What does it mean to let go and let God?
I was introduced to the slogan “let go and let God” almost immediately after I enter the rooms of Alcohols Anonymous. It was one of many recovery inspired slogans, framed and positioned neatly just above eye level in the seldom used room just off the side entrance to the basement of a local church. Several people milled around outside the door, smoking or getting ready to light up with cigarette in hand as I entered. The aroma of fresh brewed coffee and the sight of a couple short sleeves of Styrofoam cups on a square corner table immediately got my attention and drew me over…just like at the bar when “last call” rang out. No sugar or creamer for me…none of that imitation sugar either. I filled it up to where it would spill with the slightest sway, positioned my fingers around the mouth of the cup and gently lifted it off the table. The steaming black coffee and its ever present aroma relaxed me a bit. I noticed a row of empty folding metal chairs not far from the door thus accomplishing two things, not having to sit next to anyone and, being in position for a quick get-away if needed.
I sat down quietly coffee in hand. Still a bit hot I brought it to my lips, realizing that it needed to cool down some before I could drink it. I placed the coffee on the old and tattered carpet that lay between my feet and leaned back in my chair…waiting and wondering what I had gotten myself into. Looking around the room I noticed a couple other guys who seemed to be doing what I was…sitting alone and looking lost. I also noticed a couple attractive middle aged women sat at the far side of the room whispering back and forth.
In came the group of smokers who seemed a bit larger than when I had walked by just a few minutes before. Following them were an array of individuals, men and women, young and old. My spacious seating arrangements were suddenly ruined and my anxiety soared as the room buzzed and everyone settled in. As the room drew quiet one of the two ladies I had seen earlier spoke…welcoming all those who had a problem with alcohol. She then asked someone to read a piece of AA literature to get the meeting going. Calling on the rather sizeable fellow who sat beside me to read, I shifted in my seat, kicking and spilling my coffee into the middle of the room.
The guy reading lifted his feet and paused, looking at me with an odd smile, and continued reading. I immediately jumped up as voices from around the room cheered my fiasco while others giggled and a couple spoke out loudly that there were paper towels in the restroom down the hall. I bolted out of the room and down the hall to the restroom, pulling what seemed like a full roll from the paper towel holder. When I got back into the meeting room the guy sitting beside me was just finishing up soon followed by another guy in one of those folding metal chairs. As he read aloud another piece of AA literature, I sopped up the coffee with everything I had returned from the restroom with….but it wasn’t enough.
Facing out the door once again, but this time with a handful of coffee soaked paper towels dripping and leaving a trail down the hall to the restroom. By the time I finished cleaning up and getting back in my metal folding chair I had become flush with anxiety and embarrassment. Droplets of sweat began to roll down my cheek. By this time I was lost in terror and had no idea as to what was being said. Not wanting to get up and leave I put my head in my hands for only a moment.
When I looked up the guy sitting beside me when I spilled my coffee stood there still smiling but this time with a cup of coffee in his hand. He handed it to me and set back down beside me. It took a few minutes to get those first few sips of coffee down. After that it went down with a bit less heat. I began to hear the voice of the each person sharing the experience, strength and hope that had with them at that very moment.
Then and there I saw it, right across from where I sat, just above the head of the fellow AA who sat across from me, a rather dingy glass being held in place by a dusty old 11 x 8 picture frame, “Let Go Let God.” A sense of what I would soon understand to be serenity came to me buy soon left. Noticing where my sights were the guy next to me leaned over and whispered to me, “keep coming back.”
It was my first glimpse of spiritual freedom. I would remember it and seek a path to its door. As I “Let Go and Let God,” things like spilled coffee are simply that…spilled coffee. Each day I have an opportunity to experience this spiritual freedom and in turn share the byproducts of love and hope and faith.
It is my prayer that you don’t let life’s spilled coffee moments ruin your day. After all it’s a great day to be sober and to be a seeker of spiritual understanding. God bless.