13 Tamuz 5779 / Tuesday, July 16, 2019 | Torah Reading: Pinchas
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Nine Gifts - Part 4    

Nine Gifts - Part 4

Over the years, Rita has personally sponsored hundreds of former alcoholics, helping them rebuild new lives. She's saved tens of couples and dozens of...


Over the years, Rita has personally sponsored hundreds of former alcoholics, helping them rebuild new lives. She's saved tens of couples and dozens of children from the gloomy fate of broken homes.
Continuation of nine commonly concealed gifts amongst life's thorns
Gift number nine: To help us utilize our potential.
When very special people suffer, they mobilize untold inner resources of spiritual strength. Oftentimes, they are unaware of their own capabilities. A Special Forces' expression says, "You can't get juice from an orange until you squeeze it."
Sometimes God sends very special souls to this world, and inserts them in normal bodies. God then applies an enormous amount of pressure on them, for two purposes:
1. To show the tremendous potential of the human spirit, as a shining example to others;
2. Under pressure, a person taps his or her deepest reserves of inner strength to make a tremendous contribution to society.
Let's view an example of the above principle:
Rita Richards[1]. Rita graduated at the top of her class at the University of Texas, majoring in radio and television. She started her career with a small, local radio station in the Texas panhandle, and within a few short years, became the anchorwoman of Atlanta's most popular television evening news program. Rita's career was blossoming. Her husband Tommy, a frustrated former Longhorn defensive end, spent three seasons warming the benches of a losing AFL team. Before the opening of his fourth season, he was cut from the squad and became a free agent that nobody wanted.
Rita's life soured; she became the brunt of Tommy's frustration. He moped around their apartment drinking beer and becoming nastier by the day. The minute he raised a hand against her, she left their luxury condo and began divorce proceedings. The divorce was a nerve-racking mess that was dragged out for twelve months.
Rita began consoling herself with gin and tonics. Before long, her breakfast, lunch, dinner, and between meal snacks were gin and tonic. Miraculously, she managed to give her nightly, authoritative and convincing delivery of the seven p.m. news, but she was fast becoming a functional alcoholic.
When the divorce proceedings were finally terminated, Rita went home to visit her parents in Dallas. On the flight from Atlanta to Dallas, she sat next to a lovely woman, a dentist, who by a stroke of Divine Providence was a member of Alcoholics Anonymous in Atlanta. Rita couldn't believe that such an intelligent, personable, and pleasant individual was a former alcoholic!
"Believe me, sweetheart," the dentist said, "People think that alcoholics all lay in gutters - not true. You'll find alcoholics among society's most influential and affluent members. Rita, start helping yourself. You are a very special individual; people trust in you. Soon, you'll be able to help a lot of other people!" The dentist was right.
Rita became a regular at the Atlanta branch of AA. Two months after her first meeting, she drank her last gin and tonic. She served as an inspiration to all the other members. Rita used her skills to put the mission and the message of AA in the forefront of Atlanta's consciousness. Here's what happened:
During a commercial break in the middle of the seven p.m. news, the local news editor passed Rita the following bulletin: "Three-car collision claims the lives of seven: Four teenagers, and an out-of-state couple with their eight-month old baby. Three others critically wounded. Police authorities attribute the accident to drunk driving."
Rita narrated the bulletin in her normal delivery tone. A tear welled in her eye. The attentive and experienced director zoomed in on her at full-face close-up, as she began the most dramatic impromptu narrative that Atlanta ever heard:
"Seven human souls, each a special gem, were robbed this evening of their right to live. Dear Atlantans, alcohol is a robber and a murderer. We've got to delete it from our lives. I know - I'm a former alcoholic myself, and were it not for Alcoholics Anonymous, who knows what would have become of me…
"If you've been drinking, put your car keys back in your pocket. Think of your loved ones. Look at the sparkle in your children's eyes; don't they deserve healthy, sober parents? Give AA a toll-free call at 1-800-749-0500. If you don't get an immediate answer, call Channel Four at (the director flashes channel four's phone number on the bottom of the screen)…you can talk with me personally. Whatever you do, put that bottle back on the shelf. Better yet, spill its contents down the drain, and use it for a vase. Put a rose in your empty bottle, in loving memory of the seven Atlantans who lost their lives this evening. And now for tomorrow's weather…"
The station was mobbed with congratulatory phone calls: "Right on, Rita!" or "thank goodness, somebody's got a worthwhile message", and "keep up the good work, Channel Four; we love Rita!" Rita personally spoke to fifty-four help seekers within the next three hours. Channel Four news skyrocketed to the top of the local ratings.
Over the years, Rita has personally sponsored hundreds of former alcoholics, helping them rebuild new lives. She's saved tens of couples and dozens of children from the gloomy fate of broken homes. Her force of character, her integrity, and her passion to help others has made this world a better place. More than anything else, she's a role model with a cogent message - with The Almighty's help and your best efforts, you can accomplish whatever your heart desires.
Spiritual analysis of the Rita Richards story. Let's observe the marvels of Divine intervention in Rita's life: Rita was born with a talent for broadcasting, which enabled her to be in the forefront of the public eye and to influence others on a grandiose scale.
Tommy was the first thorny element in Rita's life. Tommy's downhill career and negative traits became a surgical scalpel in The Almighty's hand to expose Rita's own weakness, a tendency toward drinking. Had Rita not been exposed to the extreme stress of Tommy's abuse and the difficult divorce, she may have spent the rest of her life as a casual drinker and a superficial second-rate announcer.
The Almighty forced Rita to take a vacation, and to visit her parents in Dallas. The dentist, a remarkable individual and perfect role model for Rita, was a former alcoholic herself and an active member of AA. Divine Providence had the two ladies sit side-by-side on the flight that proved to be the turning point in Rita's life.
The seemingly bad tribulations of a compulsive drinking habit forced Rita to mobilize her reservoir of untapped inner strength in order to overcome the alcohol. She emerged victorious, and became a shining example for others, fulfilling her true mission in life to the best of her abilities. Without life's thorns, Rita would have never attained such a high spiritual level and such a rewarding life of service to her fellow man.
Rita revisited: A mutual friend introduced Rita to Abbey Gold. They married a few weeks thereafter. Abbey's five-feet seven inches and slight, one-hundred-fifty-pound frame is a striking contrast to Tommy. Abbey, an accountant, is a kind and considerate partner who cherishes his wife. Rita comes home in the evening to home-cooked gourmet dinners and fresh flowers on the table. Were it not for the thorns of her first marriage, she would never have chosen an anti-macho type like Abbey. Rita says that the three best blessings in her life begin with the letter A - The Almighty, Abbey, and Alcoholics Anonymous. Rita gets straight A's in life, having successfully completed the long voyage from total turbulence to inner peace and genuine fulfillment.
Spiritual awareness helps us to arrive at a crystal-clear conclusion: Everything that God does is for our absolute good. Geared with such essential cognizance, we can't possibly be angry about anything.
(The Trail to Tranquility - Lazer's newest book!  Now available directly from the publisher:
* * *     
[1] Names, places, and circumstances altered.     

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