Addiction, NA, Narcotics Anonymous, Recovery, Spiritual Principles, Twelve Steps

Forgiveness and Dry Wells

Growing up, our family lived in a house that was on a well. The upside to well water is that when the well is working the way it is supposed to, life is good. Water from a well is so cheap, costing only the price of the electricity to run the pump.

I always thought our family needed one of those old fashioned hand pumps for our well. As a very little boy growing up, I had used such a pump at my grandmother’s home in West Virginia. It was actually outside a small house that sat behind the family home there. One day, my aunt had taken John and me for a walk, and we had stopped to chat with the lady (I think it was a lady, I couldn’t have been over 4 years old, so memory is a bit foggy).

I was fascinated by the old hand pump outside the house, and got to pump it up and down until water came flowing out. What a feeling of pride and success to see my hard work produce cold clear water!

Anyway, I suppose that memory was behind my belief that we should have such a pump at home. Looking back, I’m sure the novelty would have worn off pretty quickly, so it’s a good thing our well depended on power from the electric company and not power from John and Kent.

So, our family lived happily with our well water. There was never a shortage. Never a question of whether there would be water do drink, bath, or do the laundry. Simply turn the faucet and there it was. Cool, clean, fresh water.

That is, of course, until one day when the faucets stopped working. The flow from our well somehow went away. What once had been in such ample supply had been reduced to a trickle. Something had gone wrong, so my parents called the local well company to investigate.

It turned out that a part deep down in the ground had failed. It would have to be replaced, which meant setting up the well digging truck and drilling a new hole. Suddenly that free water wasn’t so free anymore. Without fresh water at home, our family temporarily relocated to a Holiday Inn a few towns over. Our own little stay cation.

See, I told you we should have just had one of those good old fashioned hand pumps!

Forgiveness can be like water from a well. It can be easy to take for granted. Easy to assume it will always be there. What happens, though, when the forgiveness well runs dry?

My forgiveness well has felt dry for over a week now, making it very hard to forgive a couple of people in my life. That cool, clean, fresh water of a forgiving spirit has run dry. In its place, a slow trickle of the murky bitter waters of resentment have found their way into my spirit.

These resentments have even begun to work their way into other areas of my life. I am finding myself feeling anxious and alone. My jaw is clenched non-stop. My appetite has been affected. I just want to cry most of the time. The well from which I draw forgiveness is broken.

When “Forgiveness” came up as my spiritual principle for the day, I let out an audible sigh. How God? How can I write about something that is in such short supply for me right now? I’ve been hand-pumping forgiveness for so long now. My arms are weary. Can’t You fix this broken well? Where are you???

When well water came to mind as a topic for today’s writing, I thought I must be crazy. How on earth can well water relate to my need to forgive? Really God, I’m supposed to write about a silly old well?

Just another example of how well my God knows me and cares for me. As I’ve written, my jaw has unclenched. My angst has been reduced. That resentment I was holding onto has begun to fade.

Yes, God knows and loves me. He knew I needed forgiveness in my heart today. He also knew that I needed to be reminded of the source of that forgiveness. You see, the power I need to extend forgiveness does not come from within me. That power comes directly from God.

In that sense, the answer to forgiveness is much like the answer to my drug problem: I can’t, God can, I’ll let Him.

My well is subject to running dry at any moment. Living out the spiritual principles of the Narcotics Anonymous program will drain me quickly if I try to do it on my own. Like that old hand pump in West Virginia, it can only be used for so long before I grow tired and frustrated.

So, today I need the power to forgive. I’ll find that power from God. I’ll not only forgive the antagonists in my life, but also myself, for having tried, once again, to do this on my own.

When it comes to spiritual principles, God’s well never runs dry. He offers me water that is clean, cool, and refreshing. Today, I choose to drink deep of that water, and…

Have a remarkable day!

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