06 April 2011

Step 11... A Burning Bush Experience

Step 11 of AA states, "Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out."

Whether I'm sitting around the tables of AA, or talking to someone about my life with my Higher Power, I speak of occurrences where I know for a fact that He is real. I have felt His presence more than once. I have felt His touch after completing my fourth step. I caught a glimpse of Him standing in a field on Thanksgiving morning 1994. There is not a doubt in my mind that there is a Higher Power and He is a part of my life.

The strange part about these experiences is that they always happened when my guard was down and I wasn't trying to be in touch with Him. I was just being myself. I was relaxed and at peace with my surroundings.

That Thanksgiving morning where I saw Him and than a couple of months later when I felt His touch on my shoulder were two very real experiences, but not the most intense. That would happen in a hospital as my wife was having a "routine" surgery which would help her in her battle against cancer.

It would be her fourth surgery in a span of one month. The first three surgeries were major ones, which she came through with flying colors and was back home in no time. Having come through those so easily, that fourth surgery we took for granted. We made plans for later in the day, which included a lunch with my two step-sons.

What was supposed to be a half hour surgery lasted just under two hours. I was getting ready to leave the waiting room and go find out why this simple surgery was taking so long. Just as I prepared to leave my chair the doctor walked in and said the surgery was a little more complicated than what it was intended to be. He went on to say that in the end, all went well and that Betty would be back in her room in about a half an hour. I went outside to get some fresh air and to unwind a little bit. That half hour went pretty fast.

As I got to Betty's room, the nurses were just finishing up getting her comfortable in her bed. As is the case with all surgeries she seemed to have a hundred wires and probes attached to her. They sat her up to put a pillow behind her and she just didn't look right. She appeared to be in a lot of pain and her color began to disappear. The nurses didn't say a word, as one left the room and the other put her hand behind Betty's head and laid her down.

As I stood at the foot of the bed, I knew what I was watching wasn't good, but I was at peace. I looked at the monitors and numbers began to fall to zero and lines began to flat line. I still hadn't moved when two doctors and a couple of more nurses came into the room. On both sides of the bed they began working on my wife.

This is where something special took place. I left my body. I was above the room looking at the scene before me. I could see myself at the foot of the bed and I watched as doctors and nurses worked on Betty. No one was talking, they all had a job to do and they were doing God's work. Within a minute or two the monitors came back to life and those flatlines began to move once again. As Betty's eyes began to open, my adventure came to an end.

Once again, I was back in the room. I have not shared this story with many people. How can I explain how peaceful and beautiful it was to be right there at that time to witness the death and revival of my wife? About a year later, I still wasn't comfortable with the way I felt at that time. I finally broke down and talked to our pastor about it. He understood. He made the comment that I was at peace because of the love that surrounded that room. It was beautiful because at that one second Betty, myself, and my Higher Power were all one.

Sobriety has given me some very strong spiritual experiences. The thing that I learned though was that the more I wanted these experiences the harder they came. My conscious contact has only occurred when I wasn't pressing for it to happen. When I was at peace and relaxed is when my Higher Power let me feel his beauty and love.

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