When we developed still more, we discovered the best possible source of emotional stability to be God Himself. We found that dependence upon His perfect justice, forgiveness, and love was healthy, and that it would work where nothing else would. If we really depended upon God, we couldn’t very well play God to our fellows nor would we feel the urge wholly to rely on human protection and care. These were new attitudes that finally brought many of us an inner strength and peace that could not be deeply shaken by the shortcomings of others or by any calamity not of our own making.
Mostly, for me, yes. The thing is, I don’t know if the emotional stability I’ve gained over the years (such as it is) is due to my depending on God, my aging, my realizing that there is a big force for chance in the universe, my increased ability to decide what I will spend mental energy on, my increased ability to ask for help and seek to change my mind — it is all of these things, I’m sure.
I was at a meeting last night where we read and discussed Step Ten. Emotions, as mentioned in this passage, bring to my mind the excess of negative emotions written about in Step Ten. It is the excess of negative emotion that causes me pain and that motivates me to seek a change.
Here, to tie it in, I’m told that emotional stability (serenity) will result when I depend on God.
I can do that, sometimes. Often? But mostly I end up with a vague, maybe hopeful, maybe cynical, “Maybe God has a reason?” kind of thought.
Perfect justice, forgiveness and love. About this I really do not know. Reading this now, and writing this now, I realize that I don’t spend tons of time thinking about it. I just can’t believe in these things for this life because we know that truly innocent people suffer so. I can allow that maybe there is a bigger plan, a greater reality that I can’t see during this lifetime or maybe ever. But I don’t know.
And mostly I don’t need to know. The truism for me is that I can’t control most of what happens to me and around me, but I can work on controlling my thoughts and reactions in response to my reality.
It helps me not try to be in control. I’ve had a situation at work that’s gone on for a week and that’s bad in many ways. My opinion has been asked for and I’ve given it. It’s required thought and nothing about it is easy. My opinion has been asked for and taken into consideration. I can see that some other ways to think about this have been, “Why do they ask, they disregard it anyway?” and, paradoxically, “Why are they making me decide what to do?” I’ve been mostly able not to buy into those, to know that those who ask for my opinion value it, at least a little bit, and take it into consideration. They also have greater decision-making authority than I do, the same way I have to decide some things for those under me. In this particular situation I’ve been called to act, which I think I did the best I could, and to give an opinion on a matter that’s not clear and not easy.
But at the end of it, for me, I still don’t know if human-merely-beings (to quote e. e. cummings) have decided this outcome, or if God is working through us, or if God is with us all in the fall out and aftermath. Or not.