle read her notes from one of Mike’s lessons.
With a strong arm I can carry a heavy load.
With strong legs I can run far.
With a strong mind I can solve great puzzles.
With a strong heart I can face disaster and devastation and carry on.
Without strong discipline you will have none of those things. You are needed. We were born dependent and from the first moments we had to learn skills to care for ourselves. Babies must learn to eat, before that they were fed automatically. Babies must learn to make sounds and eventually words. All of those things took discipline. If we throw out discipline the growth stops. When growth stops, death is not too far behind. The purpose of everyday life needs to be that we are striving to become a better version of ourselves. Without discipline that will not happen.
Discipline enables us to stay balanced and focused. We all know that person who is incredibly smart but cannot kick their way out of a wet paper bag or run around the block because they are so out of shape. We also know the stereo type dumb jock type. These might be disciplined in one or two areas of their lives. Success though comes when they are balanced.
A highly intelligent warrior knows strategy, wisdom and is in great physical health. It is the warrior who can change and impact the future of a family, a community and a nation. Discipline makes the warrior.
The four areas where a warrior must be disciplined are physical, mental, spiritual and social. These four areas must be balanced within themselves and with each other. For example a person who is disciplined to exercise daily but is not disciplined enough to choose healthy foods will never really succeed at good health. Also a person who is disciplined physically but does not read will also never grow as healthy as he would like. I think that you get the idea. All of this takes planning. Find harmony in the structure of your day.
As I work with men and women who come to the Freedom club. I often find them to be incredible examples of intelligence and strength. Some of the most talented and creative people that I have been privileged to meet are here week after week.. I ask myself often, “Why is that person here?” They should have succeeded in life but have fallen short. This is true for every person that walks through the doors. While the reasons are too complicated to easily put into a clear system the common denominator is that healthy disciplines developed is the ticket back onto the road to success.
During their time with the Freedom Club they begin to consider their overall health. They develop the mindset of the warrior and learn to harness their strengths and make choices that will impact their futures. This happens gradually and at different rates for all of the men and women that we serve. But the discipline begins to give them a sense of purpose and hope that they never had before and suddenly success is in their sight.
It is discipline that enables us to overcome all obstacles and challenges. It is discipline that prods us to risk failure or pain to taste success.
The difficulty of course lies in the fact that rarely does a discipline have an immediate impact. Benefits from discipline come from more of an accumulated benefit. Choosing the eat healthy foods today won’t make me slim and trim by tomorrow. Flossing everyday shows its benefits when you still have all of your teeth in your 80s. It takes time. We must accept that and that the value will be there. Let disciplines work for you today and cash in those checks in the future. The payoff is huge.
Sarah had taken that lesson to heart. She had developed solid morning rituals. Every day she prayed, read her Bible, prayed and meditated on specific Scriptures. Each morning she ate a healthy breakfast and looked over her plans for the day. She attacked each day as its own and focused on what she could control. In the evening she had select disciplines like journaling and making some decisions on the future. She decided that she had hope.
Rosie and Fredrick spent several months in marriage counseling and renewed their vows with all of their friends from the Freedom Club. They continue to attend marriage classes and eventually they even led a group.
Many come and go. Angie and Santa (Who’s real name is Ron.) are engaged and are intending to get married in Hawaii
Joanne and Roger are living in Florida and both work at a resort. They love their life together.
Bruce is now doing some hard time in a federal prison. Up to this point he never really beat his addiction.
Mike continues to lead the Freedom Club. While he is disappointed over Bruce’s life, he is still hopeful. As he often teaches. Only God can set someone free from the idolatry of addiction. He is ready to be used by God but knows that the Holy Spirit is a gentleman and will not force his way in where He is not wanted. He lives with the peace of God despite the circumstances.