The Problem of Using The Wrong Map

Several years ago, I nicked my ankle on my bike pedal. I more or less ignored it. The result was that it got infected. I put some antibiotic ointment on it and covered it with a Band Aid. It got worse and worse. With encouragement [or insistence] of my daughter, I finally went to the doctor.

The doctor put me on antibiotics to clear up the infection. The infection healed, but the ulcer just got worse. Various doctors put antibiotic ointment on my ankle and taught me new ways to apply the bandage. It got a little better, but still did not get well.

I had an appointment with a dermatologist on a another matter. She asked if I had any sores that would not heal. I showed her my ankle. She asked about how I had been treating the ulcer.

After a brief examination of all the redness that surrounded the ulcer she said, “You are allergic to the antibiotic ointment. Lots of people are.”A few days after I stopped using the ointment, my ankle was dramatically better.

I had been religious about keeping the ointment applied and the wound bandaged up for six months. I kept the wound bandaged so that the ointment would not get rubbed off. All my efforts, no matter how well intended and diligent, only worsened my situation.

I laughed on my way home from the clinic. My efforts to treat the ulcer, was a parable of my fear disease. It is like I am allergic to fear. If I look for solutions from the point of view of my fear, my solutions become the primary cause of the problem being perpetuated. The harder I try, the more diligent I am, the more carefully I think the problem through, the worse it gets.

If I am in France, and I am trying to see the sights of France using a map of Germany, no amount of effort or study of the map of Germany will improve my situation. I just get more and more lost. Once I get the right map, effort and diligence begin to pay off.

Fear is the wrong map. Trust is the right map. I have to fight not to fear every day of my life. It is hard work for me to try to keep myself from making my decisions based on fear.

However, if God gives me a measure of the gift of serenity through a good 12 step program applied to my life over a period of time, I am capable of finding realistic solutions for the problems of my life. I can learn to have a high quality of life.


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