Sunday, August 25, 2019

7 years today: what I'm learning about recovery



I've handed my dentist $3,000 in the past three months. 

Because on August 25, 2012, I wrecked a motorbike in Thailand.
Skull smashed into metal pole, two front teeth broke off, one pierced right through my bottom lip, we didn't know if I'd live, but I did.

Seven years? 
Shouldn't I be done with wreck-repercussions after seven years? 

When will I be recovered? 

My friends going through AA’s 12 Steps of Addiction Recovery, they're awarded these colorful celebration coins for remaining sober. For the first 24 hours of sobriety, the first 30 days, the first 60 days, etc, they're handed a token and celebrated. 

No matter what we're trying to overcome, walk through, conquer--why don’t we all give each other “I see you recovering and walking forward and I’m proud of you” tokens? I wish we did. We should. 

I wish I was better. 
Better at living, better at loving, better at surrendering, better at influencing, better better better. And I miss my un-scarred face and matching eyebrows and original teeth. 

But God isn’t wishing.
He’s delighting. 
In me, right now, scarred and giving the dentist my money, and still so far from where I should be—-my Maker is delighting in me.

In the process, He loves us. 

Some things take a long time to heal. That's what I'm finding out. Not just with a "failed" root canal (that's how the dentist put it) but with failed marriages, failed friendships, failed therapy sessions, failed jobs, failed (insert whatever you want). 

"Your wounds will heal and be scars that tell a story," my sister told me seven years ago, as the new deep red indentions on my face glowed back at me in the mirror. She was right. They've healed-- those deep red indentions have faded into scars and I'm telling their story. But what about when the root canal fails? What about when we go back to the awful habit we left? What about when we're terribly disappointed in who we've become? 

I've been reading Luke 15:20 to myself and to my friends in rehab and we're in awe that this is the God-Dad we have. 

So he (the selfish son who wasted his inheritance on a wild good time and was now dirt poor and smelling like the hogs he'd been feeding) got up and went to his father (because he thought if he begged hard enough, his dad might let him work as a hired hand).
But while he was still a long way off, his father (who had already forgiven his son and was dreaming of hugging him again) saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
And I'm guessing the dad got the stink of hogs rubbed all over him. But he didn't mind a bit. 

 Nothing helps us recover like letting our Maker sprint to us, kiss us, hug us tight and throw us a party, no matter how we're smelling. 

Jesus told this story to teach us what God is like. Not mean, not disappointed, not bummed at us. But sprinting! With mercy! And in love with us!
And ready, at all times, to give us hugs and kisses. 
And to give us celebratory recovery chips.
Oh oh oh He’s better than we know. 
Better better better.

We don't have to hide in shame, wallowing around in the mistakes we made--we can approach Him with the stench of our decisions rolling off of us, just as we are. 
And we don't have to strive to get Him to accept us, laboring hard enough to get Him to tolerate us again--He's already in love with us.

I'm so relieved. 

Luke 15:20--
Get it in our hearts, God.
You’re nicer than we’ve ever imagined.

The holy God who runs to His messed-up kids.    

No matter where we're at right now, giving a dentist our cash or trying to get over an addiction that keeps seducing our tired hearts or simply disappointed in our process--we have a Maker who wants to hug us and kiss us. And that place, getting hugged and kissed by Him, is the place where we recover. 

August 25. 
I'm still alive.
Jesus is my recovery

A few thousand bucks later.
My fake teeth are doing great, infection-free

And not to brag, but the dentist office is blowing up a picture of me and my fake teeth and hanging it in their hallway gallery. It's like God's handing me a celebration recovery coin.