The Voice of My Program

When I'm paying attention, I see I'm not really using my program to live life on life's terms, rather I see my program is using me. My program is a living, breathing thing. It reminds me, whispers to me, directs me.

When I'm tempted to insert myself into some drama, my programs says "are you really sure you want to get involved? You already know how this movie is going to end." When other people cry out to me for help by acting like idiots, my program reminds me that I've never succeeded in fixing anyone, not one, especially not my wife, although I've been trying for many years. When I feel my temperature rising in self-righteous anger over the latest national tragedy splashed across the headlines, my program points out judging and condemning others is self-incrimination and I might want to look at my side of the street before I go pointing the finger of guilt at others. I ignore the voice of my program much of the time and pay the inevitable price, but sometimes when I hear the small, still voice, I'm able to change course. Last Sunday night was one of those times.

A restless little Chinese boy sat in front of me at the church Christmas play. He fidgeted throughout the whole play, moving around, getting up and down, blocking my view despite a parent and others telling him to keep his seat. First I started judging him as a spoiled little brat, then I judged his parents as totally irresponsible, finally I judged all Chinese people everywhere for all their sins against civilized behavior. I became increasingly upset. After about fifteen minutes, the next time he got up, I reached over and gently but firmly pulled him back into his seat. When he turned around to see the source of the unfamiliar hand on his shoulder, he looked directly into my eyes and gave me a broad smile. My program whispered, "My God, Jeff, he's just a child acting like a child. Why don't you give the kid a break?" I smiled back and in that instant he changed from a spoiled Chinese brat into a beautiful child of God. I went on to enjoy the rest of the play.

My program is not a bunch of dead ideas and concepts, it is a living breathing thing that seems to have a mind of its own. My job is to nurture my program -- to keep the fire burning inside of me -- by doing the things you told me in my first week: meetings, steps, service and leaving the results up to God.