We are grateful for our guest-post today from Shiree, who shares her strength, hope, and experience in this thoughtful post. Thank you, Shiree!
My brother had one more step to earn the Order of the Arrow in Boy
Scouting: sleep alone one-fourth mile from the group all through the
night without a tent. This would prove his manliness and that he was
brave and self-sufficient.
Sometimes I feel in recovery as an addict-spouse like I’m experiencing
this perilous step of the Order of the Arrow: I’m all alone in the
dark with nothing around me and no one to hear me but God. And those
beckoning from me a quarter mile away are shouting, “The only way to
it is through it!” And “Pain is the pathway to Progress!” And “Let go
and Let God!” And “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in
The morning—like eight hours away. In recovery, that’s like months or
years away. Just hang on. It’s only rabbit footsteps you’re hearing
around you. And cicadas, not Indians. And the wolves are farther
away than you imagine. Just hang on.
They allow me a flashlight—the light of Christ, which ultimately, I
learn to use from the inside out.
I don’t sleep well through the night, though I’ve usually slept like
a baby. My earthly male support is not there for me because I pushed
him away so I could heal and be brave. So here I am in the dark.
And soon I realize the sounds are quite comforting. And God’s whisper
through the trees ushers inside a serenity I’ve never felt. And I
pray and pray—because that’s all I can do until the break of dawn.
Morning peeks and once out of the forest, I see life like I never did
before. Because I’m truly seeing through new eyes: I view a vastness
around me of new possibility and strength.
Donald L. Hilton says in “He Restoreth My Soul” that those previously
in isolation that overcome old behaviors experience a growth stage, a
“consciousness of present stability and richer relationships bringing
the person to a new level of being such that the old behavior becomes
a gift; [they have a] depth of humanity that many people never
achieve.” They possess a greater perception, compassion, and
He says such people serve as models to struggling others and literally
heal our whole society. When they reach out to help others, they
reinforce and protect themselves: “They aren’t willing to leave
others to suffer, they reach back into the darkness and take the hand
of those crying in silent agony and lead them to the peace and
wholeness only the savior provides.”
Even Jesus Christ was left all alone without the Father when on the
cross: “Father, why hast thou forsaken me?”
Or there were those in Jesus’ time who took the “4th watch”–the time
from 12 midnight to 6 a.m. enduring the darkest time when all the rest
of the world slept. We learn to know this kind of darkness–and
Once back with the troop, you wear the badge of the Order of the
Arrow, claiming you’ve done something most will never have to do.
Most will never see a badge to know how I qualify for my advice I lend
because it’s not something I will broadcast to the world like a Scouting
I keep it within my heart—that I now really know God because I’ve
given up the control of the night and felt his love surround and
protect me in the darkest hours.
I may never tell you my journey; you may never have guessed I was
among those who “In the quiet heart is hidden sorrow that the eye
can’t see” (Lord, I Would Follow Thee).
But you can know I will be there for you in your darkest hour, even if
I don’t know you. Because my prayers include you, like countless
other have prayed for me, in a group of the collective recovering,
who valiantly bear the light of Christ by sacrificing for a greater