Self-centered addict and other thoughts

I finished revising the story, and it's in the pipe to the editor. It was a struggle, but I got it done, along with my homework. That's a good feeling. Bad feeling--I'm losing one-third of my income. I'm considered permanently disabled because of my missing left hip, but since I've worked in excess of nine months over the past two years, I'm showing the ability to work. This action doesn't take into account that I a) don't work more than twenty hours a week, and earn very little money; b) I can't pay my rent with my earnings, much less live on it; c) I need the health benefits available through Medicare.

So I have to go through the appeals process to get my benefits re-established. So no more working, at least for now. I can still take classes and volunteer in the Writing Center to keep my skills current, but only for a six hours a week. Serious bummer. But maybe this is a blessing. I have been praying for the courage to submit a proposal to literary agents so the book I finished two years ago and the play I completed six years ago can make the publishing rounds. Maybe this is the kick in the butt that I needed to get going on that. At least that's what my sponsor said when I told her about what's been going on with the disability issue and my fears about being published.

"You have a Higher Power. Take it to Him, or Her. Or whatever. Just don't eat over it." About publishing: "What, are you afraid of being rejected? Join the club; all writers get rejected. What makes you so special?"

The woman is no joke. And at six o'clock in the morning! Here's a conversation from two weeks ago:

Sponsor: Do you have a specific religious tradition that you can turn to for instruction about prayer and meditation?

Me: Yes, I'm a Baha'i.

Sponsor: Baha'i, I've heard of that. This lady in one of my grad classes used to talk about being a Baha'i. Does your religion have a Bible or a specific book?

Me: There are a lot of books, but the main one is the Kitab-i-Agdas, or the Most Holy Book. It contains the Laws.

Sponsor: So do you read that during your quiet time in the morning?

Uh, oh. Trouble. Do I tell her truth, or do I make up some kind of excuse as to why I don't read the Agdas hardly ever, much less during my daily quiet time? I opt for the truth, even if it was painful.

Me: No, I don't. I've read the Codification and Synopsis of the Agdas, but not the actual book.

Sponsor: Why not? If that's part of your religion and what you believe in, why don't you read it?

Me: Because it's about the Laws, and I've always been someone who resists laws and rules, even though I look like I'm complying. I'm outwardly compliant, but inwardly defiant.

Sponsor: Yeah, well, that's just a fancy way of saying you're a self-centered addict and a hypocrite who doesn't like to play by the rules. You can't have it your way, Angela, it won't work in this program. If you believe in your religion read the book, or else you're hypocrite just like any other so-called religious person. Part of working this program is to establish disciplined routines in your life. Addicts hate discipline because it interferes with their addictions. That's why you are required to do these things. If you don't, you'll go back out into the food and up to 5, 600 pounds. Is that what you want?

No. God, no.

Now, it's difficult to explain the vastness of the Writings and how much one could study the Baha'i Faith and still be unable to grasp the spiritual truth about life here in the material realm, and life in the next world. Right now, I read "The Hidden Words" and "The Seven Valleys" and "The Four Valleys". These books give me such a strong sense of being a spirit in a body that will one day leave the material realm and...who knows? That's why I read those texts. The books aren't not the Aqdas, but they contain the same spiritual truths. And the books are definitely about the inner spiritual being that is inside of every one of us. The more I think I understand these Writings, the more confused I become. There are always thousands of ways of reading the words of Baha'u'llah, and I am an absolute beginner in terms of understanding.

But I'd rather be a beginner for the rest of my life than a self-important, well-versed, hypocritical zealot.

Anyway, I need sleep. It's been a very long day.

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