Flourishing is never completely out of reach

Let’s take a step back for a second. We’ve been talking about the fact that positive experiences in life are not completely shut off from those who are struggling. Flourishing is never completely out of reach, though of course it will feel that way at times.

What if things are going well in life?

What a curse it can be for things to go well. Of course that sounds horribly offensive to the hurting. However, I can’t get even remotely close to being able to count the number of times I’ve seen people utterly and completely crash and burn because they replaced their disciplines for more fun stuff because things started to go well. When things go well, we stop going to meetings, we stop integrating with community, we lose touch, and we disengage. This is a dangerous place to be.

If things are going well for you, don’t assume you are flourishing simply because you are happier than usual or because your soul feels lighter than it used to. You may just be distracted. Flourishing isn’t just about finding more satisfactory life circumstances or outcomes. It’s about radical interconnectedness with God, self, and others, and everything that comes with it.

There’s always more to come.

It gets worse before it gets better

When I was a young girl visiting my grandmother, my friends took me to the local pool.  While there I managed to step on a big shard to glass.  Once I got back to my grandmother’s, she was unwilling to look at it seeing as how she had a weak stomach.  I knew that glass needed to come out, but being her granddaughter, I too suffer from that same weak stomach.  No way was I able to pull it out.  So I hobbled next door to my friend with tweezers in hand and her mom went to work on my foot.



“Teresa, this is going to hurt worse before I can make it better,”  Dot explained.  I nodded.  What else could I do?  I was a girl out of options.  So she dug it out, cleaned the wound, bandaged me up and I eventually headed back to my grandmother’s weak-kneed but grateful.


I need to say something terribly difficult so let’s all take a deep breath for a moment.  Here’s the hard truth:  we are a people who have not bothered to acquire the skill sets necessary to pull shards of glass out of bleeding people AND we have lost the stomach for the work in the process.


This is a terrible thing.  Because it leaves us with few good options when those days arrive when it is essential for someone to help us see the deeply wounded parts of us that need to be dug out and disinfected to avoid infection.


In the AA literature “The Twelve and Twelve” someone with a stomach for telling hard truths wrote “that most of the alcoholics under investigation were still childish, emotionally sensitive, and grandiose.”  Ouch.  And let me hasten to add that this malady is certainly NOT limited to folks with a substance use disorder.  This is true for all of us some of the time.


How do you think your own childishness, emotional sensitivity and grandiose thinking has hindered your own ability to live the life of your dreams?