This thought floated through my mind as I reached for a pecan I had toasted. Really, the only manner to overcome addiction is moment by moment.
The irony was not lost on me.
I was not hungry at the moment. The pecan was just there at the wrong place and the wrong time. Well, that is my excuse.
A lot of things are up in the air for me right now. As both children enter school in a few days, I am faced with a lot of space and a number of choices. Space is what I have longed for and wanted. When facing space dead on, one can become paralyzed by fear. I’ll never forget snorkeling and swimming suddenly over an area where the ocean floor literally dropped off into eternity. The space massive space threatened to envelop me. It was a moment of terror looking into that deepest blue and realizing how small I was/am.
Gerald May, in Addiction and Grace, talks about the space left behind when one curtails an addictive behavior. “Although this emptiness is really freedom, it is so unconditioned that it feels strange, sometimes even horrible. If we were willing for a deeper transformation of desire, we would have to try to make friends with the spaciousness; we would need to appreciate it as openness to God.”
Living with that space is difficult and exciting. There is no other way to do it than moment by moment.
May goes on:
The purest acts of faith always feel like risks. Instead of leading to absolute quietude and serenity, true spiritual growth is characterized by increasingly deep risk taking. Growth in faith means willingness to trust God more and more, not only in those areas of our lives where we are most successful, but also, and most significantly, at those levels where we are most vulnerable, wounded, and weak. It is where our personal power seems most defeated that we are given the most profound opportunities to act in true faith. The purest faith is enacted when all we can choose is to relax our hands or clench them, to turn wordlessly toward or away from God. This tiny option, the faith Jesus measured as the size of a mustard seed, is where grace and the human spirit embrace in absolute perfection and explode in world-changing power. Gerald May, Addiction and Grace, p. 128
Will I clench my hands around the pecan (the idol) or will I relax them and let God fill the emptiness? Will I turn wordlessly toward Him?