Monday, April 7, 2014

Bit of This. Bit of That.

Cake Night.
Max is three years clean and tonight we celebrated with his NA home group. 

Listening to Max's friends share about the impact his recovery has had on their lives:
  • "I've watched him live his life, doing the program (12 steps), doing service (activities committee with NA), and being a friend for three years and I've got nothing but respect. Love him... He's my best friend."
  • "Max doesn't bullshit. He tells you the truth even if you don't want to hear it. And in the end, you really do. He is one of my best friends."
  • "Max is the first person I called when my dad died on Thursday. He came right over to the house and sat here with my family..."
  • "I am clean because of Max. He called me everyday to come to meetings. He'd even get in his truck, drive to my house to pick me up and bring me here. He's the reason I am here today."
  • Max makes me laugh. We worked together for awhile last year, and he just had me laughing all day. He makes recovery not boring and I'm thankful he's in my life."

Listening to Max's friends talk about the importance of community:
  • "I am either the luckiest guy alive to have these friends in my life, or back when I started getting clean, I chose my friends wisely. Because all of us who came clean 'round the same time, are still friends. Still clean. Still doing life together...Max is my best friend and I just love him."
  • "When you start out in NA, they tell you how important 'fellowship' is. And I sat here, in these rooms, for the first, like, 60 days, watching the guys who had some clean time chalked up, be in real relationships with other guys in the program. And I wanted it too. Three years later, I am still clean because of friends like Max. He's one of my best friends. I can't imagine being clean by myself. I can't imagine life without friends like him ..."
Listening to his brothers share about their relationship with Max, and then present him with his cake. (Or, in our case, personalized cookies:) 

And then Max was the final share of the evening and while it looks like he might be preaching on John 3:16 (which was posted on the wall beside him), he wasn't. He was just sharing his gratitude for his friends. And sharing how close the three Obros have become since last summer. (They have an ongoing private Facebook thread, and the three of them 'talk' everyday.) And he concluded by talking directly to the people in the room who were just starting their journey... "I'm not special. As you heard from just about everybody, I can be an asshole. (I hope I'm not that big of one...) The reason I'm still clean? Is because of my friends. Reach out to others who are going through this with you. Let them in. Be real. Give a shit. Get involved. Choose your friends carefully. And keep coming to meetings. Just keep coming. Even when you don't feel like it. Even when life sucks. Even when you're going through shitty stuff. Keep coming..."

Thanks, Danica, for taking these two pics. 

And thanks, Danica, for taking this one too.

And while I can't/shouldn't speak for him, I think their dad and I were the proudest, most thankful people in the room tonight.

If you or someone you love is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, there is help. And hope. If nothing else, attend a meeting. Then go again. And again. You are not alone. You. Are. Not. Alone.


And with that, I have a few quotes on friendship that I had coincidently written out this afternoon just in case Max was going to surprise me again this year, and ask me to share. (He didn't.)

You become like the 5 people you spend the most time with.
Choose wisely.

Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another, "What?! You too? I thought I was the only one ..."

There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.

He who walks with the wise, grows wise. But a companion of fools suffers harm.

Two are better than one ... If one falls down, his friend can help him up. Pity the man who falls and has no one.


I've been thinking about 'the journey'.
The one each of us is on.
(The movie, Noah, was the catalyst for this train of thought, by the way.)

And. How God created us, each individually, for the path we're on.
And he has uniquely equipped us for the road ahead.

Your journey. Your story. Is unique.
Your gifts, talents, passions and circumstances are exactly perfect for your calling.

He wouldn't call you to do something if He hadn't provided you with the means and desire to do it.



I have a friend who's engaged. The wedding is in a few months. She and her fiance had had a small disagreement the other night, and she left his place with the understanding that they'd work it out the next day when it wasn't so late. She drove home, was in her bedroom, when she got a text from him, telling her that 'rocks at the window sure weren't working to get her attention'... and then he said:

"if I had a boom box, I'd be out here serenading you too because I just need you to know that I'm still madly in love with you... "

She sent me a message, saying, 'wasn't this from your favorite movie or something?'

