Remember, Bruce has aphasia. Aphasia is an acquired language disorder "in which there is an impairment of any language modality. This may include difficulty in producing or comprehending spoken or written language." In Bruce's case he has difficulty producing and comprehending spoken and written language.
Learning to read and write again is an enormous struggle. To share scripture study with him has been a dream since we married nearly six years ago. But he has difficulty comprehending common English. I have tried to read the scriptures to him but his eyes glaze over after a verse or two. Studying the scriptures as a couple was a dream I finally set aside.
Imagine my surprise this morning when he asked if we could study the scriptures together. We talked about it for a few minutes. We agreed that attempting to start at "the beginning" of a book or even a chapter and simply read straight through would complicate comprehension for him. I felt that we would be better served to choose a topic and a small portion of scripture and study that one passage. We could then discuss the scripture and apply it to what we know about life and living.
So? Which one passage would be best?
I could have started anywhere. I'm sure that some of my readers have suggestions popping into their minds right now that would have been perfectly acceptable.
I chose Luke 22:31-32 wherein Jesus counsels Peter to strengthen his brethren after he was converted. This scripture is mentioned in the 12th Step Study and Understanding section of the Addiction Recovery Program manual that we discuss at our Wednesday night meetings.
Bruce had asked me earlier if I would mind if he did not attend tonight. It is not his night to facilitate the discussion and we're discussing Step 12 - again. I told him I was not his mother and he could choose for himself. I thought it would be helpful if we discussed the step together since I would be missing his contribution to the sharing at tonight's meeting.
Luke 22:31-32 (King James Version)
31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren
Bruce and I both learned a lot from that passage of scripture this morning.
We learned that Jesus prays for us. My conscience was pricked. When Bruce ends his prayers he says "Please pray for us." I admitted to Bruce that I was often mildly irritated when he would pray because I thought he was being quite presumptuous. Obviously, I have been mistaken.
Jesus does pray for us. Why not ask Him when we feel in need?
Then Bruce and I talked about how the devil would try to shake our faith and how he has been doing that in our lives quite a bit lately. We reviewed our recent struggles and recognized numerous occasions where Satan had been gaining a foothold.
We talked about how Bruce is sponsoring two people in the AA program and sharing what he knows in almost daily meetings.
As a sponsor, Bruce receives phone calls throughout the day. The men that he sponsors call when they are struggling with the desire to drink or when the details of life are tripping them up. I told Bruce that I notice that he never gets caught up in the details of people's perils but goes straight to the point when he teaches.
"How so?" He truly needed clarification and not an ego boost.
"Every time your guys talk to you, you listen. They might spend ten minutes explaining their situation and talking about details. Every time you tell them the same thing. You tell them to pray and to listen. You are telling them to have faith. Then you tell them that you will pray for them and I know that you do. Your instructions never change. Your message is always the same. Just like Jesus' message to Peter."
I am grateful today for God's word and the ability to use it in our lives. I am grateful for a husband who relies on God for wisdom. I am grateful for a husband who practices the twelfth step every day of our life.
Step 12 - Service
"Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, share this message with others and practice these principles in all you do."
P.S. Bruce will be attending tonight's meeting. He recognized that not wanting to go was "the guy downstairs messing with me"