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Eric’s Sunday Sermon; on the Road to Recovery

Updated on July 28, 2019
Ericdierker profile image

Holding degrees in philosophy and Law. Formal studies or certificates or degrees in business, theology, insurance and security. Ex-preacher.

Some Roads

A vanishing point.
A vanishing point. | Source

Some Losses Are Harder Than Others

How fantastic that we can recover from some pretty serious stuff. Recovery seems to be a go to word for addiction and alcoholism. We will get into spiritual recovery later.

I make no mistake that the loss of a child or their suffering in a premature manner may just be the worst. Divorce or death of spouse. Loss of job or a passion are ranked right up there. The concept of untreated or maltreated or late treated PTSD related to combat, or close to it, is beyond normal understanding.

A stage four cancer victim with 5% chance to make it, would be up there. As would loss of a limb or mobility. Losing independence is majorly tough. Prison time for most. And where do you even begin to understand sexual assault or child abuse? We must not forget the loss of a pet. I often wonder if severe dementia/Alzeheimers would be the saddest, especially with no recovery in sight.

Some of the above would be of little consequence to one and huge to another.

But losing your spirit would be the worst. Having a belief and losing it would really be a downward spiral. So let us first look at a recovery from a loss of a thing to get some understanding. Now things have different “rankings” here. And those rankings change in circumstance.

Cheap but required reading glasses. I have probably lost twenty. I get the 1$ kind and get three at a time with differing strengths. I keep my two “good” pair, never to leave my desk or kitchen counter. Those I have kept for years and they have saved my bacon a few times. I would be bummed to lose either of those. On the other I read food labels before buying anything. Losing or leaving my glasses and being without them at the grocery store is an aggravation but not a loss of any sort to me. (we note here that a temporary “losing” is aggravating but not what we mean here, “I can’t remember where….” Is different)

So if I lose such an item like necessary but fully replaceable 1$ reading glasses probably only requires the replacement by one of many spares. So we don’t really think of recovery from that kind of thing. But circumstances could change that. An aged person without the ready ability to get to the store for a week could be real bummed out.

Lost

I Still Mourn

50 years of grief?
50 years of grief? | Source

Not Forgetting

It is just me but I do not think of animals and plants as things. OK maybe invasive weeds and spiders. And for various reasons I could see someone attached to either or both of those. A pet Tarantula and dandelions come to mind. (yes the flowers are pretty and the leaves are edible) Loss of those to some could need a little recovery.

The above illustrates that we should not discount what makes a person feel a loss. Hey, they feel a loss. We like to tell young people “don’t cry”. We like to say “do not cry over spilled milk”. Well they have every right to cry.

The five stages of grief are generally accepted as these: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. And to be sure, everyone is different. And sometimes they get switched around a bit. So it is common to say that these stages are a road to recovery.

I would say that loss of a close family member may indeed take a year to go through the stages.

And what happens when another person in malice causes you to lose someone. Well that one you may never recover from in the natural. This notion starts to make us think of spiritual recovery. We certainly can understand that forgiveness would be helpful for anger and depression. Even though someone might have every human right to be angry and depressed. But let us not get ahead of ourselves.

My wife not knowing what she was doing, and really not giving a darn through away a pair of shoes of mine. Serious walking shoes that I had taken good care of for over 30 years. These shoes walked more miles than she will in her lifetime. They had walked in more countries than she will ever visit. My grief was devastating. My anger out of bounds. As much about the shoes as my loss or respect for her and temporary loss of love.

The only ways I got over it were time and forgiveness. But I will never forget the shoes.

A kind of funny illustration but one that illustrates that we must be mindful not to cause a loss for another. Can you imagine texting while driving and running into a family of four and what kind of loss they would suffer? Too often selfish negligence causes more grief than an intentional harm could ever cause. But let us look at that from a spiritual perspective.

Nothingness

You can never erase the past.
You can never erase the past. | Source

I Will Never Forget

Keep It Full

An example that is not too hard to imagine. You fail to keep your backyard secure. You leave the gate open. Certainly not intentional. Your dog runs out and gets killed by a car. A huge loss. And part of that road to recovery is forgiving yourself. Guilt and remorse would devastate you. To a Christian this may not be possible without seeking the forgiveness of God for your lack of stewardship toward His creature.

Some folks may seem to recover by throwing up their hands and saying “it is what it is” and really think they recovered. Well what they just did was fill a void in their heart with apathy and seeming uncaring. Those are truly the two opposites of love. Recovery is the eventual painstaking of refilling that void with love. Good enough if that love begins with forgiving yourself.

We used a Christian example above. But this is a bit more all-encompassing. This is about being able to move forward in love. That overwhelming love that saves us from ourselves.

