This week’s HTYH is about one of the greatest leads I’ve ever heard at the Waynedale United Methodist Church open speaker meeting held on Church Street here in Waynedale on Thursdays at 7:30 PM. A man named Stan (about fifty years sober) gave the lead and said: I’m here to squash any rumors that I’m a nice guy for helping the people I have during my last fifty years. I am like a man driving next to a vast river and when I look out my car window I see a swift current carrying a drowning man towards certain death, I speed ahead, stop my car, get a rope out of the trunk, climb out on a tree limb and lower it to the drowning man. Some people grab the rope, but most refuse help because they are too sacred, proud, smart, arrogant or most likely, ignorant? Mine eyes have seen them perish by hanging, gun fights, head-on collisions, on side walks under tall buildings, in alcoholic seizures and strewn in bloody pieces along railroad tracks and none of them thought they were that bad yet, or maybe they believed their next drunk would be different?
Stan said he rejoiced at the small percentage of the people spared by God’s Grace and His helper, but it wasn’t because he was a nice guy; it was because he had a moral obligation to the AA’s living and dead who once-upon-a-time had lowered a lifeline to him.
Having spoken less than five minutes Stan said, “I pass,” and sat down. Stan’s lead reminded me of AA’s 1955 International Convention, Bill Wilson spoke and introduced Dr. Harry Tiebout (psychiatrist), Harry spoke and Bill introduced Sam Shoemaker (Episcopalian Minister) he spoke and Bill introduced father Edward Dowling (Jesuit Priest, Bill’s second sponsor). After Father Dowling Bill introduced Dr. Bob. Dr Bob walked to the podium and said, “Two of the greatest talks ever given was, “The Sermon on the Mount,” and the “Gettysburg Address,” and if Abe and Jesus Christ can keep it under five minutes so should I, and as a matter of fact I just did, I Pass,” and he sat down…
The only thing I might add to Stan’s five-minute lead is that even after the few have grabbed our life-line, some quit coming around and after-a-period of time, they jump back in the river and die. This being said, we should have added incentive to continue with Step Five, “Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” On page 59 of Bill Wilson’s, “12 Steps And 12 Traditions,” he said, “Hence, it is most evident that a solitary self-appraisal, and the admission of our character defects only to ourselves wouldn’t be nearly enough. We’d have to have outside help if we were surely to know and admit the truth about ourselves-the help of God and another human being. Only by discussing ourselves, holding back nothing, only by being willing to take advice and accept simple directions could we set foot on the road to straight thinking, solid honesty, and genuine humility.”
Yet many of us held back. We said, “Why can’t God as we understand Him tell us where we are astray? If the Creator gave us our lives in the first place, then He must know in every detail where we have since gone wrong. Why don’t we make our admissions to Him directly? Why do we need to bring anyone else into this?