I am so happy for her.
I have rich, detailed, wildly romantic scenarios, running through my mind when I walk hills, (Stop it. Quit judging me) and this scene is one that's been my consistent companion for oh, about twenty years:

I'm glad that someone is benefiting from all my daydreaming.


May 7.
This movie is happening.
One night only.
At Cineplex.

But if you want to see an advance showing, the following churches will have pre-screenings this week:
Monday, April 7th at 7pm
First Baptist Church
969 Burrard St
Vancouver BC

Wednesday, April 9th at 7pm
Southgate Church
120 – 5501 204 St
Langley BC

Friday, April 11th at 7pm
MEI Auditorium
4081 Clearbrook Rd
Abbotsford BC

Wednesday, April 23rd at 2pm
Burnett Fellowship Baptist Church
20639 123 Ave
Maple Ridge BC

For more info, click here.


Dear God,

Thank you. 
Thank you for nights like tonight.
Thank you for NA (and AA) and all the healing and hope that happens through those organizations. Thank you for being at work behind the scenes. 

Thank you for protecting Max though his years of insanity. Thank you for keeping him safe. Thank you for the friends you've provided him with. Thank you for the journey that they're all on. Thank you for inventing the idea of community and friendships and families and relationships. 

I am grateful.

God? Thank you for the people who shared tonight. Some are struggling. Some are in pain. Some have family members that are using. Others are dealing with broken hearts, shattered lives, dysfunctional families, job loss ... so many hard things. God could you provide them with hope? Send someone to walk alongside. Encourage them. And show them how to move forward. 

God I pray you would give them peace. 
Calm their minds. Allow them to rest. 

God, there are people I love who haven't been able to fully surrender to the 12 step program and are living in the shame and chaos of addiction. Could you give them another nudge? Make them so physically sick the next time they get drunk or high, that they will be running for help. I know You've gone ahead of them. And You'll be waiting for them with people already in place to care for them as they clean up. Give their families peace in the meantime. 

Again, God, it's obvious, that we need friends. Please continue to handpick them for me. For my kids. And for those who are going to clean up their lives. Open our eyes to those who are on the same journey we are. Open our hearts to those who need a friend. Give us courage and compassion to say, "Hey! You too? Let's do this together ..."

God, there are people I love who don't know You. Can You work on that? Hahaha. Introduce Yourself to them. In profound, creative, personal, indisputable ways. Use all of creation to get their attention. Stir and soften their hearts. Create a desire in them for more. More of this life. More purpose. More understanding. More meaning. Bring into their lives your messengers of good news. Bring into their lives new friends who love You. Bring into their lives Christian co-workers, neighbours, role models, mentors, family members, who boldly speak Your message of love. Open their eyes to see. Enable them to hear. Allow them to feel. 

Hold them close. Protect them from whatever Satan has planned. Don't give him access... put those angels of Yours on the rooftops and front doors. Make Yourself at home in their houses/rooms. 

Please do this not only for them, but for their closest friends too. Let's just save the whole lot of them, OK? 

And God? I pray your will be done in the entertainment industry.
There are some movies out now (Noah and Son of God) that I've been praying for. Could you use both of them for Your purposes? Stir up conversations about them. And equip us with the right words to say once we get engaged in those talks. Please let us (Christians) not be the idiots in those conversations. 

And Ben Kingsley has two movies coming out this year, (Walking with the Enemy and Exodus) so I pray that You will use both of those flicks for Your purposes as well. Could you be part of the process of casting, filming, editing, marketing and distribution? I pray Your will be done.

God I pray Your will be done in so many things. Like, in, well, everything. I don't even know how to pray in some situations. So. Your will be done. In my life? Your will be done. In my kids' lives? Your will be done. In my dad and mom's lives? Your will be done? Extended family? Friends? Kids' friends? That list of people I care for? YOUR WILL BE DONE.

Thank you for loving us.
And caring about the details.

Three things I'm thankful for:
1. The raw transparency at tonight's meeting.
2. My boys. Their lives. Their friendship. Their friends.
3. Music. Songs. Dancing.


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