The addict will remain and addict until he learns to love himself enough to follow that road of recovery. The first notion would be that he accepts love from others until he learns to love himself again. We can see how this fits into a notion of a loving God. It is clear that he must develop at least his own understanding of a God. Something greater than himself pouring love out on him.

Only about 25% of addicts/alcoholics fully recover. I would suggest that modern medicine including psychiatry only takes us so far. Indeed 12 step programs only take us so far. Those who recover so far that they flourish are enveloped and filled with love. Oh to be sure they may cease use of chemicals but that is not a spiritual recovery from losing love.

Perhaps the road to hell is paved with good intentions? But for sure the road to heaven on earth and beyond is paved with love. Sure a pothole here and there but we can fill those back in with love. The road to recovery may be rough and rocky at times but love will conquer those hurdles.

So when we lose anything we can recover mentally and emotionally even including loved ones. But we cannot recover that which is lost.

Except for one “thing”, the most precious thing and only everlasting thing there is and that is love. We can fully recover from the loss of love. The well is always overflowing just there for you to fill your vessel back up.

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    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hey Flourish how about we toss a little party today. Kind of a wake and celebrate their lives. Our little guys are such a big part of life, both theirs and ours. We are making cards today for our animals. Gone and here. Why not?

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      3 months ago from USA

      Made me cry too. My cat was killed in early June. At the time we thought it may have been a wild animal who attacked him but now know that it was a neighbor’s pit bull. The neighbor repeatedly allows him off the leash and he roams the neighborhood. I instantly forgave the family member who inadvertently let the cat out but am upset at the neighbor’s lack of remorse. I grieve this cat’s loss like I would any other family member. Simon was a sweet ginger cat and my husband and I joked that Simon was the love of my life. He suffered terribly and was in intensive care at the emergency vet over the weekend until it was clear we needed to let him return to all and euthanized him. I’ve been more depressed over this than many of my relatives dying over the years or my health issues.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Chitrangada thank you for visiting and leaving a note. I add forgiveness into a necessary ingredient. But perhaps that is all encompassed in love and just an element thereof.

      A blessed time to you my friend.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      3 months ago from New Delhi, India

      As always, your article is full of wisdom and thought provoking.

      I believe, recovery from external hurts is easier and quicker, as compared to the internal hurts.

      Faith, love and belief are the only tools to recover.

      Thanks for sharing this wonderful sermon. Good day to you.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dora thank you for starting my day being uplifted. If someone told me I would have more faith and love today than I did 3 years ago I would have laughed. But now I am looking at being more amazed in 3 years. Life in love is great.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      3 months ago from The Caribbean

      " But losing your spirit would be the worst."

      "But for sure the road to heaven on earth . . . is paved with love."

      Eric, you know and teach the keys to survival. May your life and health continually improve!

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Denise I think that scenario may seem trivial to many people, but it has all the elements to create a serious loss. "How could they not know me well enough to know how important that was to me?" "They violated me"? And then off course the loss of the thing. And then it gets discounted as trivial so a full on loss of respect.

      Small as the physical loss may be, there is much more to loss.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      3 months ago from Fresno CA

      I am sorry for the loss of your shoes. I ignorantly threw away a suit of my husbands, not know it was a favorite and he wasn't happy. He looked terrible in it but he loved it. Loss takes so many forms and people deal with it in different ways. I don't know what I would do without my faith in God to see me through times of loss.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thanks Marlene. We are really blessed around here. At the moment we are only recovering from a nasty bee sting.

      We try to fortify, for when the love is needed.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 

      3 months ago from USA

      As you noted, the road to recover takes many paths and a certain amount of time.

      Your messages are always filled with love and shows us how love is the way to solving most, if not all of our issues. Many blessings to you, Eric.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bill, in our half Vietnamese home we practice what they call ancestor worship. (really not worship in our sense more like homage) A candle always burns below their pictures. And we also take note and spend time about "Death Day" anniversaries.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Liz. Out here on the Pacific they also come in sets. We also use your thoughts there for peacefulness. Interesting notions.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Anybody who listens to Meatloaf is all right in my book. A good judge of character to go by. :) As for losing a loved one...I'm still mourning the loss of my dad. Some things take longer than others, I reckon. :)

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      This is a thoughtful and thought-provoking article. Grief was once described to me as waves rolling in from the sea. At first they are high, frequent and overpowering, then they calm a little and become less frequent, but even as the years pass, there's always the odd wave that creeps up unexpectedly and can knock you over again.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Dana. At first I thought that faith was to help me through it. Certainly at times it is. But more, much more than that, it can help me help others get through it. I know you practice that.

      I got a message from an old high school sweetheart. Her son has lymphoma and the message was curt. "Will you talk to my son?"

