Rosie seemed more subdued this week and Mike noticed that she was just not as jovial or bouncy as normal. She still wore very bright and colorful clothing and was dressed to impress. There was something in her spirit though that was lacking. Mike had noticed it earlier and planned on chatting with her before they went to the small groups.
Roger reluctantly raised his hand.
“Mike, how do you pray?”
Mike considered the question and scratched his neck. Roger was looking at him hopeful and sincerely. This seemed like an important moment.
“There is more that I want to say from Genesis but maybe next time. I want to answer this question. Does that seem ok to everyone?”
Many were looking at him nodding. Mike got the impression that many had the same question. Suddenly the weight of the class seemed to sit on Mike. These people were looking up to him. One portion of him felt pride and excitement. Most of him though felt sad. He considered that no longer would failure only hurt him, but others as well.
“Over the years I have struggled with doubts. Walking this path with Bruce has had its great moments. Some days I have started with celebrating God protecting and giving us freedom and ended the day doubting God existed because of a relapse. To be honest I often blame God for the relapse, even though I know that it is not His fault. I remind myself in those moments that God loves Bruce more than I do. I want to be a man of faith like Abraham, more often though, I am more like Lot. I see myself or others moving toward sin and I sit on the sidelines wringing my hands. Prayer must be our first tool. Roger, you asked how I pray.”
Mike looked into Roger’s eyes and everyone noticed that Mike was glassy eyed and they all thought that he might cry. Sometimes when I am lacking energy or just am not feeling it within myself I simply pray written prayers either from the Bible or other great Christian men and women. But nearly every day I will pray using the following as a guide.
- Speak Lord for your servant is listening. (1 Samuel 3:10)
- Here I am send me. (Isaiah 6:8)
- Let me inherit a double portion of Your Holy Spirit. (2 Kings 2:9)
From there I simply listen. What is He saying? I then read from His Word. Sometimes He speaks quickly to me other times He takes His time. I also journal consistently, seeking to find His voice in my life.”
Many were scribbling notes and quickly writing down the points. Several times Mike had to repeat what he had said before everybody felt like they had it down.
“Now before we go to small groups. I am feeling led by the Spirit to make a confession to you. I have not seen Bruce since last week. He made that cake and left it for me while I was out running errands. But he has been hanging out with some of his old friends. I don’t know if he has relapsed yet. I am certain though that it is coming unless God intervenes. I also need to tell you that I ate that half of the cake. I realize now that I was medicating the hurt.”
The entire group sat stunned. Just last week they had met Bruce and had instantly taken a liking to him. He had come so far and most in the room had wished that their loved ones were doing as well as Bruce was. Some remembered feeling envious of Mike for getting his son back. Now the room seemed to lack oxygen. Emotions welled up. Some cried, some sat and stewed in their anger. Mike was now openly weeping and a few of the group came and surrounded him. A few held him; others put their hands on his back and prayed quietly. After a few moments a peace fell among them all. This is why they gathered every week. Sometimes it was their own hurt, sometimes the hurts of others. But together they felt they could overcome the pain of loving their loved ones through addiction. Reluctantly the pile of people at the front of the room began to split apart. Some cut another piece of cake and grabbed a cup of coffee before going to their small groups.
Sarah kept her peace and wondered what had told her that Bruce was heading to a relapse. She tried to picture the meeting and all that happened. How could she have known? She wrote the question in her journal to consider later. Now she was feeling guilty because she felt she should have told Mike last week what she was seeing. She argued in her head and decided that Mike would have dismissed her as someone who simply did not know what they were talking about.
Roger sat in a group surrounded by others who were focused on alcohol addiction. Rosie bounced in and seemed to be closer to her old self. “Sometimes I think I am the only one and a night like this reminds me that I am not alone. I am so lonely!” Roger smiled knowingly. His daughter was still missing, somewhere, out there. He looked out the window almost expecting to see her. He thought to himself, “Now that is silly.” He had spent everything he had to find his daughter. She had started with alcohol as her addiction and moved onto many other drugs of choice. The last time he saw her it seemed as if no drug was off limits to her.
Sarah peeked in and decided to join this group. Some of the other options may have fit better but she knew that Angie was in this group. Choosing a seat near the door she took a deep breath and sat down. Angie came in right behind her holding a cup of coffee that looked to be more cream and sugar than coffee. Angie sat her coffee down and reached into a cloth bag and pulled out her notebook. An older gentleman came and sat down. Sarah remembered seeing him standing in the back of the room. He had not come up to pray with Mike. She could not remember his name but thought he looked a bit like a young, athletic looking Santa Claus.