      When we survive we do not survive for us.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ruby, I would venture to guess, by your wisdom and caring that you have recovered more than a few times. It just gives good folks like you a love wisdom. Recovery from loss helps us take the yolk of loss for a bit from those whose load is too heavy, if as you, you do it in love.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Tim when I "worked" as a preacher this came up and you are spot on. I remember jumping up from a chair with a "parishioner" and grabbing his hands and dancing in a circle for his sobriety for 24 hours. The only everlasting Victory is in God's hands but we may hold ours out and find a moment of love and that is a super duper victory.

      I like to think that our love, yours and mine, is a victory. For just moments perhaps we have recovered from the world.

      Thank you friend.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Lori I get challenged constantly by the question "So Eric why does God let bad things happen?" "If he is your God of Love what is up with that?" Of course after years of inquiry we learn that we cannot know the answer to the question. But we do get to answer that bad with the good of love. The question is theological but the reaction with God's help is done in love.

      Unlike philosophy and theology there is no equivalent to the study of love.

      You got "it" whatever "it" is. And I love you for that.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Linda what an important area of inquiry. So wonderful you ask about intentions. We are blessed with Luke 21 and the story of the lady who gave her penny when others showboated with forutnes. And then you go to Matt. 6 though 18. You get blown away with the clarity. And this is of pious men.

      My brother the atheist gives a whole bunch to needy. Never in his own name. He does not puff up on such matters.

      But here is a problem. I have much to offer here, but I put my name on it. I must be very careful lest I think it is I who deserves accolades.

      I will write an article on this as I have spent countless hours in this area trying to discern.

      Let me leave with this which is what I ask God. "Does the man with no shoes, who gets shoes care how they got there?" "And would God want to be recognized for causing it?" I believe that love is the only theological answer to that.

      I will edit and publish a full article on intentions.

      Thank you my friend and remember the only appropriate judgment we make is in love as I know you do.

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 

      3 months ago from LOS ANGELES

      Nice Sermon.

      Loving yourself and forgiving yourself definitely puts you on the right path when it comes to recovering from addictions. The world is making too much money off of things that could be fixed with love.

      Recovering from a loss is more difficult. My mom and many other loved one's are in heaven. My mom has been there over thirty years I miss her terribly. This is where my faith gives me peace. I take comfort in the fact that she is free from the world and we will be together again.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      3 months ago from Southern Illinois

      Another GREAT Sunday sermon. With God's help, recovery is possible from addiction and loss. I feel bad about your shoe's. I have an old pair that I wouldn't toss for any amount.

    • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

      Tim Truzy 

      3 months ago from U.S.A.

      Great article. Recovering from loss is important and crucial. There are high numbers of people who relapse from addiction because so much of society has bought into the medical model of addiction. When I worked with people who had substance abuse problems,, I allowed them the opportunity to say when they had stopped for a time: "I'm cured." Staying in a continuous recovering state isn't good psychologically, and at some point, one has to say "I kicked it." Isn't great to feel accomplished after beating something that nearly destroys you? Love is a powerful friend in recovering, and your article was dead on the point, as always. Great respect and deepest admiration, brother.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      3 months ago from Pacific Northwest

      Well Eric, you made me cry and I think this is the best thing you've written, at least to me. In the first part of this article you made a list of losses and I choked up realizing I had experienced many of those or am close to many who have gone through those things. When I read it there was a "catch" in my spirit. I think we need to hold things lightly which in our humanity is very difficult. I think particularly our children.

      I loved best your comment "Perhaps the road to hell is paved with good intentions? But for sure the road to heaven on earth and beyond is paved with love."

      Blessings to you dear Eric.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      3 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Eric, you said something in the final segment that got me wondering. Sometimes people who do not know or recognize God do what we would call good deeds. Does that fall under the adage "the road to hell is paved with good intentions?" What I mean is that one can do something that seems kind or generous but if they do it for recognition or accolades or just to make themselves feel good is it no longer a "good deed?"

      Thanks for the reminder to fill up at the well of love.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      3 months ago from Sunny Florida

      I understand that guilt even though it was not your fault that your mother passed away. I understand and very much appreciate your writing. Appreciate the love, and I send love back to you also. You are in my prayers, Eric.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      3 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Pamela I was overseas when my mom passed away. Truly OK that God took her to be closer to him. But I felt guilty for not being there when she passed. Crazy I know but real.

      And as you know I write these in great part for me, but that works because we are part of the same condition of humanity.

      Sending love,

      E

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      3 months ago from Sunny Florida

      There are many losses that are difficult in life, but you are exactly right about love and forgiveness Eric. I have found it difficult to forgive myself sometimes. Good intentions do not always make it easier.

      I love the ending of your article about love and the overflowing well. This sermon is just what I wanted to hear today, having lost my mother so recently even though I was struggling to meet her needs over the past few months. I miss her a lot, yet I know she is with my dad. Plus she has no more pain and no more tears. Have a wonderful week Eric.

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